This month I've been reading a lot about ageing and how it is so different for each person. And it's made me think about why that could be. There is such a wide diversity of health levels between people who are over 45 it's shocking.
If you have been with Nosh for a while, you will know that I use my 80-year-old mother as a very convenient guinea pig for my theories on ageing. [With her permission of course :)]
For my mother at 80 she lives alone, does her own housekeeping and cooking (with help for the heavy stuff) and goes on holiday with friends twice to three times a year. Her memory is perfect. Her mobility probably around 75% and really the only age-related issue she has is that her hearing is not marvellous.
I remember when she was around 75 or 76 I wanted her to move in with us so I could look after her and so she didn't have to work so hard. Good thing she didn't really! Other than the fact we'd probably have murdered each other, it seems that the older people get, the more activity they need to stay healthy.
See below for some amazing facts that I've unearthed about how to live longer and the differences for both men and women.
7 Steps To Live Longer For Men & Women
7000 people in Southern California completed a 23-page lifestyle questionnaire asking them in great detail about their health status and lifestyle. The Researchers went back years later and analysed the difference between those that had lived and died. Now to surprise you the difference was NOT their Income, Physical condition, or Genetic inheritance. What did make a difference was a handful of extremely SIMPLE lifestyle habits:
- Sleeping seven or eight hours every night.
- Eating breakfast almost every day.Not eating between meals.
- Normal weight - so women not more than 5% underweight, and men not more than 10 to 20% overweight.
- Regular physical activity - at least 20 minutes of active sports, long walks or gardening x5 a week.
- Moderate drinking - only one two alcoholic drinks a day.
- Never smoking.
Conclusions on Survival Rates
A 45-year-old man who followed 0-3 healthy habits could add on 21.6 years; Someone who followed 6-7 good habits could expect to live 33 more years.
Eating breakfast, no matter what kind of breakfast, and getting enough sleep added 11 more years to a man's life. But having both sets of parents and grandparents live to age 80 increases one's life expectancy by only about 3 years.
A 45-year-old woman following 6 good habits added on 7.2 years longer than a woman who followed less than 4.
Conclusions on overall health
A person in late middle age (55 to 64) who practised all 7 good habits was as healthy as 25 to 34 years old that followed only 1-2.
If someone followed all 7 good habits, at age 75 they're equivalent to people in 30's or 40's who neglected good habits.
What seems to pay off is sheer regularity - the kind of diet or physical activity being followed was not taken into consideration because similar population studies from Southern California have shown that people over age 65 who take large doses of vitamins and adhere to strict health-food diets did not gain any significant advantage in life expectancy.