Do you want to live forever? Me neither. Would you like to Live Longer? I’d like to, however, live to maybe 125. Yeah, 125 has a nice ring to it. What are my chances? I would think pretty good based on both my grandmothers living to almost 100. But my grandfathers died in their sixties. So maybe not.
According to Dan Buettner author of “The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest” I’d have to apply some changes to make it to my 125th birthday healthy enough to high five my great, great grandkids. His suggestions come out of researching population pockets all over the world where people live longer than the usual. What did these long-lived people have in common? A LOT of movement. I mean like hiking up AND down the mountain every day to check on the sheep kind of movement. Even my one hour strength sessions three times a week didn’t match up to that!
To add insult to hurt feelings, Dr. Robert Kane, a physician and a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, created a quiz based on a complex, 106-page algorithm, that calculates a best guess for how long you’ve got left.
“What the results tell you are a confirmation and a consolidation of what’s been known, for the most part,” for decades, Dr. Kane said in an interview. “The challenge now is to try to get people to use it to change behavior. Most of us know what we ought to do, but have a hard time doing it.”
So I took the quiz. Even while I was taking it I could tell what would count against me. I eat veggies and fruit, but the way they asked the question I could tell it wasn’t enough. I like myself some wine sometimes but I don’t drink alcohol every day. Again, the question was posed in such a judgmental manner I was like, “You WANT me to drink more? What kind of health quiz are you?” I already mentioned the puny amount of exercise I do weekly.
AND I’ve had my bouts with anxiety and depression. AND I have chronic illness. AND my stress level is a teensy bit off the chart.
How am I still alive?!
The final results weren’t so bad. Like Michelle Slatella, who wrote How to Live Longer Without Really Trying, my life expectancy was 94 years but if I kept up my good-for-nothing lifestyle I might reach 86, 82 healthy enough to blow out my birthday candles without falling over.
Live Longer by…
The virtual carrot Dr. Kane dangles is the possibility of altering that prediction. Like George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life, I have a chance to add 8 to 9 years to my healthy life if I make a few key changes. Eat more vegetables and fruit (I knew it!). Exercise even more (I’ve been wanting to get back to running & yoga). Reduce stress (Even pre-quiz, I’ve taken steps to reduce my workload). Hang out with people you love more (I’m starting with just calling them. That counts, right?). Less screen time (Read a book!), more creative time (I love to write. I could do that more.). Honestly I knew this before I took the quiz but everyone loves a quiz. They’re so validating.
Photo by Marisa Howenstine| Words By Dr Aletta
Elvira G. Aletta, PhD, Founder & CEO
Life gave Dr. Aletta the opportunity to know what it’s like to hurt physically and emotionally. After an episode of serious depression in her mid-twenties, Dr. Aletta was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease that relapsed throughout her adulthood. While treatable, the cure was often as hard to bear as the disease. Later she was diagnosed with scleroderma, another chronic illness.
Throughout, Dr. Aletta battled with anxiety. Despite all this, Dr. Aletta wants you to know, you can learn to engage in life again on your terms.
Good therapy helped Dr. Aletta. She knows good therapy can help you. That’s why she created Explore What’s Next.
Today Dr. Aletta enjoys mentoring the EWN therapists, focusing on coaching and psychotherapy clients, writing and speaking. She is proud and confident that Explore What’s Next can provide you with therapists who will help you regain a sense of safety, control and joy.
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