So, just to be sure, my goal (and hopefully your goal) is to purposely live to 120 (or the maximum possible lifespan) with the highest attainable vitality. To achieve that, I feel, I must understand about anything that might get in the way.
In the posts so far, I have been talking about achieving the lifespan of 120 and thereby about a subject that might have sounded morbid to some of you. That is about death and dying.
Let us change our focus to the second part of the goal: Maintaining Vitality. More specifically understanding the potential hurdles to maintaining vitality, i.e., answering the question: how do we lose vitality?
A good definition of vitality I have seen is in the Free Dictionary, as “the capacity to live, grow or develop.” A good synonym of vitality for our purpose here is vigor, including physical, mental, intellectual vigor.
You have seen it. A fried or a family member is full of vitality and then you notice that he/she starts “going downhill”. The person used to be out and about all the time, went running, then started merely walking, then walking but not as often, and then stared to just hang around the house, then on the couch more and more and then … – you get the idea. Decline happens, at times very slowly, and other times rather rapidly.
Another scenario could be that someone you know experiences a physical, mental or emotional traumatic experience and then never really recovers from it, with increasing physical pain or mental/emotional aguish rapidly goes downhill.
So, what can cause such a decline?
Well, as I started to compile a list of causes for losing vitality, I noticed that there are three broad categories: 1) acute illness, 2) chronic diseases, and 3) senescence or aging related causes. As you would suspect, there is much overlap between these categories, especially among lists for 2 and 3.
So, a list of acute illnesses may include:
- Whooping Cough
- Accident or Injury
- Heart attack
- Blood Clot/Thrombosis/Pulmonary Embolism
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Kidney failure
- Other infectious diseases
A list of chronic diseases may include:
- Coronary diseases
- Alzheimer’s diseases
- Kidney diseases
- Liver disease
- High Blood Pressure
And, finally, the list of aging/senescence causes might include:
- Insulin resistance
- Hardening of the arteries
- Loss of muscle mass
- Osteoporosis or Loss of bone mass
- Gaining excess fat
- Buildup of toxicity
- Loss of flexibility
- Loss of balance
- Slowing reaction times
- Slowing basal metabolic rate (BMR)
- Loss of appetite
It is interesting to ponder the implication of the overlaps between the lists.
For example, if you have known someone to have had a heart attack, it was definitely an acute illness event that probably changed their vitality curve and sent that person downhill.
Then again, may be that person was already going downhill since he/she had been losing cardio capacity due to chronic coronary disease.
And, may be the heart attack was in-part the result of hardening of the arteries due to old age.
To achieve longevity and vitality, we must overcome acute illnesses, chronic diseases and also slow the aging /senescence process.
What I am really excited about is first and foremost looking for those lifestyle activities that positively impact items on all three lists at the same time.
And, my search so far, indicates that there are such activities. The most challenging part seems to be picking through the controversies to find the optimal activities.
In any case, I think it will be an exciting journey. I look forward to sharing results of my search in the future posts.
What do you think?
Do you feel there are other hurdles that one must overcome to maintaining optimum vitality?
Anne Sleeper said:
I’m wondering if those long lived people were ever asked if they would have chosen to live that long had the option been available to them. Also asked Ashok how he feels about living so much longer than his loved ones; would the community become his new family.
Jennifer Corridon said:
I think that attitude is so important in overcoming illness and increasing vitality. I have always been interested in the “placebo” affect for many illnesses. The reason that I feel attitude is so critical is that depression seems to be a result of many of these illnesses which caused one to give up and feel defeated. However, many times I think that depression and lack of positive attitude propelled some of the hurdles mentioned above.