LONGEVITY SERIES

KICKSTART LONGEVITY

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HOW TO DO MORE FOR LONGER

In Greek mythology, Eos, bringer of the morning Sun, asked Zeus, king of the gods, to grant her husband Tithonus eternal life. On doing so she realised that she had made a grave mistake. She had asked for eternal life but not eternal youth. She had to watch as her husband grew old and withered.

We remember this lesson when we think about longevity. It is not enough to live longer, you have to be able to enjoy it too.

But does living longer mean that we enjoy it as much?

This is where the concept of healthspan comes in, and we here at Be Bright think about this a lot. We differentiate healthspan from lifespan this way: Lifespan is how long you live, regardless of the quality, and Healthspan is how long you live a quality life. I don’t know about you but I am not interested in living to 120 if the last 50 years are a physical struggle.

Now you might ask ‘What do you mean by quality, isn’t that different for everyone?’. You are right so this is really just from our perspective. Broadly speaking, what we want is to maintain these 3 aspects for as long as possible:

MOBILITY

Remain mobile enough to stop our world from shrinking. Read more

STRENGTH

Be strong enough to not have to stop doing what we love doing. Read more

BEAUTY

Maintain a level of personal confidence in our appearance. Read more

We have a feeling that this list is not too different from what you want so let’s explore how we achieve this together.

LONGEVITY SERIES

what longevity means to you

If you wanted to keep just 1 aspect of your physical life the same for 100 years what would it be?

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WHAT DOES LONGEVITY MEAN TO YOU?

In that article, we discuss the difference between our Lifespan and our Healthspan, and the 3 main aspects we want to maintain to lengthen our healthspan.

Enough about us, it is time for you to choose.

If you wanted to keep just 1 aspect of your physical life the same for 100 years what would it be?

To help you out we have added some options to choose from:

  • Pinpoint eyesight
  • Balance and walking
  • Smooth, glowing skin
  • Physical strength
  • Reflex speed
  • Full hair
  • Perfect posture
  • Acute hearing
  • Quick wit

It’s a tough question, isn't it?
As we embark on this journey to understand Longevity we want you to hold a picture of the life you want to live in your mind. It is a useful exercise to see where changes you can implement now can dramatically improve your chances of getting that life.

What comes next:
There are 3 main factors that contribute to human longevity.

Genetics

Some genetic factors can affect how long a person lives. For example, people with certain genetic variations may have a lower risk of developing certain diseases that can affect their lifespan.

Lifestyle

Lifestyle choices such as diet, exercise, and sleep patterns can have a significant impact on lifespan. Eating a healthy diet, staying physically active, getting enough sleep, and avoiding harmful habits like smoking can all contribute to a longer, healthier life.

Environment

Environmental factors such as pollution, access to healthcare, and socioeconomic status can also affect longevity. People living in areas with high levels of pollution or limited access to healthcare may have shorter lifespans, while those living in areas with clean air, good healthcare, and higher socioeconomic status may live longer.

There are only certain factors that we have any control over so we will limit ourselves to those. Look out for our posts on:

  1. Genetics
  2. Pollution
  3. Environment
  4. Sleep
  5. Exercise
  6. Diet
LONGEVITY SERIES

MAYBE SHE'S BORN WITH IT

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YOUR GENETICS AND LONGEVITY

How much do your genes contribute to your health in old age? Is it inevitable that you will follow in your family's health footsteps? If your gran lived to 90 but our grandfather had Alzheimer's and passed away at 60, what does that mean for you and your children?

The truth is genetics definitely does play a part in our future health. However, there are also a lot of things we can do to improve our longevity if we understand our personal genetics. Though your genes seem like a lottery, if you know your pre-disposed risks then you can make choices now to avoid certain dangers. We will discuss all the different ways throughout our longevity series.

But first, here are a few ways our genes impact our longevity:

Telomere length

Telomeres are the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes, and they naturally shorten as a person ages. However, some people are born with longer telomeres, which may be associated with longer lifespans. For example, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people with longer telomeres lived longer on average than those with shorter telomeres.

Familial longevity

People whose parents or grandparents lived to a ripe old age may be more likely to live longer themselves. For example, a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that people whose siblings lived to age 90 or older were more likely to also live to age 90 or older themselves.

Genetic variations

Certain genetic variations may be associated with longer lifespans or a reduced risk of certain age-related diseases. For example, some studies have suggested that people with variations in the FOXO3A gene may be more likely to live longer.

So, what is the first step?

There are genetic tests we can do to find out more information about our genetic makeup and give us a better overall understanding of our health. These are simple tests based on drawn blood or saliva. They can be quite expensive in South Africa but the costs are dropping quickly as the technology becomes ever more available

These tests break down your genetics code and show changes in our genes, chromosomes and proteins. Looking at these can show the likelihood of a person developing certain genetic conditions. Some genetic conditions that can be tested for are:

  • Obesity
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Breast & ovarian cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Alzheimers
  • Vision loss
  • Psoriasis
  • Parkinson's disease

Deciding whether to have these tests is a very personal decision and often depends on various factors. One major factor being whether you’ve noticed certain conditions running in your family.

Whatever we decide to do it is good to know that we are more in control of our health than we think we are. It can be very encouraging to know that our longevity can be controlled by the small decisions we make each day and the preventative measures we take now.