For my family, 2023 started with a serious wake-up call: my husband’s 53-year-old brother had a heart attack.
Yes, heart disease runs in their family. But so does longevity — their grandpa lived to 100, and other family members made it well into their 90s.
Genetic factors can go either way. Lucky for us, exponential advances in medical technology already predispose our generation to be the first to live much longer. However, as we often discuss, it’s not about lifespan — it’s all about healthspan.
To optimize your biology, you’ve got a choice: lifestyle. It’s the magic switch you can flip to change your medical destiny.
The Gene Genie
When you see a doctor, you’re asked about two things: family history and current behaviors. That’s because, as Michael Roizen, M.D., author of The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow, points out, genetics and lifestyle choices go hand-in-hand. Having one in your favor doesn’t necessarily neutralize the other.
Instead, you need both to self-engineer better health over time.
Each healthy act switches on youth-promoting genes and switches off genes that cause you to age… Good choices (and the proteins that are developed because of them) beget more good proteins, and the activation of bad genes begets more bad and destructive genes being turned on.
If you need stats to hammer that point home, the CDC says nearly half of premature deaths in the US are preventable by lifestyle choices, and about 75% of health outcomes from age 60+ are determined by how well you take care of yourself.
With the anti-aging revolution gathering steam (hello, senescent cell elimination), you’ve got to be ready to take advantage of new opportunities in healthy aging.
Rock Your Reboots
According to Dr. Roizen, there are six key indicators for longevity:
- Blood pressure less than 120/80
- BMI of 27 or less or waist-to-height ratio of 0.40 – 0.55
- LDL cholesterol less than 70 mg/dL
- Fasting blood sugar less than 106 mg/dL
- Cotinine-free urine (indicates no tobacco use)
- Stress management program completion
Those who will be well enough to take advantage of the upcoming medical “reboots” make commitments to maintaining those “normal” measurements. These include:
- Using technology (tracking)
- Investing in staying healthy
- Doing the little things proactively to take care of your body
- Joining an “ecosystem” for accountability and support (or, as we call it at Well + Wealthy, a community for midlife reinvention)
The good news is my brother-in-law got the full benefit of the current miraculous technology (four stents), with no lasting heart damage. But if he (and you) want to maximize your reboot capacity in the future, better defrag your system today by not smoking and improving your fitness, nutrition, sleep, and stress management.
Want to live longer? Influence your genes. (National Geographic)