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Living longer


Explanations > Brains > Neural Aging > Living longer

The Okinawa effect | Oral moderation | Physical exercise | Mental exercise | Social support | See also


Can we live longer? Here are some notes.

The Okinawa effect

People in the Japanese island of Okinawa have been shown to live longer than people in other parts of the world and a study showed 400 centenarians in 1.3 million people.

Is it genetics? Sadly not. Those who moved away from Okinawa reverted to the normal life expectancy.

What has been found is that the Okinawans have a healthy lifestyle. They do not drink or smoke and eat little meat. 75% of their diet is vegetables and fruit. They also have a tradition of stopping eating even when they are feeling slightly full.

They also take regular gentle exercise, walking, gardening and practicing soft martial arts.

Oral moderation

What we put in our mouths affects out bodies. A good diet provide the energy and balance of chemicals we need to survive. Too much food is just stored as fat, which is associated with heart disease and other problems.

Too much of some things may do some harm. Too little can weaken the body, for example limiting the immune system.

Smoking of course has been proven to  be a cause of cancer, heart issues and other problems. Alcohol in excess can also cause problems as well as increase the chance of accident. And other narcotics can also lead to a range of physiological issues, of course.

The bottom line for food is balance and moderation. Eat a balanced diet and do not over-eat.

Physical exercise

Keeping physically fit helps keep muscles toned and burns off excess fat. The biggest danger of physical exercise is of injury, especially with contact sports and where speed is significant (such as skiing).

The best exercise is gentle and holistic. Walking is free and easy. Cycling and swimming do not cause any impact. Moderate gymnasium work can also be used to exercise the whole body. The main danger of gyms is that people over-do things and stress the body too much.

Mental exercise

An active mind has been shown to be as important as physical exercise, if not more so. Just doing crosswords or other puzzles can be helpful, as can reading and study.

Social support

Another significant factor that leads to longer life is having a support network of people who can help. This may well be related to stress -- when you are in trouble then having someone to help is a great de-stressor.

Social support can also help by monitoring older people for problems, ensuring they see the doctor and so on.

See also

Myths of longevity

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