... seeking simple answers to complex problems, and in the process, disrupting the status quo in technology, art and neuroscience.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Defy Aging - Keep Moving and Stay Hungry

First posted on 01-29-12:

60 is the new 40. 50 is the new 30. I've even seen a proclamation that 80 is the new 30!

Such declarations about this new "age" can be seen everywhere. Are they simply age denial? Do baby-boomers refuse to grow old? And is this denial just a way to lie about our age? Will lying to ourselves help us live longer? Maybe.

There's been lots of interesting research about the placebo effect in all its forms. What's interesting is, placebos seem to work even when the patient KNOWS it's a placebo. And how is lying about your age different from giving yourselves a placebo?

Unfortunately, the placebo effect will not solve everything. There are still some hard facts in this new age of aging. Since the Kellogg brothers made health a popular topic at the beginning of the last century, thousands of treatments have been tried in an attempt to stay younger. Most have been proven to be worthless, but a few obviously make a difference:

"Today, the average age for someone moving into a nursing home is 81. In the 1950's, it was 65."

"People are living 34 years longer than their great-grandfathers."

"The number of people in the world over 100 years old is now approaching half a million."

The internet is full of such dramatic results, so how does one gain the benefit?  A few simple things make most of the difference.

Avoiding tobacco and limiting solar exposure is good for the skin.  The guy to the left was a life-long truck driver.  He's obviously not British. Tobacco has a similar effect but to all of your skin.

Appearance aside, the most important factors in staying young are still diet and exercise, so keep moving and stay hungry.

Keep Moving

Whether you are overweight, have chronic pain, arthritis, dementia, depression, diabetes, anxiety or fatigue there is one piece of advice that will improve your quality and length of life - "Keep Moving". What's surprising is how this advice not only affects the physical but also your mental health.

ANY physical activity that keeps you moving for at least 30 minutes a day, EVERY day will make a huge difference. That "every day" is the hard part. Success starts with finding something you enjoy. It can be yoga, swimming or walking.  Start slowly and work your way up. Even if it takes a year to do 2 miles a day, after that you've gained 80% of the benefit of exercising in general. The second, fifth and seventeenth years are much easier.  The best exercise is the one that you DO, so it's probably the one you enjoy most.  Find your favorite way to move.

Here is the best summary I've found on the topic, graphically presented.  If you do nothing else about your health this year, at least spend nine minutes watching this video.  It may add years to your life:

23 and 1/2 Hours : What is the Single Best Thing You Can Do For Your Health?

“You don’t deteriorate from age, you age from deterioration.” - Joe Weider 

Stay Hungry

The meaning is obvious. The trick is to not stay TOO hungry. Just like the exercise part, if you take it to the point of pain you're more likely to return to your old lifestyle. If on the other hand, if you eat only what you need, you not only stay lean and healthy, you'll enjoy life more.

Have you noticed how much better food taste when you're hungry? Well, at least the first few hundred calories, which is an important hint. When the meal becomes less compelling, stop eating. If you eat just 100 calories less than you burn each day, you'll lose 12 pounds a year - that's hard science, and it's major progress.  The trick is finding how many calories you really NEED - it's probably a lot less than you think. That's because we're used to eating about twice as much as we require.  Fortunately, our body is smart enough to allow most of those extra calories to go down the toilet, but this makes it hard to judge that "just enough" point.

Start by quantifying your calorie consumption, then slowly limiting your intake until you find that edge between hunger and healthy. Then limit just a little more, and take your time losing the extra pounds.

"Staying hungry" will also improve the quality of experience for your other appetites. From sex to alcohol, less can be much more if you hone your appetite with a bit of moderation. Find the "sweet spot" and stay hungry in all respects.

If it's that simple, why is everyone not healthy? It's obvious not everyone is gaining these extra years. Not surprisingly, access to excess and electric grocery carts are the reasons. The majority of people today are actually shortening their lives with calories and the couch. Many are now dying YOUNGER than they would have a hundred years ago because of their default lifestyle. And more will follow them into the grave shortly.  Just look around.

Our society has become bifurcated where most people (of all ages) default into less activity and consume more calories, and a minority eat less and lead more active lives. What is truly amazing, is that this minority is STILL able to skew the average increase in lifespan while the bulk of America is doing the opposite. So a healthy lifestyle may extend one's life even more than the averages indicate. If you live well, your chronological age may not matter as much as you think.

Misrepresenting your age may be a lie, but it's a lie worth living.

"Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears." - John Lennon

Even more data:

04-17-13 Here is a demonstrative meta-study of the effects of 50 calorie reduction per day for an entire country! Now if we could just learn to do that as individuals:

The Cuban diet: eat less, exercise more - and preventable deaths are halved

06-10-13 Cause or effect?

Fast walkers stay ahead of the game

01-15-15 More data:

04-21-15 Or is an hour a day the sweet spot?

The Right Dose of Exercise for a Longer Life

01-20-16 Here's an interesting idea that fits in with the work I've been doing on neuroscience and behavior:

The Hunger Mood

04-09-17 Interesting meta-collection:

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Introducing Mud Bluff, Nevada

Many of you know I've been involved with the Burning Man Project for years as a Regional Contact. During that time I've helped to organize PermaBurn, Stone Soup and Buring Girl as well as many other Burner events and projects. I've also hosted various events and theme camps at my home in south Reno. What you may not know is that I've been seeking a larger and more remote location to host a permanent regional campout as well as continue this type of participation. 

Over the last three years, I've reviewed hundreds of property listings and hiked the more interesting ground. On December 4th I went out to the Lahontan dam for yet another site visit.

This was my first impression as I drove onto the property, inspiring the title for this blog post. By the end of January 2017, I had purchased both this and the adjoining parcel.

Lahonton dam and reservoir to the west of the first 77 acre purchase in December of 2016.

An additional 39 acres with power and a well were purchased in January 2017, for a total of 116 acres.

As you can see, the Carson river crosses the property for about a thousand feet with about four acres actually on the north side of the river. The 26 acres of river bottom contain an oxbow from an earlier flow of the river containing about lots old cottonwood trees. Another 50 acres is sloping, alluvial bluff, with about 40 acres of flat desert on top, providing panoramic views in all directions.

The river facing west showing the low flow in December.

Beavers are under that log and made that small "dam" to the right. This is framed by the north 4 acres of the property across the river.

Lots of reeds and birds.

The bluff on the second parcel of land.

Dead cottonwood. Some are more than a hundred years old.

The 26 acres of bottom land from the top of the bluff

View to the west

View to the North

View to the East

The 50 acres of sloping ground is in the middle. Yes, it's quite bleak in winter, but that creates a contrast with the river-bottom cottonwoods in May. Stand by for updated pictures.

That's the well-test being done - good water, and lots of it. Also, that pole brings power to the center of the property with transformers both below, and on top of the bluff.

What am I going to do with this property?

That's my newest challenge, but it will probably include a place to live, and space to continue hosting Burner events and art development. Email me if you'd like to be involved with this project.