Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How To Live Longer

This would probably be my first non-investment related post. Well, it’s sort of related bcos in order to reap the full benefits of value investing, time is a terribly important component. So by living longer, your investments can compound for an extended period of time and you get richer! Remember Warren Buffett only got famous around 1980s when he was already 60 plus. Then finally attend icon status after the dot com bubble burst, when he was closer to 80 years old!

Btw, much of what’s below is lifted out from some CLSA report. Much as I dislike having non-original content, this list is too good not to be shared around.

Anyways, here is real deal:

A researcher called Dan Buettner spent a lifetime studying people living in what he called Blue Zones where the population life expectancies are much higher than average. Here are the things that he found out:

1. Exposure to sunlight: his studies showed that people living in places with a lot of sun tend to live longer, like Hawaii, Okinawa, Mauritius whereas people in Norway, Siberia are not so lucky.

2. A little alcohol every day. But not too much. I think this is quite well-known.

3. Big breakfast. Not too sure why is it so impt, but I guess all those diet programs emphasizing less food during dinner do ring a bell here.

4. Eat more vegetables. Not exactly zero meat, but more vege definitely do our bodies more good than bad.

5. Eat a lot of tofu. This is the only food that can slow aging somewhat. There are 99 processes that age human beings and no one pill, food or treatment can reverse all of these processes. Tofu comes up top though.

6. Have a social circle. With a group of close friends or relatives looking for one another definitely helps to improve life expectancy I guess. And this is not about your 501 Facebook friends, but real buddies and kakis that you really like to hang out with forever.

7. Choose your friends well too. No point if your best friends are thugs or serial-killers I guess. Even obese friends are not so good.

8. Get married. Married people significantly outlive singles. But not sure about those who are married multiple times though.

9. Sleep 7 hours a night. Not too much though. 10 hours apparently doesn’t help. But 4 hours is the other extreme. Napoleon died at 52.

10. Have a purpose in life. Retiring is not a good idea, statistically the year you retire is one out of the two years in life that people are most likely to die. The other being the year you are born!

11. Be optimistic.

What not to do:

1. Exercise too vigorously – like going for marathon every week. Moving naturally is good enough.

2. Smoking – Takes 8-10 years of life away.

3. Diet programs – doesn’t work. What is needed are long term changes to eating habits, eat more veges and less in total.

I always believed in the Grand Theory of Balance. Basically, do everything in moderation. For each of these points, you cannot overdo or underdo. Like alcohol, sleep etc. So to live longer is then really about living life in moderation.

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