Like the Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon, we are all looking for a fountain of youth. We want to get our youth back, live longer, and in good health. But, for good health, do we really need to travel to distant lands looking for mythical springs? What if longevity was a more realistic idea than merely a mention in myths and legends?
Japan clearly seems to have found answers to these questions. It has the highest life expectancy of 87 years for women, and 80 years for men. By 2025, in Tokyo alone, around 3.1 million residents will be above the age of 65 years. Researchers have found that a person’s diet and activity predominantly influence longevity. Among the Japanese, once people retire from their day jobs, they go back to their farms and live on what they cultivate. In the village of Nagano, life expectancy has gradually increased after salt consumption was reduced, and a healthy diet was promoted.
The notion of a healthy diet also manifests in Ikara, Greece, where people have been found to live at least eight years longer than an average American. They include an antioxidant-rich diet comprised of olive oil, tea brewed with herbs like rosemary and thyme, goat’s milk, and bread.
Ikara also promotes a healthy social life and traditional physical activity as the secrets to longevity. Physical activity might involve riding a cycle or walking to your garden and tending to it. It can also be a 20 to 25-minute walk every day. A research by Professor Sanjay Sharma of St. George’s Hospital, South London has found that you don’t necessarily need to engage in strenuous workout sessions to reduce risks of cardiovascular diseases. Brisk walking regularly can, in fact, add three to seven years to your life.
Also, walking allows you to soak in the sun that is a rich source of vitamin D. A research published in The BMJ states that lower levels of vitamin D in people with a history of cancer increases risks of succumbing to the disease by 1.7 times than those with higher levels. Although there are contradictory researches on the effects of vitamin D in promoting longevity, it cannot be ignored that it contributes towards general health. Maintaining good health, inevitably, adds many more years to your life.
So, get out and get some sun. Continue to work even after you retire, instead of withering away into oblivion. You will be mentally and physically happy, and will live to see the world change.