The Importance of Waking Up In the Morning
You should be working on becoming disease free and adjusted to a healthy lifestyle that you can live with by the time that you are 65. The key to surviving is waking up in the morning, one day at a time.
Laugh it off if you want to. But, be advised that Glee television star Cory Monteith who died at age 31, and Whitney Houston failed to take this simple concept, seriously.
Most of us are interested in a functional or practical model of successful aging rather than a view of what happens at the molecular level. In other words, we really do not care at all about what might promote life-extension in yeast.
It is the position of the Natural Health Perspective that dying in your 50s is stupid, while death in your 60s or 70s would pretty much be a waste. And, that as long as you are living, you should be demanding a high-quality of life. Everyone should view this as the only acceptable objective of successful aging and longevity. Our real goal should be to postpone disability, until the very last possible moment of life. In natural health, it always about your choice of a healthy lifestyle. It is never about blaming longevity on your genetics or on our healthcare system.
Poor Lifestyle Choices Reduce Life Expectancy
In academic circles this paradigm of successful aging is called the Compression of Morbidity Hypothesis.[Fries 1980] This is no pipe dream, but rather what has been proved by science. It is sometimes referred to as the Longevity Dividend. This paradigm was first proposed by Jim Fries, MD in 1980 when he theorized that healthy individuals in the United States should reach a maximum age of 85. Further, once having obtained that advanced age we should all expect to experience a sudden and rapid decline in health that would end in death, within 3 months. This is really about how to minimize end-of-life illness. This scientific concept of successful aging is backed by a lot of published health research. In other words, our goal should be to minimize the number of months that a person spends suffering while maximizing the total number of our productive years of life.
The opposing view point is usually called the Failures of Success Hypothesis, often championed by retired talk show host Dr. Dean Edell, where the rising life expectancy of the American populace is viewed as something to be dreaded since it would only result in chronic debilitating illness and a life of increasing misery for our senior citizens. This view point is often used to justifying living for today, without any concern for your future health prospects.
In conclusion, James F. Fries, MD is the author of more than 300 articles and 11 books [Swartz 2008] that supports the Natural Health Perspective position on successful aging. The numerous Stanford University School of Medicine research studies of Dr. Fries have concluded that healthy lifestyles do work.
"A major prediction of the Compression hypothesis, of course, is that seniors with healthier lifestyles will live longer yet have less cumulative lifetime disability than those with less healthy lifestyles." [Fries 2011]
All anyone need do in order to live a long disability free life is dramatically reduce their number of risk factors for lifestyle diseases.
"The risk-factor-free group showed average disability scores near zero 10-12 years before death, rising slowly over time, without evidence of accelerated functional decline. In contrast, those with two or more factors maintained a greater level of disability throughout follow-up and experienced an increase in the rate of decline 1.5 years prior to death. For those at moderate risk, the rate of decline increased significantly only in the last 3 months of life. Other differences between groups provided no alternative explanations for the findings." [Hubert 2002]
Nor are Dr. Fries' risk-factors particularly exotic. He zeroes in on not smoking, lack of exercise, and obesity.[Fries 2011] Amazingly, he never mentions the importance of eating a healthy diet to a long life.
Thus, the bad news is that for people free of disease at age 65 who have succeeded at consistently living a healthy lifestyle; living to age 85 disability free until the very end, is a reasonable expectation. The good news is that all of Dr. Fries data can be viewed as being pre-vitamin D research. When you throw the fountain of youth into the mix that is realistically obtainable by avoiding vitamin D insufficiency, eating a healthy whole food diet, as well as adapting other healthy lifestyle factors reaching a disability free age of 93 suddenly becomes realistically obtainable.
"Approximately 90% of centenarians delayed disability until the mean age of 93 years indicating perhaps greater functional reserve that enabled these individuals to remain independent for a long time ..." [Hitt 1999]
Nevertheless, for those who insist upon laughing off their personal responsibility for their health, an end-of-life nightmare disability scenario of old age dominated by chronic disability and illness would be the likely outcome.
So what is a person suppose to do? The older that you get the less time you have to waffle on adapting a healthy lifestyle. You are only kidding yourself if you have not become disease free and adjusted successfully to a healthy lifestyle that you can live with by the time that you are 65. Our top ten good health tips would be a good place to start on the road to successful aging.
- Aging, natural death, and the compression of morbidity.
N Engl J Med. 1980 Jul 17;303(3):130-5.
- Lifestyle habits and compression of morbidity.
Hubert HB, Bloch DA, Oehlert JW, Fries JF.
J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2002 Jun;57(6):M347-51.
- Centenarians: the older you get, the healthier you have been.
Hitt R, Young-Xu Y, Silver M, ...
Lancet. 1999 Aug 21;354(9179):652.
- James Fries: healthy aging pioneer.
Am J Public Health. 2008 Jul;98(7):1163-6. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.135731. Epub 2008 May 29.
- Compression of morbidity 1980-2011: a focused review of paradigms and progress.
Fries JF, Bruce B, Chakravarty E.
J Aging Res. 2011;2011:261702. doi: 10.4061/2011/261702. Epub 2011 Aug 23.