The Effects of Stress on Longevity

Look at this article on aging and longevity. It seems Edna Parker lived to the ripe old age of 115 years old. She became the oldest living person in the known world in 2008.

What I found interesting is the observation that the author placed near the end of the article:

‘[Dr. Tom] Perls said the secret to a long life is now believed to be a mix of genetics and environmental factors such as health habits. He said his research on about 1,500 centenarians hints at another factor that may protect people from illnesses such as heart attacks and stroke — they appear not to dwell on stressful events.

“They seem to manage their stress better than the rest of us,” he said.

Running Marathons Keeps You Young At Heart

When I ran my first marathon in Portland OR, John A. Kelley, also known as Kelley the Elder, spoke at the pasta dinner the night before the race. He had a twinkle in his eye and a kick in his step. He even did a little song and dance on stage to motivate us for our big race. In my mind, it was the nicest gesture a 65-year-old runner could do for his young protégés.

The man was 81 years old.

He ran the full Boston Marathon for four more years after I saw him at the Portland Marathon. He then ran the last 7 miles of Boston for two years after his “retirement from running”.

I don’t know if Edna Parker ever ran a race during her 115 years on this globe. However, she did work on a farm, a strenuous exercise program in itself.

In the book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie identified 30 tactics for controlling stress and worry. A number of these ideas identify rest and relaxation as methods for controlling stress and eliminating worry.

Unfortunately, he wrote his manuscript well before the medical community knew the physiological effects of diet and exercise on human longevity.

We may have to add a 31st strategy to include diet and exercise as methods for keeping stress and worry in check.

But you only have to use it if you want to be a supercentenarian like Edna Parker.