Friday, April 13, 2007
Chasing life has changed mine
By David Martin
Senior Producer

CNN Medical News

Talking to leading researchers on aging and reading up on their work for Dr. Sanjay Gupta's Special Investigations Unit special Chasing Life (Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET) has altered the way I eat, exercise and think about life in general.

You could say I've become an active participant in my health. With any luck, I'm healthier now and will gain a few extra healthy years at the end of my life as a result.

I understand as I never did before how the small decisions I make every day can affect how many vital years I have.

My lifestyles before and after "Chasing Life" are very different.

Before: I didn't think much about my diet.

After: I try to eat seven fruits and vegetables a day, preferably brightly colored ones rich in anti-oxidants. Fruits and vegetables are so much more effective than supplements or anything else we can eat at maintaining good health into old age.

Before: I ran a lot but didn't think much about lifting weights.

After: I try to mix it up a lot more. We lose a lot of muscle mass and bone density as we get older. Weightlifting helps on both fronts. Added strength later in life lowers the chance of a catastrophic fall in old age.

Before: I considered reading and writing as the way to brain health in my golden years.

After: I'm aware how the brain and body are connected. My diet, whether I exercise and how much stress I'm under all potentially affect how well my mind will function as I age.

Before: I didn't think much about the link between my outlook on life and my health.

After: I'm acutely aware how optimism, laughter and relaxation can all result in physiological changes that promote good health.

Before: I avoided tofu if at all possible.

After: I've tried to work tofu into my diet as a high-protein, low-fat, extremely healthy food. It's not so bad. Really.

Now, if I can only get the habit of flossing. That's been shown to add a year of life, on average.

Please let us know the ways you're chasing life.
My Mom always tells me eat right, keep moving and have a positive outlook and laugh often. Never give up. Words of advice, I live by daily.
I've been getting back into martial arts. Martial artist number among those Okinawan centenarians, and I find it a lot easier to stick with an activity that's engaging and requires active mental participation. Reaching a mental flow state makes it not feel like exercise, and my mind is connected better to every movement I make.
I started "Chasing Life" a couple of years ago. Dramatic lifestyle changes are definitely up there- I moved across the country, went back to college, quit smoking, and started a better exercise regime. My favorite all time class is the one I took on Nutrition. I ended up thinking that everyone should take that class! The information available on the internet is confusing, conflicting, and most people couldn't interpret it anyway. Having a Registered Dietician explain it to you is fantastic!

You couldn't pay me to eat tofu. NO THANKS. Someone offered me a tofurkey sandwich and I stared at them like they'd grown a second head. However, I eat huge piles of broccoli and cauliflower now (cruciferous veggies are great in that fight against cancer) and V-8 is my friend.

Flossing.... yes, I missed that one too. I did take the "100 test" and it tells me I'll live to be 96. That is, of course, pending on whether or not I get hit by lighting or something.
I have become more disciplined about what I choose to eat. I am very concerned about where my food comes from, how fresh is it? Was it treated with alot of chemicals? I try to buy local when I can, do as much organic as possible and I do not eat red meat and only organic chicken and unfarmed fish when I do consume meat(which is very rarely at this point). Fast food is not even food in my opinion.

I have done significant research on the meat and milk production in this country. It is horrifying how animals are raised in "factory farms" and the chemicals that are pumped into them.
I cannot eat something that has suffered so much. I feel as though that animal's pain becomes a part of me.

We really are what we eat and I choose to eat cleaner and more humanely. I feel better and my choices make me feel more positive. I have lost weight and I have not been ill, nor have had a cold in many, many years.
The book "Diet for a New America" is a must read for anyone concerned about their diet.
Well, I'm a teenager about to go to college. I'm about to adjust my lifestyle. My mother always says that it's the habits that I develop now that will stay with me until the end of my life.
Luckily, my dorm's going to be near a gym. As of late I've been trying to eat three meals a day (also because of the emphasis you've put on it in your podcasts).
It's kind of like what I've been learning from studying with Chinmaya Mission AA, by keeping my food intake healthy, by keeping positive thoughts and by treating my body well, life will be a lot richer even at such a basic level.

I just bought your book and I can't wait to have you sign it in Birmingham. It'd be great if you could stop by a Novi location as well.
About chasing life. This story that is posted on CNN's website "Statin drugs lower respiratory death risk". Could statins help people who have autoimmune disorders (i.e., Lupus, RA)? Someone please research and answer this for us who have incurable, life threatening autoimmune disorders. We need all the help we can get.
Regarding stress:
There is a whole world of Nationally Certified Massage Therapists out there waiting to help those experiencing stress. Check the statistics for the results of massage on stress...
J. Meehl
Nationally Certified Massage Therapist
Livonia, Michigan
Dr Gupta
I was very disapointed with your very brief article on supplements this morning. Besides having to endure advertisements for GNC & other prior to the article, one persons view (the Dr who consumes over 40 different supplements daily) was not representative of the average Joe. In addition there was no opposite view apart from a brief 'throwaway' comment from the Government. There are millions of people who rely on CNN to present a fair and unbiased report on such topics as health supplements and to spend approximately 4 minutes with no substantive facts was a diservice to those viewers. I would expect more of you. Thank you
Yes, I am "Chasing Life." I am the cook in the family, so I have been serving more fruits and vegetables everday, and basically cut out all red meat.

My partner and I excercise everyday.(Walk on the treadmill, lift weights, and moutain bike). Oh, and don't smoke - and try and stay away from second hand smoke.

It takes some courage and will to get started, but it is worth it. Why not shoot for 100? And healthy at that?

We took the test, and the tests, and will read Dr. Gupta's book - all these things trigger a goal for a healthier life style.

It feels good to know you're trying at least to help yourself live healthy. And maybe, just maybe - we'll get to the point where we are not "chasing life", but life is chasing us!
Please tell Sanjay that Moore's Law is not as he quoted on Larry King. Moore's Law - an observation made in 1965 - states that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit for minimum component cost doubles every 24 months. It has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of science we know doubling every two years.
Re: HGH. My husband suffered with agromegly (pituitary tumor increasing HGH) in his 40's. Result? He grew in undesirable stopped release of excess HGH but the damage done included enlarged internal organs.....he died at 61 from complications of an enlarged heart. Suggest that those seeking this method of "youth" learn of the disadvantages.
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends -- info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
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