Build back better? … sure, improving infrastructure sounds pretty good to most of us, yes?

But I’m not here to talk about government and public infrastructure… roads, bridges, transit systems…

This morning, I’m going to hit you with your personal infrastructure… your muscles, your mind, your circulation.

When we’re young’ish, many (I wish more) of us begin to anticipate what life will look like when we finally reach the “R” (retirement) stage of life.

Those who are forward thinking (all of YOU, I am certain), plan for a financial future that allows them to live a comfortable existence well into their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and on and on for those with very optimistic views. I’ve already harped at you quite a bit about this in earlier posts… I’m a Numbers’ Guy.

And so while your money situation may -hopefully – be secure and impressive, how many of us think about our physical infrastructure well into the future… how will this duo – our body and brain – hold up over time?

After all, the state of this mortal anatomy we occupy for our lives is a strong indicator of our length of life (lifespan) and more importantly, our quality of life (healthspan).

I don’t want to lecture you here *of course you do Larry*, but I hope you’ll at least consider and mull over some of what I’m proposing, to think if this is important to you.

Today I want to refer back to something I’ve alluded to in past posts… something called the CENTENARIAN OLYMPICS.

It’s a term coined by Dr. Peter Attia, a Canadian-born physician and surgeon who practices in Texas these days. He is a proponent – you might say messiah – of longer lifespans and healthspans for us all.

Attia urges us all to look ahead not only 5 or 10 years… but 30, 40, or more years… look out to 100 years of age… and enact the things we need to do today to assist us in having optimal health, decades into the future.

Sounds pretty much like a retirement savings plan if you ask me, but with our health substituting for money.

We often hear the aphorism that the most important thing we can have is our health… money is fabulous (I love money!), but without a feeling of robust wellbeing, how much enjoyment is there to be found in money, other than the cash to purchase the drugs that dull our pains, the meds to lower our blood pressure, lipids and sugar levels (which are all very important things for sure)?

Attia is a physician/scientist who takes deep dives into those things we should be doing right now that will have the best likelihood of carrying us in an upright physical and mental state to our distant futures.

Why wait until our systems begin breaking down before taking positive action? Isn’t an ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure? Who can argue with this?

This is where the whole idea of Centenarian Olympics unfolds.

The term doesn’t truly mean a superhuman existence with medals and acclaim at age 100…

Nope, the Centenarian Olympics are a totally personal quest to acquire and maintain a level of physical and mental health that allows us the independence and health that an older person would want at the age of 100.

It generally won’t happen for most of us by accident, just as we usually won’t retire with a ton of money by accident. Think ahead… Plan plan plan!

Of course, reaching 100 is not only a physical journey, but a cognitive and emotional one as well, so it needs adequate functioning in these areas:

**Cognitive — executive function, processing speed, and memory
**Physical — stability, flexibility, mobility, strength, balance, muscle mass, aerobic efficiency, anaerobic peak, functional movement and freedom from pain.
**Emotional — mindfulness, social support, sense of purpose, fulfillment, and distress tolerance.

Today, I’m only touching on the physical side of longevity, and even here, it’s a mere scratch-of-the-surface look. I’ll return another day to talk about Cognitive and Emotional health.

I won’t go into great detail about the physical and activity items that will increase our chances of “healthspan” success… but I will share a few examples of those things Peter Attia suggests so that you are able at 100 to:

    1. Climb out of a pool unaided.
    2. Get up off the floor unaided.
    3. Lift young kids/grandkids off the ground.
    4. Carry groceries up and down flights of stairs.
    5. Help fellow passengers lift their carry-ons into an overhead bin.

Here goes: some things to do today so that you increase your chances of being able to do those things above at 100 (all of these exercises are easily found via Mr. GOOGLE!):

  • Strength training such as 30lb. goblet squats, deadlifts, single-arm lifts.
  • Core strength exercises – yoga, planks, pilates, glute bridges.
  • Low-intensity rowing
  • Low-intensity running
  • Low-intensity cycling

Bottom line: The message I’m urging you to absorb today is to think about your future health the way you would think about your financial retirement.

Recognize that your level of functioning will inevitably dwindle (unless/until research finds a way to halt this too), but the steps you take now – today – will slow this decline, assisting you to enjoy your life more while in reasonable health for many years to come.

Think decades, not months or years.

  • OK, it’s summer, enjoy a jump in the lake, lecture is over (for this post!), so I’ll leave you with a discussion (below) where Attia mulls over his thinking on attaining 100 years of age in reasonable condition: