A lot of the discussion surrounding healthy life extension focuses, understandably, on advances in medical science and how to best encourage funding and public understanding. After all, without no progress, there will be no meaningful healthy life extension medicine in the future.
How about the here and now, though? What can you do now to help yourself live healthily and longer? The Longevity Meme ("the collection of ideas, viewpoints and behaviors that will enable people to lead long, healthy and extended lives") itself consists of three parts:
- Life healthily: take care of your health and improve your natural longevity
- Fight aging: join the community in activism and advocacy for medical research
- Extend your life: make the choice to take action on health and medicine, and reap the rewards!
Read on for more:
As I noted a week or two ago, the first part of the bootstrapping process to greatly extending the healthy human life span is for everyone to work on their natural longevity: look after your health in the here and now. This way, you'll be more likely to be around and active to benefit from future medical technologies. Maintaining good health for longer is actually easier and cheaper than you might imagine, given that there are plenty of people out there who will gleefully take your time and money to tell you how difficult and costly it is. It's not rocket science (but read the disclaimer - your health, just like your future, is ultimately your responsibility, not mine):
- Find a physician you are comfortable with, and listen to what they have to say about your general health. If they contradict me, listen to them. They're the doctor in this conversation and they know more about your health than I do.
- Stop damaging your health: quit smoking, lay off the non-stop junk food, and stop doing all those other things that you know are really bad for you.
- Lose the excess weight and keep it off. Doctors agree that being overweight is a strong predictor for virtually every terrible medical condition that can happen to you later in life. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and even Alzheimer's: they've all been strongly linked to even a little excess weight earlier in life.
- Take your vitamins and supplements! It's not expensive in moderation, and the practical real-world modern diet doesn't give you what your body needs. The benefits are obvious and proven.
- Exercise regularly, and as advised by your physician. Again, the beneficial effects of exercise for longevity are well documented and well researched.
Once the basics are out of the way, then you can look into adopting a calorie restriction diet, further researching supplements, tinkering with exercise schedules and the like. There's usually room for improvement, and everyone has a different sweet spot when it comes to diet and lifestyle.
You can spend as much time as you like in attempting to optimize your natural longevity: it's like being an auto enthusiast, out to get that last 10% of performance out of the engine. You can spend a lot of time on research, a lot of money on supplements, learn a lot of new things, and while away hours theorizing with others who share your interest. Unlike the auto enthusiast, however, you'll never really know if you are actually getting that last 10%. There's a lot of dubious science, unproven conjecture and outright false information out there. It's up to you to find your comfort zone in all of this.
Calorie restriction, I hasten to add, is bedrock solid and worth the time. It has the science behind it, as do a few other advanced topics for present day personal health. They won't do you any good if you're killing yourself with tobacco, though!
If I had a dime for every overweight smoker who takes vitamins and supplements, I'd be well off - so don't be one of these people. Master the basics first and help yourself life a longer, healthier life. You can read more on the topic of healthy life extension at the Longevity Meme. Get started!