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Retirement Age Life Expectancy Can Be 90+   Just Follow These 11 Rules

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by Bernard Kelly*

It was an article on retirement age life expectancy by Deborah Kotz, published in U.S. News January 19, 2012 that caught my attention.  Kotz laid out her - and in my opinion sound - hypotheses as to the expectation of increasing longevity, and I have been following her since.  In fact, she is a consumer health reporter with over two decades of articles, and deserves her reputation.

Of course, women generally don't have a sudden retirement thrust upon them, but when men do, they often develop "negative health habits".  Typically it's men who must unlearn, then relearn.

Now while the key to ageing process can be related to two chemicals produced in the brain's hypothalamus (they're known as NF-kB and GnRH) I thought that I would share with you some of the key research findings that I've endorsed over the years.   You'll see that I have an interest in this topic:

An idyllic outlook - this couple is anticipating a retirement age life expectancy out towards 100.

Rule 1. Don’t Retire

From my research and work in the field for over 30 years, here are the most commonly reported rules to achieve a notable retirement age life expectancy.  Nobody planned for these extra years, and now we find ourselves in an extended middle age, with old age still some years away.

"Evidence shows that in societies where people stop working abruptly, the incidence of obesity and chronic disease skyrockets after retirement," says Luigi Ferrucci, director of the National Institute of Ageing.

Now all this is based on hard evidence, which then get reflected in those IRS life expectancy tables.

So when you are planning your retirement, consider relocating to an active retirement community or sign up for an active and responsible discipline, like the Experience Corps, a program that places senior volunteers in urban public elementary schools for about 15 hours a week.

Another option is to take whatever hobby you have an turn it into a "profitable hobby".

Many of the benefits revealed by the research are available from serious backyard gardening.  It's sometimes called “urban farming” when you add livestock - for example if you raise chickens for meat, or breed up guinea pigs for the table (in South America they call this livestock "cuy").  

Of course, in vegetarian societies (and 800 million Hindus in India can't be wrong) they get their protein from lentils, not meat, which might be easier for you.   But as you can eat the produce from your urban farm, it's an ideal complement to stretching your retirement income, so it's good to list it when you start to consider a lifestyle retirement planning checklist

That's Rule #1 to boost your retirement age life expectancy. 

Rule 2. Floss Every Day

Research has shown that those who have high amounts of bacteria in their mouth are more likely to have thickening in their arteries, another sign of heart disease, which will obviously adversely impact on your retirement age life expectancy.

"I really do think people should floss twice a day to get the biggest life expectancy benefits," says Thomas Perls, who studies centenarians at the Boston University School of Medicine.

Rule 3. Do regular exercise - both physical and mental

"When planning for senior retirement living, exercise is the only real fountain of youth that exists," says Jay Olshansky, a professor of medicine and ageing researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Don’t worry if you’re not a gym rat. Those who see the biggest payoffs are the ones who go from doing nothing to simply walking around the neighborhood or local mall for about 30 minutes a day.

Most seniors walk at the pace of 3 km/h but if you walk faster, you'll have a 1.23 times probability of living a few years longer (from a study published in the British Medical Journal in 2011).

And avoid any early onset of Alzheimer's. Learn a new language, do crosswords, memorize lists, take up a musical instrument.   They're all elements to boost your retirement age life expectancy.

And when planning for retirement, the Five Pillars for a long term retirement age life expectancy includes mental stimulation - for example crosswords, sudoku, or short story contests - as or as a by-product of having a make-money-fast-from-home micro business.

Rule 4. Eat Cereals for Breakfast

Here is another simple rule to boost your retirement life expectancy.

Having a serving of fiber-rich whole-grains, especially in the morning, appears to help older folks maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day, according to a recent study conducted by Ferrucci and his colleagues.

"Those who do this have a lower incidence of diabetes, a known accelerator of aging," he says.

Rule 5. Sleep Six Hours Each Night (Minimum)

"Sleep is one of the most important functions that our body uses to regulate and heal cells," says Ferrucci.

"We’ve calculated that the minimum amount of sleep that older people need to get those healing REM phases is about six hours."

Rule 6. Consume Whole Foods, Not Supplements

Strong evidence suggests that people who have high blood levels of certain nutrients—selenium, beta-carotene, vitamins C and E—age much better and have a slower rate of cognitive decline, but strangely these nutrients transfer best from actual food.

Rule 7. Be Less Neurotic

"We have a new study coming out that shows that centenarians tend not to internalize things or dwell on their troubles," says Perls. "They are great at rolling with the punches."

They have a history of being early adopters of new technologies, and were always open to a midlife career change.

Rule 8. Live Like a Seventh Day Adventist

Americans who define themselves as Seventh Day Adventists have an average life expectancy of 89, about a decade longer than the average American. Their lifestyle is reflected in the Five Pillars of Retirement Lifestyle Planning.     

Followers typically stick to a vegetarian diet based on fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts, and get plenty of exercise. They’re also very focused on family and community.

These are - obviously - all factors affecting your retirement age life expectancy.

And related to this approach, Kate Lindemann has published over the years many articles on ageless aging and longevity.  

Rule 9. Be a Creature of Habit

The simple life appears to add to your life expectancy after retirement.

Centenarians tend to live by strict routines, says Olshansky, eating the same kind of diet and doing the same kinds of activities their whole lives and keeping to a daily timetable.

Rule 10. Stay Connected

Follow the advice extracted from retirement planning tips and having regular
with friends and loved ones is key to avoiding depression, which can lead to premature death, something that’s particularly prevalent in elderly widows and widowers.

And a happy marriage is a life saver. Decades of research have shown that if you're happily married, you're far less prone to illness, hospitalisation or a violent death.

And of course, if you develop a "profitable hobby" you'll always have a peer group of friends with a similar interest.   Sitesell can help you with that.

Rule 11. Be Conscientious

The strongest personality predictor of a long life is conscientiousness—that is, being prudent, persistent, and well organised, according to The Longevity Project, co-authored by Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin who studied 1,500 children for eight decades.

Now a life expectancy calculator can be helpful, but you’ll have to do the hard yards if you want to exceed the years that it tells you’ve got left.

And in 2009, University College London reported that of 7,500 civil servants who were asked - in the late 80s - whether they had a boring job, those that reported having a boring job were 2.5 times more likely to have died of a heart problem.

So what now is going to be your retirement age life expectancy?

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*for biography on the author, click here


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