Living Long, Living Well: Lessons from Japan

Japan’s centenarian population just passed 80,000 for the first time ever. The Blue Zones research that looked at longevity hot spots throughout the world included Okinawa in Japan.One of the longevity practices the Blue Zones project identified among Okinawans was strong social connections—some of these connections were life-long. Physical activity and diet were also identified as keys to healthy, longer lives.One of the individuals credited with helping people in his country to live longer and better was Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, the author of Living Long, Living Good. Dr. Hinohara passed in 2017 at the age of 105. At the time,…

Continue Reading Living Long, Living Well: Lessons from Japan

Prepared to Live Into Your 90’s and Beyond?

You may have read that Olivia de Havilland just passed on at the age of 104. While living over 100 is still unusual, the number of people who live to 100 or more in the United States has increased from 53,000 in 2010 to a projected 92,000 in 2020. And the aging population trend is not going to slow down anytime soon. By 2060, the number of people in the U.S. who live to at least 100 is expected to be about 600,000. The Social Security Administration projects that if we make it to 65, then we have a little…

Continue Reading Prepared to Live Into Your 90’s and Beyond?

Live Your Best Life by Practicing This

Almost anyone can benefit from it, but a lot of people don’t recognize its value. It is free, but it often involves some effort to develop and retain it. Live a Longer, More Active Life This particular attribute is also associated with greater longevity. One study even suggested the people who nurture this are 11-15% more likely to “live longer overall.” Research suggests that older people who have this attribute develop fewer difficulties with tasks of daily living and mobility problems than their less optimistic peers. So, not only could we live longer but live better as a result of…

Continue Reading Live Your Best Life by Practicing This

Health-Span and Environment

Numerous studies have indicated that where we live affects our longevity. Our environment can also affect the number of years we live free of major chronic conditions (our health-span). One study suggests that most people will live about 20% of their lives with chronic conditions but that lifestyle can influence the number of healthy years we enjoy.  Our activity levels, our social engagement, our overall environment, availability of fresh food, and our access to healthcare are some of the factors that influence health-span. However, even if we lengthen our health-span, it is inevitable (unless we experience sudden death) that we…

Continue Reading Health-Span and Environment

We Can Practice Maintaining a Positive Attitude

Yesterday, I was paying for some groceries when the check-out associate asked me how my day was going. I responded the way I do almost every time someone asks me that question. “Every day is a good day.”  An older man standing behind me said, “Well, if you are on this side of the dirt, then it probably is a good day." In the bigger scheme of things, I think the man was right.Having a positive outlook has been associated with overall life satisfaction, health, and even longevity. The good news is that various reports suggest anyone can develop a…

Continue Reading We Can Practice Maintaining a Positive Attitude

Healthspan vs. Lifespan: Choose Wisely

Iconic actress Betty White celebrated her 98th birthday in January. Her advice for staying happy and healthy? “Enjoy life.” She said we also need to “accentuate the positive, not the negative.”White’s advice is consistent with what research on aging is reporting. Our attitude can profoundly affect how we age and even how long we live. Studies suggest that having the right attitude about aging can increase our lifespan by as much as 11-15%.Yesterday, Hollywood great, Kirk Douglas, died at the age of 103. Douglas stared in numerous movies including “Spartacus” and “Lust for Life.”  Even though he suffered a stroke…

Continue Reading Healthspan vs. Lifespan: Choose Wisely

Movement Matters as We Age

Twyla Tharp is seventy-eight years old. In her book, Keep it Moving, she says “the older we get, the more we should commit to physical activity.” Staying active, she explains is how we can slow down “the diminishment of our strength and agility, our bone density, our muscle mass, our elasticity, [and] our recovery time.” Tharp undoubtedly knows what she’s talking about. She is considered a leading creative artist of our time as a former dancer and a dance choreographer for some of the best-known ballet companies in the world. She continues a rigorous exercise routine and a fast-paced event…

Continue Reading Movement Matters as We Age

Purpose: A Key to a Long and Satisfying Life

Various studies have suggested that having a sense of purpose is important for healthy living, longevity, and life satisfaction. Having a sense of purpose is also an important component of a satisfying retirement. Those who don’t find a sense of purpose in retirement are more likely to experience depression and regret than those who do.Even before I officially ‘retired’ a year ago from my teaching career, I had started to develop a sense of purpose for the new chapter in my life. I asked myself questions about what I thought was really important to me. I also considered what I…

Continue Reading Purpose: A Key to a Long and Satisfying Life

Choosing to Be a Positive Aging Advocate

I am no longer used to getting up in the dark. This morning I got up before 6:00 a.m. to attend a Chamber of Commerce meeting. Technically, I am not currently operating a business per se, even though I own a registered business entity. Instead, I consider myself a positive aging advocate. Nonetheless, I think of the business owners at Chamber as part of my audience for the work I am doing. Originally, I focused just on Baby Boomers who were either preparing for retirement or who wanted more out of their retirement life. I became a certified professional retirement…

Continue Reading Choosing to Be a Positive Aging Advocate

An Optimistic Attitude Could Lead to a Longer Life

I’ve read a few articles recently about how optimism is generally associated with longer life. One of the articles explained that optimists tend to have lower stress levels and feel more “empowered to overcome hurdles.” I think of myself as a pragmatic optimist. I’m not a ‘Pollyanna,’ and I do try to anticipate situations that could become problems and plan for them. Still, I usually try to look for the rays of sunshine when I see clouds on the horizon. Now having said this, I’ll confess that I’ve had periods when I was less than a ‘sunny’ presence—especially when I…

Continue Reading An Optimistic Attitude Could Lead to a Longer Life