It might sounds odd, but a preplanned death at 75 may be a wise decision. Ezekiel J. Emanuel has made a conscious decision to have his life come to a close when he reaches 75 (or at least that’s what he hopes) for a multitude of reasons. He notices that the quality of life deteriorates faster after that age and that perhaps it’s best to leave this earth before a health crisis cause him to be unable to participate actively in life. Why is this good?
Reflecting on one’s existence is always a good thing, thinking about how our life decisions impact others is always a good thing, and looking at historical trends is good too. Emanuel has clearly put a lot of thought into this and wants all of us to consider the impact of living has on our own mental health, those around us, and the health of the planet.
What are those reasons? Let’s begin with demography. We are growing old, and our older years are not of high quality. Since the mid-19th century, Americans have been living longer. In 1900, the life expectancy of an average American at birth was approximately 47 years. By 1930, it was 59.7; by 1960, 69.7; by 1990, 75.4. Today, a newborn can expect to live about 79 years. (On average, women live longer than men. In the United States, the gap is about five years. According to the National Vital Statistics Report, life expectancy for American males born in 2011 is 76.3, and for females it is 81.1.)
In the early part of the 20th century, life expectancy increased as vaccines, antibiotics, and better medical care saved more children from premature death and effectively treated infections. Once cured, people who had been sick largely returned to their normal, healthy lives without residual disabilities. Since 1960, however, increases in longevity have been achieved mainly by extending the lives of people over 60. Rather than saving more young people, we are stretching out old age.
Here are things that have proven time and time again:
Bicycles are a great way to get around.
Exercise helps your health.
Bicycles are a good source of exercise.
Exercise can make you happier.
Bicycles are a sustainable transportation solution.
Exercise reduces mental strain.
Bicycles + exercise can slow the aging process:
Scientists who analysed the physiological functions of more than 120 regular cyclists aged between 55 and 79 failed to find any of the obvious signs of ageing that they would normally observe among people of the same age.
The volunteers – 84 men and 41 women – had to be able to cycle 100 km (62 miles) in six and half hours for men and 60km in less than 5.5 hours for women. Smokers, heavy drinkers and those with high blood pressure and other health conditions were automatically excluded.
Seniors who lead active lives like playing cards and generally hanging out with friends feel healthier and are healthier than there less social peers. Friends make things fun and keep you fit!
Dr. Nicole Anderson is a clinical neuropsychologist at Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto, where she’s leading a research project called BRAVO. It looks at the effects of volunteering among adults aged 55 and older from physical, cognitive and social functioning perspectives.
“Engaging in more social activities was related to better self-reported health and less loneliness and more life satisfaction,” Anderson said of the Statistics Canada research. “But that relationship really depended on whether they felt that those social relations were of high quality. That substantiates the claim that quality is more important than quantity.”
It’s thought that social connectedness helps the immune system to work better, lower stress hormone levels and offers psychological benefits, Anderson said.
If you thought that just because you’re old doesn’t mean you can’t learn. Apparently some people have the idea that age limits learning ability. New research has started to counter that myth, here’s a study that shows that people in their early 30s tend to have optimal facial recognition skills.
That conclusion is dramatically different from what researchers previously thought – that this ability peaked in adolescence, said Laura Germine, a graduate student in psychology at Harvard who specializes in this disorder.
In a study published in the online version of Cognition, Germine, Ken Nakayama, a psychology professor at Harvard, and Bradley Duchaine, a psychology professor at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, detailed their results from a series of online experiments with about 60,000 participants.
They asked participants to take a series of tests involving face recognition of six young men. In another series of tests, they were also asked to learn and then recognize a series of women’s and children’s faces.
“People in their early 30s are best at this task,” said Germine in a phone interview with the Star. “Someone at age 16 and age 65 do about the same. Their face-recognition abilities are similar.”