Other Free Encyclopedias » Medicine Encyclopedia » Aging Healthy - Part 3 » Life-Span Extension - Myths About Life Extension, Scientific Analysis Of Longevity, Centenarians, Life-extension Strategies That Work

Life-Span Extension - Lifestyle Choices To Maximize Life Span

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Choosing long-lived parents is currently the best method of insuring one's longevity. For now, there's not much people can do to ensure that the genes they got from their parents were the best possible. Each of us is responsible for maximizing our own life span (or not) as we see fit. Interventions to rectify such hereditary defects are probably at least a few decades away; but there's a lot a person can do to maximize the effect of his or her genes. The most important things to do to ensure that one reaches a maximum life span are to avoid unhealthy habits, such as smoking; excessive use of drugs like alcohol, narcotics, or marijuana; and overeating or consuming fatty foods. Regular exercise is also recommended.

Assuming that one wants to extend his or her life, as the comedian Woody Allen put it, "by not dying," rather than through one's children or works, what can be done? Not smoking, eating a healthy diet that's light in fats and total calories, getting plenty of exercise, staying happy, and having friends all may help. Some people recommend certain dietary supplements, such as vitamin E and a half an aspirin tablet daily. There are no magic bullets, however, at least not yet. Advice changes, and it's best to stay up to date; several websites maintained by responsible organizations include those of the American Federation for Aging Research (www.infoaging.org), the National Institute on Aging (www.nih.gov/nia/), and the Gerontological Association of America (www.geron.org).

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