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23 de Jan de 2021

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The fountain of youth revisited

PANAMA. Yesterday’s article on the influence of how well we live in determining how well we age listed the first three common traits th...

PANAMA. Yesterday’s article on the influence of how well we live in determining how well we age listed the first three common traits that people who have lived to 100 share in the way they eat, move about, and deal with stress, as pointed out by a new study published in the British Medical Journal of 20,000 British folks.

They included keeping active, flossing every day, and eating a fiber-rich cereal for breakfast. Here are the three following recommendations, things we can emulate to improve our own aging process.

4. Move around. And here it comes. That constant reminder that regardless of your physique, exercising is not only for those trying to lose weight but for those trying to be healthy.

"Exercise is the only real fountain of youth that exists," says Jay Olshansky, a professor of medicine and aging researcher at the University of Illinois. "It's like the oil and lube job for your car. You don't have to do it, but your car will definitely run better."

Study after study has documented the benefits of exercise to improve your mood, mental acuity, balance, muscle mass, and bones. "And the benefits kick in immediately after your first workout," he adds.

Gyms in Panama City have proliferated in recent years, with big and well-staffed facilities like Power Club, Bio-fit Center, Curves, Steps Gym and Spa all across town.

But if you’re not looking into becoming a gym rat any time soon, bask in knowing that the biggest payoffs are seen by those who go from doing nothing to simply walking around the neighborhood or local mall for about 30 minutes a day.

If turned off by the idea of inhaling smog or the fear constant trips to Multiplaza or Albrook would put a dent to your wallet, consider dancing, pilates, and yoga centers that can give strength-training effects to those not into weight lifting at the gym.

5. Get at least six hours of shut-eye. Instead of skimping on sleep to add more hours to your day, get more to add years to your life.

"Sleep is one of the most important functions that our body uses to regulate and heal cells," says Ferrucci. "We've calculated that the minimum amount of sleep that older people need to get those healing REM phases is about six hours." Those who reach the century mark make sleep a top priority.

6. Consume whole foods, not supplements. Strong evidence suggests that people who have high blood levels of certain nutrients —selenium, beta-carotene, vitamins C and E —age much better and have a slower rate of cognitive decline. Unfortunately, there's no evidence that taking pills with these nutrients provides those anti-aging benefits.

"There are more than 200 different carotenoids and 200 different flavonoids in a single tomato," points out Ferrucci, "and these chemicals can all have complex interactions that foster health beyond the single nutrients we know about like lycopene or vitamin C."

Avoid nutrient-lacking white foods (breads, flour, sugar) and go for all those colorful fruits and vegetables (plentiful and quite affordable in Panama) and dark whole-grain breads and cereals with their host of hidden nutrients.

Tomorrow: How Seventh Day Adventists have a longer life span.