Friday, April 13, 2007
Chasing life has changed mine
By David Martin
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.
ABOUT THE BLOGGet 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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