A New Look at Health and Longevity

If you want to live a long life, choose your grandparents wisely. Not bad advice if you are interested in the secrets to long and healthy life. More advice is on the way!

A new book, The Longevity Project, provides surprising results from a classic, eight-decade study of the lives of 1,500 American children begun at Stanford University in 1921. Its one of the only studies following a group of individuals through their lives.

The authors, psychologists Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin, devoted their last 20 years to studying key psychological factors, habits and patterns of the lives of these individuals, seeking explanations on who lives the longest and why they do so. Some of the findings may be helpful to professionals in the retirement housing industry.

Many of their discoveries of the relationship to health and long life turned out to be counterintuitive to existing knowledge about longer lives.Among the myths about longevity, the researchers found:

  • Worrying isn't always bad for your health,
  • Its not always true that married people live a longer and happier life,
  • Happiness doesn't necessarily play a crucial role in longevity,
  • Early death of a parent has no measurable effect on children's life spans,
  • Cheerful children turned out to live shorter lives than their more somber classmates.

Surprisingly, the strongest predictor of early death in the adulthood of those studies was parental divorce in childhood.

The authors concluded that the quality of conscientiousness the complex pattern of prudence and hard work, as well as close involvement with friends and communities produces a well-organized person. Persistence and the ability to navigate lifes challenges were better predictors of longer life. Those who fared best in longevity tended to have a reasonable high level of physical activity, a penchant for giving back to the community, a successful and long-running career and a healthy marriage and family life.

The book may be a good read for those designing activities for retirees, as well as providing associates with better understanding of retirement-age adults.

If youd like to learn more about your own longevity, you could take The Longevity Test, developed by the co-founders of the American Academy of Anti-Aging. It's available at The Longevity Test.