The past couple months I've been mentally collecting impressive feats performed by late 80 and 90 year olds.
Included in this list:
- Charlie Munger at age 99 joking that the key to his longevity is eating Peanut Brittle. (Funny enough it's from See's Candy, which he's an owner of).
- 87 year old doing 10 pull ups with good form!
- Ed Thorpe at 89 year old casually talking on a podcast with Tim Ferris. Thorpe pioneered beating the house in Black Jack and prolific hedge fund investor.
See Charlie Munger joking and the man performing 10 pull-ups. It's
The fact that there are people out there in old age with their wits and control over their body breaks up my belief that past age 70 isn't a death sentence. Who said being bid-ridden was a requirement?
My dad has vascular dementia, which is dementia caused from a stroke blocking oxygen flow to his brain. My mom's been having memory and cognitive challenges the past year, some kind of dementia. The highest predictor of chronic disease is if it's related in your family history. So loss of my cognitive function is very much a possible outcome if I don't act now.
Peter Attia says there are people out there that live long and healthy lives (life span & health span) with inputs like smoking or eating junk food regularly that leads to outlier cases. That doesn't mean he'd advise people to imitate the same behavior. Some people just win the lottery of not getting certain cell mutations as they age that compound and lead to chronic disease and death. Genetics + a whole ton of luck.
Over the past several months I've been reading Dr. Peter Attia's Book, Outlive, where he talks about training for the Centenarian Olympics. Meaning, what are the daily obstacles at age 100 he would want to be able to do.
- Lifting up a a grandchild in old age.
- Walking up 3 flights of stairs with 10 lbs of groceries in each hand.
For the first one, for me, if I wanted to lift my grandchild at age 70. I googled average weight of a 4 year old was 40 lbs. Based on an average 8% decrease in strength each decade, that would mean I'd need to be able to lift 86 lbs for a 1 Rep Max in the military press (This seems low so I'm sure I prompted Chat GPT wrong).
All that is to say, reverse-engineering my 70, 80, and 90 year old-outcome is possible. Mapping it back what I would need to do today.
If I want my wits at me and to be able to read, write, converse than that means I need to avoid neurodegenerative disease like my mom and dad. My mom's in her mid 60's and my dad got his multiple stroke in his 70's.
They key to living long and well is in what to avoid. And that's chronic disease.
Dr. Attia's prescription can't be catered at the individual level but at the best bang for your buck, the first major pillar is Training:
Training (He calls Exercise)
- Increasing VO2Max. How much oxygen you can utilize (through Zone 2, low-intensity cardio, and Zone 5, high-intensity cardio)
- Building strength.
There's no other single metric in biochemistry Attia states that reduces all-cause-mortality than VO2Max.
The other 4 pillars include Nutrition, Stability, Exogenous Molecules (aka drugs), Emotional Health.
For now I've been serious about training, I'm looking forward to seeing how many pushups I can do and how much Peanut Brittle I'll need to eat to get there (that's a joke. If my jokes are this bad in my early 30's I have no hope by age 99 haha).