Living to 100 may not be a pipe dream anymore. Three medical experts share their best advice.
It may feel like making healthy choices and living a long life and is harder than ever. But nearly one-and-a-half times as many Americans lived to be 100 years old in 2014, compared with 2000, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to light all those candles on your 100th birthday too?
Three doctors from Keck Medicine of USC offer these tips on how to live longer and better.
1. Don’t put up with pain.
“What I always say to patients is that when disability reaches a point where the hip [pain] is dominating your life, then it’s time to consider total hip replacement,” said Jay R. Lieberman, MD, professor and chair of the USC Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and joint replacement expert. Dr. Lieberman’s patients often feel like they have a new lease on life after undergoing a hip or knee replacement; the lack of pain makes daily activity much easier and exercise possible. Got a bucket list of things you’d like to do, like dance at your daughter’s (or granddaughter’s) wedding or take a dream trip to hike Machu Picchu? With today’s hip-replacement technology, it’s possible to achieve these goals.
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2. Play tennis or take a group exercise class.
Giselle M. Petzinger, MD, assistant professor of neurology in the USC Department of Neurology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, is studying the effects that skill-based exercise and socialization have on mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and executive function (EF). She hypothesizes that activities involving balance, eye-hand coordination, leg-arm coordination, reaction time to moving objects/persons and dynamic gait (such as playing tennis) combined with a minimum of three hours spent with friends or family a week will help improve EF and may even reverse MCI. At the very least, there’s little downside to a friendly tennis match two or three times a week.
3. Fast occasionally.
If you’re otherwise healthy, twice yearly fasting for a day or so may be beneficial. Tanya Dorff, MD, assistant professor of clinical medicine in the Department of Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine and researcher in the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center at Keck Medicine of USC, co-authored a study on the benefits of fasting for patients undergoing chemotherapy. “While chemotherapy saves lives, it causes significant collateral damage to the immune system,” she said. “The results of this study suggest that fasting may mitigate some of the harmful effects of chemotherapy.” The findings suggest fasting triggers stem cell rejuvenation.
4. Enjoy more meatless meals.
Need another reason to order that green salad for lunch? Valter Longo, professor of biogerontology at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and director of the USC Longevity Institute, found that in middle age, eating a diet with too much protein, particularly from meat and cheese, ups your risk of dying from cancer by 4 percent and also increases your risk of dying from complications of diabetes.
If you are in the Los Angeles area and are looking for exceptional care from some of the top physicians in the world, be sure to schedule an appointment by calling (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273) or visit http://keckmedicine.org/request-an-appointment/.