November 10, 2022

Longevity is a complicated game

The average Indian lifespan in 1920 was 30 years. We now live more than twice as long. Here are a few things that bumped up our lifespan to the age of 71 :

*Calories per head and quality of food is up 20-25 percent since 1960. More affordable food production has helped (lack of famines, better agricultural practices, more protein)

*Better healthcare with fewer babies dying during childbirth and fewer people dying of starvation in famines and of infectious diseases (vaccines, antibiotics, cleaner hospitals)

*Cleaner houses and cities with electricity, better sewage management and clean drinking water. Less random violence and better law and order.

Here is what compromises longevity and worsens quality of life in 2023:

*Heart disease and obesity. We eat and consume too much. Move and sleep too little.

*We know what optimal food intake and activity levels look like. But we don’t make enough of an effort to get there.

*Lung disease from hypertension. Air quality is getting worse and there is too much distress (bad stress), too little eustress (planned, carefully dosed bouts of mental and physical stress that builds resilience)

*Diarrhoea. Contaminated food and water is still an issue in several places.

*Road accidents.

*Cancer. We live longer. This increases the odds of dying of cancer.

*Lack of sleep.

Here are things to improve the odds that you get to the age of 71:

*Eat clean food and drink clean water (we mean literal with few pollutants and microbes)

*Give your heart a dose of activity to train it to recover from exertion and to also sustain milder levels of exertion for prolonged periods of time.

*If exercise is good stress, these are bad stressors: road rage, bad bosses, tempestuous relationships, heated arguments and over-salted food. Avoid bad stress. Embrace good stress.

*Avoid hanging out at coal plants, radiation-contaminated zones and places with air quality like Delhi.

*Drive safely and avoid routes that are especially accident prone .( Basically never take ECR )

*Ensure your hips and knees work well enough to deal gracefully with tumbles and falls as you age. Ensure you have dense bones to deal with the occasional tumble gracefully sans cracks.

Here’s what you can do to maximise the odds that those 71 years and beyond are awesome :

*Lots of pliable muscles and joints that can move freely and apply ample amounts of force or maintain tension on demand.

*Body composition with body fat between 15-23 percent and dense, healthy bones. This means regular bouts of exercise and some control over food and water intake. 

*A consistent sleep schedule with 7-8 hours of sleep.

*Medical check ups at a reasonable frequency to rule out or catch problems early.

*Have a reasonable handle on things that can stress you out in life: money, politics, traffic, work, hobbies and relationships.

About Adarsh

- I run a strength and conditioning facility in Chennai, India
- I work with my clients to make training and eating for better body composition a part of everyday life
- I coach online and in-person
- I design and manufacture strength training equipment for use in our strength training facility