You’re listening to the live happier longer podcast, episode 62.
Welcome to the live happier longer podcast. This podcast is equal parts, information, inspiration, education and motivation, all dedicated to increasing longevity and improving happiness along the way. I’m your host Molly Watts and I’m here to help you overcome the habits that don’t serve you and create the ones that will. Let’s get started.
Well, hello. Welcome to episode 62 and my first solo episode for the live happier longer podcast. If you’ve been listening for a while or before you know that this podcast was previously co-hosted by myself and my good friend Ms Angela McDade. Angela is taking some time off to focus on her family during her youngest son’s senior year. And of course we wish her nothing but the very best. While this timing was unexpected and I actually took a week off because I had a cold, you can still can hear my voice, it really coincided kind of nicely with my father’s 92nd birthday on the 18th and I thought it was completely appropriate that this first episode will be dropping in the first week of his 93rd year. I have to tell you that I visited him yesterday and probably because my day to day job now involves older adults, other seniors in a continuing care retirement community.
I really realized just how amazing he is. And as I was leaving he chuckled telling me about his golf game this week where he beat all his friends shooting a 42 that’s right. A 42 on nine holes and his consummate not too bad for 92 makes me so grateful. Happy and proud. And what I loved is his 88 year old wife commenting, well you know, he works at it, WE work at it and I replied with a smile, Yes I know you do. For the live happier longer 2.0 podcast debut. I’m calling it 2.0 even though I should be calling it 1.0 since I’m now by myself, you might’ve noticed that as well that I’ve revamped the intro. Um, you’ll hear a new outro at the end too if you stick around. And I also decided to get more structured with regards to our content.
So I’ll be following more of the formula that we kind of set out with when we first decided to do the podcast. And that is one part information, one part inspiration, one part education. And one part motivation. I think the best to accomplish that is kind of to focus each week on one of those areas. So I hit one every month and accordingly this week will be information and during these episodes I’ll kind of highlight some of the science that supports our five habits of longevity and happiness. And I’ll say that information this week is also including, providing you an overview of where this podcast is headed. So one of the things that’s very clear to me as I’ve spent the last two and a half years really dialed into aging with optimism is exactly what my dad and Carolyn, his wife exemplify and that’s that you have to work at it.
You have to replace habits that don’t serve you with the habits that do and more importantly the habits that will serve you into your seventies eighties nineties and beyond. That’s what some of the science as to why we chose the habits that we did to focus on at five for life is kind of what I want to talk about. All five of our daily habits are sustainable as you age and you can start them no matter how old you are and still see benefit. So let’s look. So move. If you haven’t heard us say it before, I’ll say it again now. It’s daily habit number one for a reason. That’s because movement impacts the quality of your life both physically and mentally. It is intertwined with all of our other daily habits basically, and if you do absolutely nothing else, adding movement or moving more than you do now into your life is really just a no brainer.
If you want to set yourself up for living your best life at 80 90 and beyond, some of the statistics behind that regular exercise by seniors may decrease the time it takes for a wound to heal by 25% researchers have found that when individuals walk through your more times a week, the occurrence of dementia was 35% lower than those seniors who are not involved in any type of physical activity. And just two hours of walking in the week can reduce your risk of stroke by 30% so one of the best things about it is that you’re never too old to get moving and improve your health. And in fact, adults who became active later in life show greater physical and mental improvements than their younger counterparts. So it’s really important no matter how old you are to start moving, if you, if you’ve led it, especially if you’ve led a very sedentary life or if you had decreased mobility in for any reason.
One of the leading factors that enables older adults to remain independent is mobility. And mobility is simply the ability to normally move and function in daily life. It incorporates various elements that include balance, coordination, flexibility and strength. Mobility is key to maintaining independence, especially as people age and for seniors. The lost mobility has profound social, psychological, and physical consequences. If joints and muscles aren’t properly maintained, basic movements can cause pain or even injury. And really the cascade of negative effects that comes with the mobility can often be prevented by physical activity and exercise. So it’s really just simple move. Now, move more and keep moving for the rest of your life if you want to maintain your mobility and maintain your independence. All right, so you’re convinced that you want to start moving. That’s great. Now let’s move on to daily habit number two. Learn.
You’re here listening to a podcast and that is a fantastic start. There are so many valuable podcasts that offer great information, whether you are trying to build habits like us or you’re starting a new business, or if you’re looking for information and education on what you name it there, the podcast exists and they are a fantastic tool. And what better way to multitask than to walk into listen, right? So you could strike out a daily habit. Number one, walk in our move and daily habit. Number two, learn, boom, boom, all in one one fell swoop. In fact, a study published in the journal of neuroscience last September compared the act of reading a physical book to an audio book. This was just, they were, they were comparing the two. But I think it’s important to know that what they found was that the brain, as far as the brain is concerned, you get the same cognitive benefit regardless of whether you’re reading a physical book or listening to an audio book.
And so when you, when you combine that with information from another study published in the journal of American medical association, JAMA, that this one was published in 2018 researchers in China followed almost 16,000 people ages 65 and older, who were free of dementia for a median period of five years. And they found that daily participation in, in intellectual activities was associated with a significantly lower risk of dementia several years later. And the number one intellectual activity that was reported was reading. Okay. So you go backward to do the math. You, if you are listening to audio books, it’s the same as reading a regular book and you can do it while you’re walking. So it is absolutely a fantastic way to incorporate both moving and learning and help off, you know, potentially prevent both loss of mobility and dementia. Right? Hey, it’s all good stuff. Daily habit number three is share.
And this is one of the things I’ve observed probably most in my role in my senior living community. It’s definitely something that in midlife is easy to take for granted because most of us or many of us are still working. We’re still active in our communities. We’ve, we’re still involved in our kids’ lives. Maybe they’re not living at home, but even if they aren’t, you’re still really involved. And um, it’s amazing how once people retire, how quickly a lot of that can go away. And it’s the number one thing I hear when people come to see me at the retirement community I work for. It’s that we don’t want to be as isolated as we are, so social interaction and staying connected is something that you need to make as an actionable habit. It’s an especially important if you are single. If your family lives far away or if you consider yourself an introvert and you find yourself spending more of our time alone there.
Science from Harvard university, they did a, what they call a meta analysis of 148 longitudinal studies that involved more than 300,000 people. So they basically distilled all of these different studies and they wanted to understand just how much social relationships affect longevity. Participants were 64 years old on average when they entered the studies and investigators followed them for an average of seven and a half years assessing the frequency and type of social relationships they reported as well as health outcomes, including mortality on the basis of their review. The authors of the meta analysis estimated that older people with adequate social relationships have a 50% greater likelihood of survival when compared with those who are isolated or who have poor social relationships. They further estimated that people who have regular contact with friends, family, and neighbors have a survival advantage comparable in magnitude with kicking the smoking habit and about twice as large as the longevity benefit that comes from exercising regularly or maintaining a normal weight.
Wow. So this may mean that daily habit number three is really the most important, even more important than moving. But here’s an even better idea. Go for a walk with a friend or join a walking group and then you get the advantage of both. So just daily habit number three, share ultra important. We’ve been learning more and more about that in the last few decades. And um, so take action. One of the ways you can improve your relationships making daily habit number three, share even stronger is through daily habit. Number four, give, expressing gratitude has been proven to improve relationships, boost social intelligence, create stronger and more connected bonds. It also makes you more inspiring to others. Improve self-esteem, and it gives you better emotional intelligence as well as a larger capacity for forgiveness. Of course, research has shown that a daily gratitude practice actually provides physical and mental benefits too.
They include things like better sleep quality, heightened energy, boosted immunity, lower blood pressure, a stronger heart and in terms of mental health, better long term happiness, less stress, reduced negativity, increased optimism and strength and willpower just to name a few. So the science around gratitude is so compelling. And today I’m not going to go into all of the science that we’ve talked about on the podcast previously, but if you’ve listened at all, you know that this is one of our favorite ways of showing that the gratitude actually impacts the physical processes in the brain. So it’s pretty cool. Anyway, if you love the science like I do, you could check out all of the podcasts kind of in the information category. And I’ve actually put together a guide sheet that categorizes all of our past podcasts into each of those four categories, information, inspiration, education and motivation.
And you can find it in the show notes or on the episode page on our website. Uh, and if you’re signed up for our, my newsletter, then the link to the download will be included on Thursday, which reminds me if you’d like to receive the weekly newsletter, which is really a quick read and includes weekly nuggets with great products, blogs, and other podcasts, as well as three motivational quote images that I really, that we really love and information on the podcast. I would love to have you sign up. You can go to www.fiveforlife.co backslash free resources. That’s five for life.co/free resources. And there you’ll find any and all of our free information, PDFs you can choose from stress relief resources for finding your life’s next chapter. And of course the big kahuna, the best of all, five for life resources and resources. So if you sign up to get one of those free resources, you will be automatically signed up to receive the weekly newsletter.
I’d love to have you. So I’m going to keep saying we, I keep saying we, it’s really just I now right now. So anyway, um, but I would love to have you, so, all right. I have, we have together, you and I have made it to daily habit number five let go. So this goes hand in hand with gratitude. It’s really the inverse, which is the daily habit of letting go of negative emotion, whether it’s stress, anger, fear, regret, letting go has been proven to increase longevity and improve overall optimism. So this is something that I, in the past year I have really learned so much more about and have shared a lot about on the podcast with regards to self coaching and managing your mind. This is definitely not just positive thinking. When you learn to be a compassionate and curious observer of your own brain and your thoughts, you begin to see that every thought you have is optional.
Your primitive brain loves to throw out negative thoughts that lead to negative emotions. Why? Because our primitive brain wants to avoid pain and keep us out of danger. So it’s equally concerned with keeping us out of danger and being efficient. So even though the negative emotions don’t serve your longer term goals in the short run, keeping you safe and based on the habits you’ve established, your brain will default to negative thoughts. But wait, you’re thinking the negative thoughts lead to painful emotions. So how’s that avoiding pain? Well, the primitive brain doesn’t see it that way. It thinks that keeping things status quo, not risking failure is the best way to keep you both safe and keep the brain efficient. That’s why change can be so hard and changing habits can be so hard. Research shows that overreacting, constantly worrying and living in a state of perpetual anxiety.
These can all reduce life expectancy. So if this describes your typical response to everyday setbacks and snafoos, it may pay in the long run to learn ways to change your thinking and lower stress. The activities that we recommend often help break that habit cycle and negative thought loops that cause perpetual anxiety. So check out the free stress relief firstname.lastname@example.org slash free resources for lots of strategies on incorporating. Let go into your daily routine. So there you have it. That was a very quick rundown on the five daily habits. We advocate here at five for life and the live happier, longer podcast. I said we again, well, you understand, I say we, I mean we, the collective we, and I am speaking for all of us. When I say, you know, we advocate taking action on creating a happier, longer life. Next week I will be breaking down a book I have wanted to read since I was introduced to it through a workshop.
It’s not new, but it was still one of the best selling nonfiction books in 2019 it’s called thinking fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman. I hope I’m saying his last name right. I’m not sure if it’s going to be educational or motivational yet, but either way, it’s what’s up for next week. I wish you a great week ahead. Start small, be consistent, overcome the habits that don’t serve you and build the ones that will ultimately you are your own success story. Oh, and one more for good measure. Happy birthday number 92 Craig Hugh Currie. Thank you for being such a great dad. And a wonderful example of living your best life for all of us.
See you next week. Thanks for listening to the live happier, longer podcast. If this podcast is helping you and you’d like to go a little deeper, maybe track your progress on your habit building, you should check out our five for life planner. The planner is 13 weeks undated, and you can start literally at any time to create the habits of a happier, longer life. It’ll keep you motivated and it’ll keep you accountable and Hey, it’s affordable. So go to shop dot five for life.co that’s shop.buy for life.co and enter promo code podcast for a special discount.