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Simple Tips for Better Living

The Science of Healthy Aging: Living Better, Not just Longer

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Excellent talk by Ellen Hughes, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine; Former Director of Education, Osher Center for Integrative Medicine.

Things worth remembering:

  • About 40% of your health is determined by behavior, 30% by genetics, 15% social, 10% healthcare, 5% environment
  • Mental health is linked to physical health
  • Our genes aren’t fixed… our behaviors directly affect our genes (see epigenetics)
  • “Eat real food, not too much, mostly plants” -Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food)
    or even easier… “more leaves, less seeds.”
  • It’s never too late
    sedentary people that become active have the same mortality as other active people in their age group after a few months
    active people that become sedentary have the same mortality as other sedentary people in their age group after a few months
  • Floss your teeth
  • Eat whole grain, not whole wheat
  • Relax & set aside time to think
  • Testing the low-calorie hypothesis:
  • monkeys on a healthy diet with 1/3 fewer calories live 1/3 longer than other monkeys with same diet but no caloric restriction
    mechanisms? less oxidative stress & less insulin production
    some of the longest lived people (Okinawans) don’t eat until they’re full (they practice the 80% full rule)
    portion control ideas: split entrees @ restaurants (take-out half for later) & use smaller plates
    people eat half as much food at buffets with 8″ plates as buffets with 10″ plates
  • Telomeres naturally shorten with age, but can be lengthened by a healthier lifestyle & stress management
    this may be used to check the effectiveness of health interventions in the future
  • Gene array analysis of an intervention of sedentary individuals improving diet, exercise, stress levels & lifestyle led to over 500 healthy gene activations & longer telomeres


Some other observations worth noting:

  • To exercise your mind and/or body, LEARN SOMETHING NEW!
  • If you’re healthy, keep it up!
  • If you’re unhealthy, get healthy and enjoy the same benefits as other healthy people your age.


"Live, Learn & Lead by Example."

Math Teacher, Coach & Passionate Problem Solver
M.Sci Applied Positive Psychology
B.Sci Mathematics

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  1. I love this – and all of your posts. If you #SOMO they’d appear on our page and that would be way, way cool.

    Appreciative of you,

  2. Thanks Louis!

    Sorry for the late reply – your comment got lost in my moderation queue! I’ll start using the #somo tag on related posts!


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