Monday, May 3, 2010

Dan Buettner: How to live to be 100+

By Crystal O.

The second TED talk I decided to analyse was "How to live to be 100+" by Dan Buettner. "Dan would like to figure out the premise of blue zone to find the optimal lifestyle of longevity so that they can come up with a effectual formula for longevity." [Dan Buettner: How to live to be 100+| Video on]

"Only about 10% of how long an average person lives, within certain biological limits is dictated by our genes. The other 90% is dictated my our lifestyle." [Dan Buettner] In this TED talk, Dan Buettner explores the topic of longevity and lifestyle. He explains how the average American would not know the proper formula for longevity as they have only heard about "The South Beach Diet, or the Atkins Diet, or have the USDA Food Pyramid, there's what Opera tells us, there's what Dr. Oz tells us, the fact that matters is there is a lot of confusion on what really helps us live longer, better. Should you be running marathons or doing yoga? Should you eat organic meats, or should you be eating tofu?" [Dan Buettner] The point is, nobody really knows what to believe in so we start to make up some common myths about longevity. "The first myth, is if you try really hard, you can live to be 100. False. The problem is only about 1 out of 5000 people in America live to be 100. Your chances are very low." [Dan Buettner] Many people believe in this myth but don't understand that "the problem is, we are not programmed for longevity, we are programmed for something called, preparative success." [Dan Buettner] What he is trying to explain here, is a human's plotted goal is to have children, and live until their children, have children. "The second myth is that there are treatments that can help slow, reverse or even stop aging. False. When you think of it, there are 99 things that can age us." [Dan Buettner] Simple things like, killing brain cells that control your body, damaging a major organ or breaking an important bone are easy things to accomplish without purpose in daily life. "Our bodies have 35 trillion cells. Those cells turn themselves over every 8 years and every time they turn themselves over, there's some damage, and that damage builds up." [Dan Buettner] This is why it makes it basically impossible to live to be 100, your cells turn over so much, that they turn to garbage. "That's why a 65 year old person is aging at a rate of about 125 times faster, then a 12 year old person. By now you are probably thinking, what's the point of this talk then? If we look at other country's of different cultures other then our own, you will see that they are living almost to the age of 100. "Places where 102 year old people are still riding their bike to work, chop wood, and can beat a guy 60 years younger then them." [Dan Buettner] Now I'm sure everyone is thinking, if these people can do this, what's their secret of longevity? Their diet is based on mostly plants, they eat foods from grass fed animals instead of corn fed animals which gives them Omega 3, not Omega 6. Dan Buettner thinks that the secret is how they are treated when they get older. "This as it turns out is not only good for your aging parents to keep them close to the family, research shows, that it is also good for the children in those families who have lower rates of mortality, and lower rates of disease. That's called the grandmother fact." For the rest of the talk, Dan shows another blue zone and how their culture achieves longevity. Answering the question, why do you wake up in the morning, is a great way to keep you going to achieve longevity. A personal example I have is, I wake up every morning, because I want to spend time with my family and friends. Dan Buettner finishes the talk by taking a look at some people in their 90's and 100's who are heart surgeons, lift weights and drive their car. So what is it, that has made them live so long? There are 4 things that they do. Move naturally. "None of them exercise. Instead, they set up their lives, so they are constantly nudged into physical activity." [Dan Buettner] Having the right outlook. "These people know their sense of purpose and they activate it in their life, that's worth about 7 more years of life expectancy." [Dan Buettner] Eating wisley. "They eat a plant based diet, and have strategy's to keep from overeating." [Dan Buettner] Connecting. "They put their families first, take care of their children and their aging parents." [Dan Buettner] The best thing they did, was surrounded themselves with people that think the way they do.

I think this TED talk is very factual and an eye opener. Before I listened to Dan Buettner's talk, I had no idea that longevity depended on your lifestyle, I just thought of it as a lucky thing people receive. It's interesting to listen to Dan talk about other countries in the world who live longer then we do, and don't have as much as we do. Who would ever think that a plant based diet, the right friends, and love from others could effect the way we live. Dan Buettner took the myths of how people think we can live longer, and clearly turned them into how other cultures are living longer. He hooked me at the starting with the statistics of how 90% of how long you live is based on your lifestyle. It made me think, how is my lifestyle holding me back from longevity? When he explained the myths we all believe in, I had heard every one of them before. Honestly, I never knew that being around the wrong people could effect the way your lifestyle is progressing. When I really put my mind into a thinking state, a lot of my relatives have passed away at the age of 60. When I related his information, to their lifestyle, I realised that a lot of them have been fighting, feeling unloved by their family and have been eating a really fatty diet. Dan Buettner has definitely changed the way I think about living, and has inspired me to challenge myself to living longer.

In conclusion, we need to spread the real truth on longevity, throw away the myths, and take advice from the countries who have a longer life expectancy. I'm sure many people would like to live longer but just don't know how. I would recommend this talk to everyone out there, no matter your age, because everyone can help each other live longer and better with the right thinking and the right attitude.

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