For instance, do you know staying fit is much easier than getting in shape? In other words, after some initial effort, you can slack off and still maintain your benefits.
How about your diet? Sure, slacking off will set you back. But once again, you don’t have to be a fanatic. Falling off the wagon a couple of times a week won’t kill you, but a steady diet of Twinkies will.
In that vein, your best plan is to put in some effort on basic health maintenance:
Your body needs to be taken care of in a variety of ways for peak performance over the long term. Exercise. Keep your weight off. Try to avoid stabbing yourself. It’s a big advantage that in our formative years, that sort of maintenance just happens as a natural consequence of being a child.
But the additional work that goes into maintaining health as an adult comes as an unexpected chore.
So: many of us get successful, then fat, and then suffer aging-related conditions more frequently. Also sooner. And then on average… die younger.
This isn’t rocket science. Most know what they are doing to themselves, even if they aren’t up to speed on the biochemistry details that come into play. But the siren song of life in a time of wealth and plenty lures you in. Medical science will probably save you from yourself someday… but don’t count on it for a while.
So maintain yourself. You stand on the entry to a golden age in biotechnology, one that offers open-ended healthy, youthful lifespans to those who claw their way over the threshold.
Slacking off on your health means you’re turning your back on that future. That makes it tougher for you to live long enough to benefit from rejuvenation biotechnologies that are clearly emerging today.
Then let’s now review the basics of the “Big Two,” Diet and Exercise. These are the two most important of my 7 Steps to Longevity.
1. Diet. I have a whole chapter devoted to Diet in my book, Smart, Strong and Sexy at 100?. Here are some basics:
a. Eat less. Did you know the average American adult devours over 3,000 calories a day? Our average should be around 2,000.
b. Replace soft drinks, sugars, processed foods and white flour with fresh or frozen organic vegetables and fruits.
c. Eliminate or at least limit grains and dairy.
d. If you eat meat, make sure it’s free-range.
e. Eat at least one third of your food raw, preferably more.
f. Fast intermittently. One day a week for example.
2. Exercise. #2 in importance… just behind Diet.
a. Ideally, get 20-30 minutes of high-intensity exercise, six days a week. If you train longer than 45 minutes at a time, lower your intensity.
b. Balance cardio training with resistance training.
c. Your best exercise is what you are able and willing to do consistently, not what you’d like to do – but don’t.
d. If you’re not interested in training seriously to stay in shape, then pick activities that you enjoy, and do them regularly. Those could include sports, brisk walking, cycling, active hobbies or even gardening. “Movement” is key. Why not substitute the word “activity” for “exercise” if that makes it easier for you?
You don’t have to be a fanatic. Have fun. Eat and exercise moderately today… and we’ll see you in the long tomorrow.