After a busy work period, I spent this past weekend in Los Angeles. It was heaven! Don’t I look relaxed in these pictures?! I couldn’t have asked for a better time: amazing weather, wine and food, plus the company could not be beat (my high school girlfriends / bridesmaids). I will save LA for another post because today I want to talk about longevity.
Not that I care to live a very long life. I always say, I could die tomorrow and feel satisfied as I’ve lived a rich, experience-filled life. But I came across this fascinating clip on NPR: In One Italian Village, Nearly 300 Residents Are Over 100 Years Old. It’s a quick two-and-a-half minute listen, but the main points are these:
- The population is not trying to be healthy. They are not active. You don’t see them swimming or hiking. God forbid, you don’t see them doing yoga or SoulCycle!
- Many of them are overweight or smokers.
- Their longevity must be a combination of good genes and diet.
- They eat anchovies with every meal.
- They cook with rosemary.
- They drink wine.
- They lounge around a lot.
SIGN ME UP!
This topic is particularly interesting to me because, during this current phase of my life (especially as a working mother), I do not exercise at all. I don’t have time for it. I would rather sleep.
But what’s mind-blowing for me is that I used to live the active life and I believe I was worse off! I used to run every day and train for races (including marathons) and during that phase of my life, I was 15 pounds heavier. How is that possible? Couldn’t have been muscle. I reason that my body became accustomed to working out. The more I worked out, the more I had to work out to maintain. So if I ate a burger one day (which I do often) and I wasn’t able to work out, then I gained weight, because my body needed me to process that burger by doing my normal one hour run. It became exhausting.
Fast forward. I stopped being active, ate when I was hungry, and the pounds dropped. I know that weight loss should not be considered the only factor of good health, I’m only using it as a measure of what happened to me when I stopped being active.
So if exercise works for you and improves your mental and physical well-being, go for it. But if your preferred style is couch potato-ness, then you just might live a very long life.