Book : The Long Life Equation by Dr Trisha Macnair

This is a very interesting book on one hundred factors that can add or subtract years from our life. It is fun to read besides containing health advice.

Two main questions Dr Macnair, a hospital doctor, explores are:

  • Why do people age  in different ways and at different rates?
  • Is there anything we can do to make sure that we lead an active life, stave off illness and enjoy more years than our ancestors could ever have imagined?

This book is filled with information based on recent international medical evidence and published research that spells out the risks and benefits of many factors known to influence health and longevity. The results are scrutinised and then an estimated number of years that it might add to or remove from an individual’s lifespan is given.

The contents are divided into five parrts. Here are some examples:

I. Mental Well-being :

  • Thinking old               – 5 Years
  • Happiness                    + 9 years
  • Optimism                      + 8 years
  • Low self-esteem         – 4 years
  • Stress                              – 2 years
  • Exercise                         + 2 years
  • Laughter                         + 1 year
  • Depression                     – 5 years
  • Meditation                     + 3 years
  • Active mind                   + 4 years

II. Physical Well-being :

  • Long living parents            + 10 years
  • Bad genes                                – 10 years
  • Obesity                                     – 3 years
  • Being underweight              – 1 year
  • Vitamins                                 + 3 years
  • Antioxidants                        + 2 years
  • Fast food                                – 4 years
  • Fibre                                        + 1 year
  • Minerals                                 + 3 years
  • Omega -3s                              + 5 years
  • Bad posture                           – 2 years
  • Stretching                              + 1 year
  • Getting action                       + 4 years
  • Good balance                         + 3 years
  • Couch potato                          – 8 years
  • Not getting enough sleep   – 5 years
  • Napping during the day     + 1 year
  • Good dental hygiene           + 6 years
  • Being informed                      + 2 years

III. Environment :

  • Place of birth                                  + 10 years
  • Heavily industrialised zones     – 2 years
  • Free-radical damage                     – 4 years
  • Sunshine                                            + 2 years
  • Reduce chemical use                    + 2 years
  • Noise pollution                                – 1 year
  • Comfortable climate                     + 3 years
  • Washing your hands                      + 2 years
  • Workplace hazards                        – 4 years

IV. Coping with Disease:

  • Vaccination                            + 2 years
  • Regular screening                + 4 years
  • Heart disease                          – 7 years
  • Cancer                                       – 3 years
  • Diabetes                                   – 5 years
  • High blood pressure            – 5 years
  • Arthritis                                    – 1 year
  • Osteoporosis                           – 3 years
  • Dementia                                   – 5 years

V. Choices and Risks :

  • Smoking                                  – 8 years
  • Recreational drugs             – 4 years
  • Red wine                                  + 3 years
  • Binge drinking                       – 3 years
  • Adventure travel                  – 2 years
  • Crazy careers                          – 3 years
  • Extreme sports                      – 5 years
  • Road safety                             + 3 years

There are explanations for each of these (and more) factors, comments and advice on how to balance the life equation. This book is inspiring for anyone who wants to enjoy life and reminds us that it is important to look beyond the quick rewards and invest in a way of life that slowly brings longer-term benefits. It also encourages readers to “play detective in the library” as it has an underrated wealth of health information.

 

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