The secrets to a long life

Dec. 12, 2012 @ 01:55 PM

Dan Buettner is an author who has been traveling the world in recent years studying the areas where people live the longest. Here are nine ways he has found for living longer: Be active, have a purpose for getting up each day, kick back and relax to relieve stress, stop eating when you are 80 percent full, eat less meat, drink in moderation, have faith, develop loving relationships, and build a social network.
Chuck Yeager became the first man to break the sound barrier, around 700 miles per hour, when he rode his rocket plane to the record in 1947. He is still going strong, now about to turn 90 years of age.
“I’ll be 90 in February,” he recently said, “ and while I’m not gonna run no marathon, I still hunt and fish and fly.”
When Mr. Yeagar says he still flies, he means he pilots his own airplane.
I will admit it: I watched some of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show last week on television. I was surfing channels and came across it and paused momentarily. (Surely this sounds believable, doesn’t it?) Thin seems to be in, especially among women. Just open up any fashion magazine, or watch models strut their stuff at a fashion show. Many women feel this societal pressure to be thin, and this cultural obsession on extreme slimness has resulted in unsafe fad dieting, surgical fat removal, and an increase in eating disorders. A study recently found that 3 minutes spent looking at models in a fashion magazine caused 70 percent of women to feel depressed and guilty.
Some men feel the same way about thinness as women, but not to the same degree, by any means. In fact, a great number of men and teenage boys today suffer from a condition in which they are worried that their muscles aren’t big enough. As a result they consume way too much protein or other supplements, lift weights too often and too intensely, and even use steroids.
A common term used today for this obsession with the way we look is BDD, body dysmorphic disorder. Of course, we all want our bodies to look good. If a pill was invented today that would by itself make a drastic improvement in the way our bodies look, it would be the No. 1 selling drug instantly. But we go overboard, especially with extreme thinness. A little “meat on your bones” is healthier than a “walking skeleton.” Put another way, having 15 percent body fat is healthier than having 8 percent or 9 percent for women.
And to be honest, “speaking” for a lot of us men out here, a “little more there” on a woman is more attractive. This was a prevalent view at one time. In earlier times, female figures in portraits were soft and fleshy.
These two quotations give us an idea of this:
“Lean, lank women cannot possibly be good looking, while a full plump form, with all its hollows filled up, and slopes well smoothed by adipose matter, becomes an element of female beauty.” – Orson Fowler
“I want a woman who is medium sized, well developed, erect and plump (not gross, but full and round.)” – An ad by a man in a magazine in late 1800s
Or you may side with this view by Spencer Tracy of Katharine Hepburn, when he said, “Not much meat on her, but what there is, is cherce!” [choice].
Lewis Bowling teaches at N.C. Central University and Duke University. He is the author of several books on fitness and sports. His website is He can be reached at 919-530-6224 and at