A Short Guide to a Long Life

A Short Guide to a Long Life

David Agus

Summary in 100 words or less

Your body loves predictability. Reduce stress on your body by maintaining a routine for your sleep-wake cycles, eating times, periods of physical activity, and schedule for taking any prescribed medications. Consume foods that are as close to nature as possible. Maintain a correct posture, stand, exercise, and stretch more. Have a personal hygiene routine especially for your teeth and feet. If possible, take time off to relax and live with someone else to improve your mental health.


My Highlights

Take inventory of your body’s features, characteristics, vital signs, and other health parameters that are relatively easy to obtain.

Your body loves predictability. One of the best ways of reducing stress on your body and keeping its preferred, balanced state of being (homeostasis) is to maintain a regular, consistent routine on a daily basis, 365 days a year, to the best of your ability. Yes, regardless of weekends, holidays, social demands, late nights at the office, and other body-busting, scheduled-disrupting events.

The four chief areas where you can make great strides in honoring your body’s homeostasis area your sleep-wake cycles, eating times, periods of physical activity, and schedule for taking any prescribed medications.

If you read a label that lists ingredients you cannot pronounce or define without a graduate-level textbook in chemistry, put that item back on the shelf and walk away! Focus on consuming foods that are as close to nature as possible, which will also help you avoid problematic ingredients that you don’t know you’re sensitive to.

Grow your garden. This should be a mandatory rule for anyone with children, especially young ones. I know of no better way to teach principles of health and good eating than show kids what real food looks like in the growing phase.

Any traditional diet will beat out our processed food culture, and traditional eating habits have worked for centuries among different peoples (with vastly different diets) around the world. These habits include moderating portions, sharing food at a communal table, not going back for seconds, and letting hunger build up in between meals (no snacking).

Aim for no more than one drink a day if you’re a woman and two if you’re a man. And if you abstain during the workweek, you don’t have permission to binge drink over the weekend.

When you live with someone else, you have a reason to pay more attention to your health and hygiene. You’ve got another person to hold you accountable for your actions and lifestyle habits. You’re less likely to engage in risky behaviors. And you’re more likely to have a built-in system for coping with stress, because another warm human body is present in your daily life.

Sitting itself is not the culprit here; it’s the biological effects that sitting triggers in the body. Just as exercise spurs positive metabolic changes to our body, being inactive causes metabolic changes in the opposite, negative direction. And prolonged time spent sitting, independent of how much other physical activity is done during the day, has been shown to have significant metabolic consequences, negatively influencing such things as blood fats, cholesterol, blood sugar, resting blood pressure, and the appetite hormone leptin, all of which are risk factors for obesity, cardiovascular illness, and other chronic diseases.

To reap the benefits of exercise, including all those biochemical reactions that take place to lower your risk of illness and keep your body humming, aim for breaking a sweat and getting your heart pumping fast for a minimum of fifteen minutes a day.

The combination of your DNA profile and the history you glean from family members can ultimately answer a lot of questions for you.

Devise a plan and then word backward. Come up with little milestones you can achieve on that path. Instead of saying, “I will lose weight,” reframe that goal to include the measures you’ll take to get there. For example, “I will work out at least five days a week for thirty minutes at a time”; “I will remove 80 precent of processed foods from my diet”; “I will see my doctor once a year fro a routine checkup.”

Part of the art of dealing with sickness means sticking to our routines as much as possible. Lying in bed all day in the dark might not be what’s best for us if we want a quick recovery.

Maintaining correct posture may be one of the best-kept secrets for achieving a longer, healthier, and more enjoyable life.

When we stand tall and erect, we exude confidence. This in turn helps us to feel good about ourselves and have an optimistic outlook. All roads to perfect posture start with a sturdy core. You don’t need a chiseled six-pack, but engage in exercise that work this area.

If allowed to deteriorate, teeth and feet will cause misery. Poor oral hygiene can produce terrible tooth decay or, worse, the total loss of teeth; not taking care of your feet can result in painful bunions, corns, warts, and other podiatric torments that make walking difficult, it not impossible.

Sign up and get certified for CPR. You never know when you might need to use it. Best of all: most courses today (and they will take up only half a Saturday morning, if that) will teach you how to use a defibrillator, how to deal with choking incident, and how to revive an infant who stops breathing—all excellent skills to have that don’t require rigorous study, training, or even a test.

Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. If you’re going to favor one type of product over the other, go for more leafy greens and fibrous vegetables than sugary fruit.

Make room for stretching exercises in your routine. This will help you to maintain the physical pliancy you need to keep up with normal day-to-day activities. It also will help you to work on two other key skills: coordination and balance.

Your body is expertly designed to detox naturally thanks to your kidneys, liver, sweat glands, lungs, and digestive system. You don’t need to take drastic, sometimes dangerous measures to detoxify your body, and this includes the use of supplements and detox formulas marketed to clean you out.

If the goal us to reduce our overall inflammation and take the load off your joints and lower back to further reduce inflammation, then there’s no better and easier way by simply wearing a pair of supportive and comfortable shoes daily.

Downtime isn’t just about removing oneself from work obligations and household chores; it’s also about truly relaxing in a peaceful environment in which you can let the brain take a breather and stop multitasking.

More book notes

The World's Fittest Book
The Bounce Back Book
Brain Rules
Four Thousand Weeks
How Will You Measure Your Life

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