I’ve said before that my overruling life aim is to live a long and active life. Not a life where I spend the last ten or twenty years in a wheelchair, slowly becoming less and less able to function until I suffer the defeat of being spoon-fed when it suits the people looking after me and needing assistance to be washed and dressed and even to go to the toilet.
I partly experienced this a few years ago when a cycling accident left me with two fractured elbows. For a couple of weeks Chris had to wash, dress and feed me. He would get up half an hour earlier than usual to get me washed and dressed before he could start on his own morning routine. He then cooked the breakfast, fed me, ate his own breakfast. Then, as a final act of kindness before going out to do a full day of work, he would spend a few minutes walking round the house, leaving a drink with a straw in it in every room to keep me hydrated and setting the entertainment up for me for the day.
I was miserable, despite the codeine-high I was on, and it was no life for Chris either. It was a stark reminder that if we end up living to old age but requiring this level of full time care then we let ourselves down and put a lot of strain on those who have to look after us.
Since living to a ripe old age is such a key aim in my life, I’m always interested in seeing positive new information about things that will result in a better and longer life (rather than the endless and depressing string of revelations about all the things that are killing us).
Here’s a very short selection of things I’ve spotted recently:
- Chris on Zen to Fitness did a superb post about the people of Sardinia. Sardinia has a high population of centenarians and, as Chris points out, some of the things they do which they claim are the reasons for their longevity fly in the face of other recent diet and health claims. Chris did promise this was the first in a series looking at longevity, but either I’ve missed them or he’s not had an opportunity to write the rest yet. If you’re interested in longevity then I would recommend keeping an eye on the blog!
- The BBC ran an article about the Azeri, the people of Azerbaijan who live in the Talysh Mountains and live well into their centenary years. Unfortunately it seems that they aren’t living as long as they used to, so what is going on?
- Finally, something very topical for the women reading this blog. The BBC and Salon.com both ran articles about recent research that suggested that women who are on the birth control pill may result in longer life-spans. Interestingly, when you drill down into the detail and get past the headlines, it isn’t a longer life but rather an increased protection from cancer and heart disease. However, it’s nice to know that something that can give so many perks to life at the time can also provide some potential perks later on in life too!
As I said, a short set of links this week, but I’m hoping that there’ll be plenty more to read on Zen to Fitness and I’m sure there will be more discoveries about how we can live a long life. Personally, I’m convinced that plenty of fresh air, gentle but continuous exercise, happiness, laughter and reduced stress are the way ahead. What do you think?