(00:00): You're listening to the live happier longer podcast, episode 67
(00:15): welcome to the live happier longer podcast. This podcast is equal parts, information, inspiration, education and motivation, all dedicated to increase longevity and improving overall quality of life. I'm your host, Molly Watts, and I'm here to help you build the habits of a happier longer life. Let's get started.
(00:37): Well hello and welcome back to the live happier longer podcast coming to you from semi beautiful Oregon was a beautiful week, but today not so much, not complaining, just bringing you up to date on the weather as I always do at the top of the podcast. Today on the podcast, I am joined by Peter Bowes. Peter is a reporter for the BBC and has his own podcast called the llama podcast, which stands for live long and master aging. So I was really excited to talk to Peter about all things longevity. You'll learn that he's also a fast Walker, evidently more on that, but was just great to sit down and speak to someone who has a shared passion for increasing health span or increasing that optimal vital time of your life. And what we can do that really impacts our health span. So here's my conversation with Peter Bowes. Hi Peter.
(01:37): Hi Molly. It's great to talk to you.
(01:39): Hey, it's so great to talk to you. I appreciate you taking the time. You are a busy person and I really do appreciate you carving out a little space to talk longevity because I know we have a shared passion for spreading the message about longevity.
(01:53): Well, I know we have because I've listened to some of your episodes as well and you're right on the nail there. We do share common interests about longevity, about health span and a, I repeat this ad nauseum, but I, I'm fascinated by how we can just use the science, use the knowledge that others are leaning and we can perhaps use it to modify our lifestyles is tweak our lifestyles a little bit to to optimize health span on the number of years that we stay vital and healthy and, and can contribute to society and help families and friends and that kind of thing as opposed to lifespan, which isn't always built with positive things. Because as you know, the final few years, not always the best of years for some people.
(02:36): Exactly. And I think you and I both agree that there are a lot of things that people can do. Personally. I know you're podcast is definitively focused on science, which I of course appreciate because one of the things that was super important to me as I was developing five for life was finding things that were repeatable, sustainable, and actually backed by science so that we're going to increase longevity, not only improve longevity or increased longevity, but improve overall quality of life. So I yes, we agree completely.
(03:09): Yeah, exactly. I do a lot of signs, I talk about a lot of signs, but it isn't a hundred percent science and I, I don't think longevity, the industry of longevity, if you want to call it that, is totally based on science. A lot of the people I interview, I learned things through their lifestyle and they're not scientists and they haven't lived their lives in a certain way because of the science. That is just how they've done things. And they've reached a great age and I think we can learn a lot from people. Sometimes they can get to 90 or a hundred years old and don't quite know why. Then you dig a little bit deeper into their lifestyles and you can begin to join the dots that there are similar themes in the way that people lead their lives, that, that go towards longevity.
(03:52): Right, right. Well, and I know, I mean that for me was the guiding factor was really, my dad just turned 92 he still lives independently and he is still vital place. Just told me, this, just spoke to him about an hour ago. He told me he, I did Tai Chi three days a week last weekend, played golf for, you know, he's 92 so it's um, right. Exactly right. But he didn't, but that's what I determined by looking at his life. Really understanding. No, he did not get there in a vacuum. He did take actions and even though he may not have been fueled himself by trying to figure it out, there were things that he was doing that I believe have have contributed to his longevity and to his optimistic outlook, which is what I always, uh, we come back to, you know, being live happier longer where we're talking about having that, that positive mindset towards aging and actually having an optimistic view of getting older and yeah, that doesn't exist for everybody. You know, people get very discouraged about getting older and um, it's actually I think detrimental to your too. Well I know it is. It's detrimental to how long you're going to live and definitely your health span.
(05:10): Tell me this, I know you're supposed to be interviewing me, but does he, does your father have a, an active social life? Does he mix with lots of people? Does he have lots of conversations and that, that's a common theme that I find with very, very old people that they are still involved and they've always got something tomorrow to look forward to and something to do. And I interviewed a a 102 year old woman, Ethel Travis. Uh, she, she left us, she was 104 and, um, she had a large circle of friends. She had a very close, loving family, but she got out and did things with her goals as she explained, the very elderly friends that they had a book club together and they used to choose a book, go away, read it, get together over lunch and talk about the book and that she's doing this a hundred and years. Oh. And thought in my mind was one of the things that just just kept her going.
(06:02): Yeah, absolutely. In fact, that is a daily habit. Number three for us is share. And it's all about that staying engaged socially and with your family and friends. And that comes from my dad because he is absolutely that guy who is connected. I call, I tease him and say, it's the six degrees of Craig Curry. No, he doesn't. He hasn't met somebody that he doesn't have some, he'll start talking and sure enough, uh, you know, there'll be some connection. You'll find a connection, uh, to them, whether it's someplace he's lived or some, you know, occupational thing or a shared interest or whatever. But he, he does do that. But, and that's one of the things that I think is so important about some of these things that people need to need to be aware of is that it's a, it's an actionable habit. You know, becoming lonely and isolated doesn't happen if you are making the effort to go out and stay connected and be involved, but you have to keep, you know, you can't just decide that, well, I'm 80, I might as well dial it back. I don't need to do that anymore. You know, it becomes just as it's just as important at 80 as it was at 40.
(07:11): Yeah. And I think those that do it best are the ones that take the initiative themselves and acknowledge and realize that this is a good way of life, no matter how old you are. But equally, I think family members, whether it's a spouse or children who are around that older person can also play a role in, in encouraging and cajoling. And, uh, without any great pressure to do things, but just gently suggesting things to do. If there's maybe a little reluctance, organizing a family occasion suggesting something that might be fun to do in a week or so's time. Something to look forward to just to, to keep on moving on. I think it's a, it's a family affair to some extent or an extended friends social circle that you might've had for a very, very long time. Years. It could be a social circle you've had for decades, but just to keep it going.
(08:03): And one of the, one of the problems that people have as they get older, and they, many of them have said it to me that they feel a little lonely and a little isolated because those people they used to associate with and socialize with. I no longer here. There are a hundred years old and still vital and still capable of doing things. But sadly those peers that they grew up with and live their lives with aren't with us anymore. And that's, that's the challenge really to, to, to help those people through that potential period of, of loneliness. And it teaches me that if you can keep a good close circle of friends, but some younger friends as well as cross generations, um, is, is really good as you're, as you're getting old.
(08:46): Absolutely. And that part of it that I appreciate with my father is his willingness to go and try to still meet new people and make new friendships and, and find commonality with people that he may not have known because just yes, uh, agreed. He has outlived many of his oldest friends. And uh, so there's, and that again, I, I believe that that's an actionable habit. And even for people who, who considered themselves introverted, it starts with small conversations with your neighbors or with the, the grocery person or the barista and just maintaining some connection to your community, going and volunteering, things like that where, you know, beyond the [inaudible] family circle, you need to take those next steps and really
(09:33): branch out. [inaudible] include new relationships as you age, especially as people age and they become less. There's, there's less opportunity when you, once you retire and you don't have, you're not going to work every day and you're not going to the school things every day and you're not going, you know, you've, you've, you've ran that circle. And so it becomes a different challenge in something that I do believe is, again, that's part of what I talk about all the time is, is taking responsibility and being actionable yourself. And so I do believe it's something you should do. And yes, we can all use one of the, I know you and I both spoke to [inaudible] bird night and the grand pad, you know, and that whole technology plays such a role these days in us being able to stay connected to family and friends as it is unusual or different than older times when people stayed altogether. I know you don't live, I'm sure you don't live near your family any more.
(10:29): No, I, there's a huge a ocean between us.
(10:32): Exactly. So, I mean we have the technology now and there are ways to stay connected to our two are older relatives and we need to be doing that. Absolutely. And figuring out ways to nudge them, right?
(10:45): Yeah. Yeah. And Carrie, Carrie is doing some great work and technology is inevitably going to play a huge role in how we achieve this. There's a, there's a huge row for interpersonal relationships, but I think technology is there for us to, to utilize. And she, she's, she's master this and the whole company have mastered the art of using that technology in a way that older generations can understand that cause it is a huge challenge. There is such a barrier between those of us. I say those of us, I didn't really grow up in the tech in the digital age that came to me halfway through life, but many, many younger people obviously have and everything has been and always will be in the digital world. And I think helping those who just still feel as if they're outside of all of that, but that they can benefit through technology that's made easy, I think is a tremendous benefit to a lot of people.
(11:36): Absolutely. Absolutely. So I want to get back to understanding a little bit more. You and I both, we came at this from different perspectives and with a different story to tell, like I've mentioned to you, you know, mine was really after watching my parents take two very different towards aging and under and really believing that my dad did have some specific things that he had done consciously or unconsciously that have created the life that he has. And I wanted to figure out what they were so that I could do them too. You know, wanting to take that path and not the other. We're, how did you, I know you're a biologist by training, but how did this become interesting to you?
(12:20): Yeah, well I was a biologist a long time ago. It was the beginning of my career and I did, uh, qualifies as a biologist. I studied biology, I worked for the medical research council. Just for a short period of time before realization, realizing that what I really wanted to do was exactly what I do now and not is to be a broadcast journalist done for much of that time with the last few decades with the BBC. So during that time as a journalist traveling around the world and mostly for the last couple of decades in Los Angeles, I got the opportunity, one of the great privileges of doing this job is the door is open to meet people and we have a foot in the door and it's, it is an enormous privilege and you get to meet the leading scientists in this respect and in the field. And I made a number of entries about aging, about longevity, made a documentary about Loma Linda, which is one of the so-called blue zones just outside of Los Angeles.
(13:17): Um, it's a seventh day Adventists community that lives extraordinarily long. The longest lived community in the United States, just a one 60 miles outside of LA. Drive into Loma Linda doesn't really look any different to any of the town, but then you get to talk to the people in their lifestyles and it's a lifestyle that to in large part is determined by the religion. Not necessarily everyone in Loma Linda is a seventh day Adventist, but there's a huge emphasis on on diet and it's a mostly vegetarian, some vegan diet. I'm under a lot of exercise and a huge social element to their lifestyles and a and a Saturday. The Sabbath when they tried to do nothing, they, it's, it's tools down, it's go to church. And again, I stress you don't have to specifically live that lifestyle not to, yeah, if you don't want to go to church every Saturday morning, but you still want to have a quiet time, maybe read a book rather than be on a computer, be with your family, it ultimately seems to achieve the same thing.
(14:18): And that is this tremendous balance in your life. So I got to do that and other documentaries as well. And it kind of fueled a longterm interest that I'd always had in aging and longevity and how we get them. I've always been interested in, in the exercise, the physical side of things. As a marathon runner, as someone who has always believed in exercise as, as probably number one on the list, maybe number two after sleep, I think sleep is probably the most important now just to, to nurture our lifestyles. Yeah, absolutely. If you, if you don't get a decent night's sleep, you can't get a good day of exercise in. So the sleep in my view always comes first. So that's what made me interested. That's why I do the podcast live long the mass Rojan, which is a sort of long as you do, it's a longer form way of talking to interesting people and focusing very specifically on this.
(15:12): I love that. Of course. Yeah. Having the BBC behind your name doesn't hurt when you're trying to, um, meet some people. So I, that is, I love that.
(15:21): Yeah. Although, although, interestingly, I mean this is quite separate from my BBC and it's, um, and I, you know, I'm at the BBC, I'm talking about caucuses and primaries and the election cycle and, you know, whatever comes my way that that's what I do at the moment for the, for the BBC, it's pretty much hard news. So this is actually very different now. But you're right, what I've done certainly throughout my career has helped and I suppose just trained me on the art of doing interviews and meeting people in journalism and that there's kind of the nuts and bolts I suppose, of what you need to know to, to put a podcast together.
(15:59): Yeah. I, I'm only being a bit facetious there because I know that you don't, your, your job is completely separate than this, but it definitely, the quality of, of your very first interview, uh, with Valter Longo speaks to the fact that, you know, I, it's, it's a nice to have that, uh, at least that corollary. Right? So, um,
(16:23): and that, and that was in, in big part because I mentioned the documentaries I've made at least one was with Volta and I, and he, he played a big role in, in really accelerating my interest in this area because I took part in one of his clinical trials as a subject in the clinical trial, his first trial with human beings testing the fasting mimicking diet. And I was one of the first 19. This is back in 2013. So that's all there in the background, which is why he came to be the first gas.
(16:54): Yeah, exactly. But, and, and a wonderful first gas because it's a huge, it's a huge area of, and like I said to you, I mentioned [inaudible] we tend to stay away from a diet areas. We've talked about all the different types of diet a or when, I don't mean diet, like losing weight, but just types of different vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, uh, Quito that fasting all of that as they imply to, uh, longevity. Because there are, uh, definitely things that are linked to better longevity. And so, and w mostly for longevity. And, uh, fasting the inflammation process is something that is something that I think is impacted by the fasting or fasting mimicking diet. So, um, yeah, definitely. Very interesting. And I'm definitely gonna link all of your, we're going to link to your podcast, but I encourage everyone to go back and check those out because Valter Longo is a renowned expert on that.
(17:52): He is, and thank you for doing that because you do need to delve into it in some depth because it isn't, it isn't simple. It's, it's pretty complex science. And we talk about, about, for example, we went to Ecuador together a few years ago to see the tiny group of people with [inaudible] syndrome, people with [inaudible] syndrome, a very, very short and start you on three foot tall. They have an eye look go into too much of the science now, but they have a low level of IGF one incident. Like fuck the growth. It's the growth factor, right? Um, the, uh, as a child, as a young person, you need plenty of IGF form to grow because that's what its role, its role is. If you don't have enough as a child, for example, the people with the Ron syndrome who who number only a few hundred in the world, they don't grow very tall. But the, the common factor in this particular Ecuadorian community is that they pretty much live their lives without getting any of the serious illnesses. And I'm talking cancer and diabetes and policies that affect all of us in the Western world. So that's kind of one of the things that fasting does is knock your level of IGF [inaudible] down. So voltage is trying to understand, great, how do I understanding the connection between the value of knocking down your level of IGF one and your potential longterm health and your potential longevity just by studying this particular community.
(19:20): Wow. Yeah. Incredibly fascinating. And I love that. I want to go back to something that you said about uh, sleeping being number one. Now we did a podcast episode on a how both sleeping and exercise are preventative for Alzheimer's because that's been, again, something that's been proven that there is a link between sleeping and how it's, it repairs the brain. And then also obviously cardiovascular exercise, if it's good for the heart, good for the brain, and these things can actually be helpful in preventing, uh, symptoms of Alzheimer's or cognitive decline and dementia, which is something that is very specific to aging. So it's, uh, uh, I know you said you thought maybe exercise was number one. It is actually daily habit number one for us is move. I say it's because of the fact that not only are we talking about the benefits that it can lead for your brain, for your heart, for all of that. But, uh, one of the leading things that people fear about getting older is loss of mobility and it's highly preventable by simply continuing to move. And I say we do it a little bit. Like I said, I type focus a little bit less on
(20:34): typically not having to go out and do hardcore
(20:38): cardiovascular, although that will, the more you exercise and the more you
(20:43): get your heart rate up, the better it is for you. But overall, and I think this was something in, uh, that's something that's a part of the blue zones lifestyle is just organic movement and moving more every day as opposed to sitting.
(20:56): Yeah. And that is the, the way of life of, well certainly the Loma Linda community, it is working in the garden. It is doing the repairs yourself. It's doing the washing up by hand rather than putting it in the dishwasher. Little little things like that. All other two to constant movement. Now you might go to Silicon Valley to an office Depot block and they've got standup desks and treadmill desks and you know, people using technology to try to achieve pretty much the same thing. And that the idea being that we should just all try to, to move more and it isn't, it isn't always possible that's wrong, the business stated to achieve that. But there are little things and, and, and that's what these relatively simple communities somehow seem to achieve. And the honest always it's up. It's up to us how we embrace thoughts and whether it's by just doing a few things the old fashioned way, which you know, a lot of people you know, prefer not to do these days. But honestly it's good for you. Just say, did you get the blood pressure to get the blood moving to get the heart rate up a little bit and just get the body working. It just makes you feel more alive.
(22:02): Yeah. Yeah. The emphasis on sleep now, is it just, it, was that something that you learned from talking to someone or more of your own research?
(22:11): I think I have figured that one out for myself and I think as you, I think as you get older you do figure out a few things, don't you? And uh, I uh, and, and I think it is probably a factor. I haven't really looked into the science, but when we're younger we have a different kind of drive and we can probably keep going on less sleep. I know a lifestyle that I had as a, as a broadcaster 30 years ago, which involves getting up at two 30 in the morning to be in the studio by 10 to four, 8:00 AM and you know, working til early afternoon before a long drive home. And that was five days a week. So that was prettily pretty relentless. And uh, my, my sleep suffered during that time, but I still exercise and did other stuff, uh, later in the day as I live now.
(22:55): I wouldn't want to be that sleep deprived getting through my eye day because I, I notice that I simply can't achieve as much in the gym or I might go for that three more, three mile hike that I try to do every day morning. Maybe take a little shortcut if I'm tired and exhausted because I haven't slept properly. So I think it, it comes, I mean, and I take what you say about potentially preventing diseases as well, but just purely from a functioning perspective, a good solely, it's seven or eight hours sleep just sets you up. We all know how you feel when you've had a great night's sleep and how you achieve greater things during the day, whether it's physically or mentally, your mental health benefits as well.
(23:36): Yeah, I actually, we, uh, when I did a talk or an episode on it, it was based on a Ted talk by, uh, Lisa Genova who is a, and she wrote the, she was basically the neuroscientist behind, um, still Alice or the whatever the book is that end her. And she did do a research on this and sleep is actually a part of that. It is backed by science again, to help in a preventative way. So that's pretty cool. Sure. So it's really, you know, I get, I'm like, you, I get, I mean, I just love the science when the science backs up the things that you kind of inherently deal or no, you know, just like, as you said, you kind of know the difference when you haven't had a good night's sleep. You can kind of feel it, but then I love it when there's science behind it and you go, Oh yeah, actually true. Really true.
(24:24): Yeah, yeah, yeah, it is. I take exactly what you say, although I think especially sleep is, is almost one of those things we don't need science to tell us because it is so adamantly obvious that you feel great. You can achieve more and just be generally a better person if you've had a good night's sleep as opposed to, for example, what science might tell us about different foods, difference between eating lots of red meat and lots of vegetables. We might not be able to figure that out for ourselves and we'd just eat what tastes good and what we enjoy. But little knowledge of the science will hopefully dictate to us what we should or shouldn't eat.
(25:00): Yeah. Yeah. I, and, and, and that's interesting you say that because I have that one of the reasons that as I mentioned to kind of stick stay away from one diet over another is that there does seem to be a lot of conflicting, uh, science behind exactly which, and you'll hear, and I know anecdotally, I'm sure you have from, I think you mentioned or heard you talking about some of the, one of your are Valter Longo talking about one of the longest living people on in Italy. And she, you know, she famously eats three eggs a day. So it's like there are, there's a lot of different paths as far as diet seems to be concerned that ended up being good in terms of longevity. So it's hard to know exactly which, if there's one golden rule.
(25:50): Yeah, I, I to to to a, to a point, I think there are, I think let's say the science surrounding red meat is becoming pretty convincing that if you eat too much red meat, I mean it's not great for the environment either, but I think that the science is beginning certainly to me to suggest that, uh, it is the great thing and that, uh, I wouldn't necessarily suggest to her, well, I'm not, I don't suggest anything to anyone because I'm not an expert in this area. It's simply how I read the science and the how evidence mounts up and when I apply that science to what I do in terms of my life, how I feel as a result of it. And then, you know, ultimately life is quite short and I think you've got to, you've got to go with what you believe because there isn't, there isn't time to wait for [inaudible] nutrition science as it applies to red meat to be exhausted to the nth degree before I'll take notice of it.
(26:53): I think when the science builds up to a certain point that is at least believable to me, I'm going to go with it. Unless it's some bizarre extreme that makes me nervous. But if it's reasonably solid science, okay, I'm going to go with it. Just like the reasoning behind eating mostly a vegetarian diets. I, I'm probably best described as a pescatarian cause I had a little bit of fish and a lot of vegetables and try to cut down dairy products and not eliminate but not hello. Too much cream and delegate. It kind of works or feels as if it's working for me. I'm not doing anything particularly extreme, but you know, I'm holding up pretty well. And, and so I, I go with science, you know, to that extent that um, you know, it's gotta be solid science. It's got to work for me, but I don't wait for every single experiment to be exhausted.
(27:50): No. Yeah. And I know that was something that was important to me in, again, in terms of trying to develop the five daily habits that I promote in terms of five for life and living a happier, longer life, was that I wanted to focus on the things that were actionable and sustainable, right? So they were, they were things that not only you could get behind and, and what enjoy doing, what actually [inaudible] make you feel better now, but that you could still be doing in your eighties and nineties and feel good about it, you know, and still be doing it. So it's got to be something that's sustainable because if you don't, if it's too rash or too out there, you're never going to be able to hang onto it for the rest of your life. And really what's the point to then, you know, if you can't keep doing it, it's not gonna help you live longer. It's certainly not gonna help you live better.
(28:40): Yeah. Yeah. And that, that falls into a lot of the debate and discussion right now about fasting diets. There are so many different types of fasting diet. And this term intermittent fasting, which honestly doesn't really mean anything. It could mean a 23 one diet. Why you fast for 23 hours and confine your eating to one hour. It could mean 16 eight which a lot of people are doing, or 1410 or 1212 all of which produce considerably. If you look into the signs, they produce different results. Uh, the, the, the, the work of such in Panda at the Salk Institute who I've interviewed on the podcast will explain how, and this is mostly experiments with rodents, but the difference between a, let's say a 1212 row regime of 12 hours of fasting 12 hour window when you can eat as opposed to 16, eight the at least the mice respond in, in a different way with each extra hour of fostering.
(29:34): Now that's not to say necessarily that it's good for, for human beings. And just very sort of briefly paraphrasing what the is that he was, he's finding that the, the shorter the period of eating, so the longer the period of fasting, the result seems to be an increased ability to, well, let's say an example of the mouse to run around the wheel. The endurance factor increases. So you might correlate that with a human being at the gym and the hours afterwards. That seems to be a greater endurance. The shorter the period of eating, the longer the period of fasting. Now it isn't for everyone though. Not everyone can go 16 eight. And so I look at that kind of science and say, well, maybe 1212 is [inaudible] is good for me. It's certainly includes a significant period of fasting. Yeah. But it's also manageable in my lifestyle. And again, there's, there's, there's good science behind the fact that the 1212 regime giving you a decent amount of sting overnight is still very beneficial for you.
(30:37): Right, right. And I think that that's, you know, the key of course is finding what you can that works for you. But I agree with you that the interlacing that with science and trying to challenge yourself to extend out, you know, that a lot of people tell me, Oh, I simply, I can't not eat in the morning. Well you actually can. If you, you know, you're, you just have to, you might have to incrementally get there. Right. So you start at 12, 12 you start and then go to 13, 11, go to 14, 10 and incrementally bump yourself up. Um, I used to be, I mean, breakfast was my favorite meal and I just, but now I don't, if I break my fast, right, I can do it at whatever time at noon and still eat breakfast food if I'm really, you know, that's what I need.
(31:25): Yeah. And that, that, that, that's one area that I am, I'm not convinced either way yet because there's, there's a lot of science that argues for a good decent breakfast within an hour or two of, of waking up. And like you th th there is certainly signs that suggests they've, you extend that fasting period so you're not eating up until 10 or, or mid day that that could potentially be good for you as well. So that, that to me actually is an area of confusion at the moment. And uh, I, I opt for the breakfast about eight o'clock and I get up at about six o'clock so there is a little bit of of post sleep fasting for me, but I don't go all the way through to 12 o'clock cause it just doesn't, it doesn't work.
(32:06): Right, right. And, and some people, but then you probably can stop eating you then you may end your eating at 6:00 PM
(32:12): that's the goal. Yeah. Around six o'clock is the goal for me.
(32:15): Some people and that's just their, their window. You know, I tend to stay a little bit later anyway. Yeah. Anyway,
(32:20): but what, but just goes to the point that we are all different and that there's no one rule fits all in this, uh, in this business.
(32:27): No, not at all. One of the things I think about this is what will we in 20 years be looking back on now that like right now we look back on smoking right? And how smoking was something that was, uh, promoted to be healthy and, and favorable and you know, everybody was right and cool and everybody was doing it. And now we look, when we think about it, now we go, what in the world? Like what were people thinking that they actually thought that that was healthy, right. That, that's [inaudible]
(33:02): well, I wish, I wish enough people were thinking that though. I mean, you're absolutely right. We, you and I think thought, but I don't know the latest statistics on young people starting to smoke, but it's still disturbingly high. The number of young people, late teens, twenties who think smoking is still cool and you know, whether it's vaping or traditional tobacco cigarettes or whatever, there are still too many people smoking.
(33:28): Yeah. Yeah. I guess that's, I mean, definitely still true, but I think that on a large scale, at least here in the us, you know, the, the marketing behind it has been changed. Although we still market other things that I believe are, I still think, I think that it eventually will come. We'll look back on some of these things that we do in market today and think, Oh, we were so wrong. These were not healthy, these were not good. This was not the way, and yeah, they did not help us live longer. Yeah,
(33:59): yeah, yeah. I, I think what you could say is that the jury, to my mind, the jury isn't out yet on something like fasting because it's still quite a confusing area that you raised definitely out and yeah, conviction has come and sentencing has long since disappeared for smoking because, uh, yeah, there is no argument in favor,
(34:23): right. I, I, for one, because I, it, there's a, the part of this legacy in my [inaudible] of longevity for me, uh, includes alcoholism, uh, or the, or the avoidance of, and so I wonder about that because like blue zones, that's a really, you know, uh, part of the blue zones protocol is happy hour at five and that, that, you know, a glass of wine is a part of their protocol. I wonder about that because again, like smoking, I mean alcohol is a known toxin to the brain, so it's going to be an interesting, uh, and I'm not, I don't come down one way or the other, you know, I still have a drink and I'm not trying to avoid it, but I, I wonder what we will do in at what, what 20 years from now, science will look back on and say,
(35:09): Hmm, yeah, I know. I, I totally agree with you. It will be fascinating to see in 20 or 30 time, yes. Time using whatever technology we have, you and I doing, having this conversation and, and looking back. Um, you're absolutely right. Well, how will we view something like fasting as a ridiculous sort of fog that happened during the, yeah. Th th the turn of the 21st century. Um, or will it be part of everyone's life? And as you say, alcohol, which of course has been around for centuries. Um, and I suspect it probably will be, but, um, you know, how will we view alcohol? We'll, uh, we'll have a drink or a cocktail this kind of hour. It's about what does it tie four quarter six on a Sunday evening that we're recording this. It's the cocktail hour. Is that not so bad anyway? It sort of relaxes you after a busy day.
(35:58): Right? It's just, it's fascinating. So one of the things that we focus on as well is uh, stress and letting go. The, that whole, uh, idea that stress is, and I think you talked about it a little bit in Loma Linda about how they, that day of Sabbath is really a day of rest, right? In a day of, of letting, not doing their typical things. I wonder if you've talked to, if, if in your talking and in new your interviews you found that, that the letting go of stress, whether it be via meditation or other ways of reading your body of stress has been, is something that people agree with being important as a part of longevity. Yeah,
(36:42): they do. And I, it comes up time and time again and increasingly so we've mentioned technology already. Technology is great, but it's beginning to dominate our lives. We're continually looking at our devices. What's the first thing we do when we wake up in the morning? A lot of people will look at their phone and check emails and social media and all of that kind of stuff. Are those perhaps sensibly don't do that and will meditate for 15 minutes or have a no phones at breakfast kind of rule in the household. And increasingly we're seeing these kinds of lifestyles and of course we could delve into the science. What does it do for your blood pressure? What does it do to your heart? Right. To be constantly hyped up because of what we're trying to do. All the multitasking that we're doing. Yeah. Doesn't really need a scientist to tell me that if we're in that constant state of excitement all the, all the time that we're constantly on, it probably isn't good for us that we do need to relax.
(37:43): And you just got to think how you don't have to meditate. I think you can sit down quietly and read it. Great vocal, you know, do whatever makes you feel good. It could be knitting, it could be crochet, it could be doing a crossword. Um, it just, it's let you calm down for awhile and uh, I, you feel better after it. And increasingly I think there is a need and I've spoken to people, uh, centenarians who talk about this a lot and how it used to be before we had television and we had all this stuff being bombarded at us. It was a different, slower lifestyle. And maybe that's a big part of why people reach a great age cause there's the light and shade in their lives. And I think we all need to work tremendously hard. At least it's introducing some of gentle downtime into our day because it's quite easy to go through the day. And if you're especially busy and working and you've got things to achieve, whether you're a student or a a teacher or a mother, um, it's easy to neglect that aspect of your own wellbeing.
(38:54): Absolutely. Something that I know a lot of people I speak to, we, I talk about kind of the fears of what people fear the most about aging because I think there is a lot of fear in aging and fear of dying of course. But just a fear of getting older and losing a lot of your self. And one of the biggest things that people fear is cognitive decline, Alzheimer's, dementia. Have you spoken to many people in terms of combating that as it is a disease of aging and what, what they have seen in terms of the science behind what, how you can offset cognitive decline or dementia?
(39:37): I think yes and I, I think it falls into some of the things that we've been talking about and that is staying socially connected and setting yourself tasks. And I, one of the things I do in my life and increasingly realizing that it is, it is very good for people. I've got a a dog, a border Collie dog, she's super active, she's a sheep dog. We go to classes where she does obedience training and um, you know, the way that jumping over courses and jumps and going through tunnels and over dog walks and all that kinds of stuff. It's, it's pretty lively stuff. And I'm being taught how to try and my dog, as much as my dog is being taught how to do the course. And there's a big role in memory because you generally how these things work, you get five minutes or so to memorize a course, which it could include anything from 10 to 20 different obstacles for the dog, right?
(40:36): You have to go in a certain order, you've got to go through the tunnel, over the dog, walk over the, jump through the hoop, whatever it is and memorize that. And if you don't memorize it, there's no way you can tell your dog what to do. And I do this training, I do it once or twice a week on it, generally with an older group of people, some of which are significantly older than I am. And um, they, there's one 70 year old woman, she explained to me, one of the big reasons why she continues to do it is that it challenges her memory and it keeps her active. And of course, all of this is part of hopefully delaying. Okay. Maybe potentially putting off completely the days when dementia begins to hit it. You know, if you can't do dog training, you could do, I mentioned crosswords earlier, you could do puzzles. There's lots of ways to keep your mind active that I think could play a major role in perhaps preventing some of the, or at least delaying some of these problems.
(41:32): Oh yeah. Well the science is clear on it as well because that's again, one of the daily habit number two for us is learn. Um, my dad was an educator so it was always a big part of his life anyway, just learning. But I've been just as that person you were speaking about, I've watched as he's aged and things that he's taken on and challenged himself with, uh, learning new things and how that continues to keep his mind. Uh, it, it's, it's actually proven, like I said, you can create those. What neuroscience used to believe about the brain was that it, and only in recent in the two thousands have really the nurse as neuroscience caught up to understanding that you can keep creating new neural pathways up until you're last days. You know, but it's a matter of use it or lose it. And a lot of times we find our older, our elders not taking those steps and not taking the, you know, not doing those small things and they really can impact their health span and their neural health span by taking small steps just like that.
(42:42): Yeah, exactly. So it falls right into what we're talking about staying physically and socially active, staying mentally active and mentally involved as well as crucially,
(42:55): well, I didn't intend to have you comment on all of my five daily habits, but I've almost made it through now. Yeah. So we're there to, the fourth day was actually number four is give and that's all about gratitude. And there is a lot of compelling science behind gratitude and literally a lot of, uh, studies. And I believe that the master study says that people that express gratitude can increase their longevity by seven years. That's, uh, I don't, I'll have to put it in my footnotes about which, which specific center was, but definitely, and I know it's kind of a, I feel like there's a lot of, uh, trendiness around gratitude these last few years. But yeah, it is definitively still. Do you, have you spoken with anybody that has that talks about that aspect of longevity?
(43:47): We haven't dealt and I, I, maybe I should, but I haven't delved into the science yet. But again, anecdotally it is something that keeps on coming up and maybe you could include with gratitude the art of, of just giving and, and helping other people and volunteering as well. I think it all comes under the same umbrella as something that yes, it makes you feel good. I think that maybe if we do look into the science, it's not feel good factor for your, for yourself being a little bit selfish about your generosity towards other people and your gratitude towards other others. It is ultimately that's feeling good about yourself, your self esteem that uh, ultimately I think makes you, you feel better. But BIA a better person. I mean, if you think the alternative is what is anger is, is jealousy is a, you know, the art of, of not giving an and helping other people and not being gracious to other people who may be reach out and help you. How do you feel or how do those people feel when, but in a state of hostility all the time? I don't know. I'd be intrigued to see the science on that. But again, it's kind of common sense tells you that it can't be a bad thing to be. You appreciate other people.
(45:11): No, it isn't. And I, but like I said, I'm one of those people, I love the science behind it because it is, again, it does, it actually there it can change your, you're the physical, the physiology of your brain. So it's kind of cool that, that, that, that is actual science that is backed up, you know, backs up what yes. Intellectually you should realize is something that makes you feel better, that it can actually increase your longevity along the way and make you feel better is, you know, good, good. Right. It's good stuff. So, um, that just made me think of something and now I'm not gonna be able to remember, go and do a crossword. It might come to you. Oh, I know what I was going to say. So this is back to just sheer curiosity on you. And your podcast and how you reach out and how you find your guests, you know, besides the fact that obviously doing documentaries with, with certain renowned sciences is a good way to start. But tell me how you get interested or how do people find you or how are you finding the people that you talk to?
(46:10): Interesting, fascinating question. Like you, I am intrigued by the subject and spent a lot of time thinking about it and you do one interview and it raises as many questions as it answers just like this conversation. However you want to go away and learn something in a related but different area. So I, I try to pursue the guests that I want to answer specific questions that I have. Um, some guests will come to me because, and it's usually because they've written a book or have some sort of project or a film that they want to promote. And if it interests me, if it falls into my niche, why not do the interview? And I love, I love doing that. But I like pursuing and this, so I'll tell you one, and maybe you'll notice this as an upcoming episode. There's nothing planned for this yet.
(46:56): Maybe it will be someone listening to good answer these questions. But one thing that I've read quite a bit about, um, and it's, it's, this is very niche, but it's interesting. Um, there's science that suggests that the faster you walk, the bigger your gate, um, the longer you might live. That there's a correlation that there's a strong correlation between fast walkers and long life. There is, I've read studies about this and anecdotally and purely based on people that I've, I've met that I've come across, it seems to bear out the theory that if you live your life as it and you, we all know people who walk fast and others who walk slow. I just happen to be, and this isn't really why I'm interested, but I just happened to be a fast Walker and have always been a fast Walker. And people, your family friends will say the food together walking through town.
(47:49): Why are you walking so fast? We're not in a rush, are we? And I'm just walking at my pace, the pace I would go with the dog in the morning, just me and the dog or whatever, walking alone with other people, I have to purposefully slow down. It's not because I'm trying to show off that I can walk fast, it's just that, that's how I, how I do, you know, I, how I, how, how I move and I've come across other people like that as as well. And the fact that there seems to be some correlation between longevity intrigues me. I think it's fascinating. So what I will do at some point in the coming weeks and months is seek out, I've done a little bit of research but I haven't really settled on any one that I want to pursue yet. But, uh, when I find that person or two, what I usually do is go to the, if it's a scientist, you go to the university website, you find that their contact details, you know this and you make contact and you explain who you are and what you want do. And would they very kindly do a podcast interview with you and you take it from there. And I tried to do as many interviews that I can face to face in person cause I, I, I think you'd get a a better, and we're doing this using videos. We can actually see each other, which is a big part of just connecting with the person. But I like to sit down if possible. If not, we'll use technology and we'll, we'll connect that way.
(49:08): Yeah, that is fantastic. I can't wait to hear that one. It, you know, walking in and of itself is something that we've, we did a a couple of podcasts on and there's so many benefits to just walking, being, if you're going to do one of those daily, you know, if you're going to choose an action, if you're going to choose a new habit, if you're going to move in some way, walks in. Yeah. She's walking. And, uh, we talked to Nanette Mutrie who is Scottish and she literally has been fundamental in, uh, an a movement in Scotland for walking for the past 20 years. They have a, uh, like a governmental focus on increasing walking, which I, I just love, you know, that's just amazing that they've actually as a country funded this time, the type of work which I think is great is again, walking, walking is one of those things that hopefully if you do it now and you start now, you can still do it in your 80s and 90s. You know, it's
(50:02): so easy. It is. So as long as physically you're doing okay as long as physically you can actually walk, which hopefully most of us will come. It is so easy. And one of the things I often talk, I do a lot of walking at it, whether you count your steps during the day, but my steps usually range from 10,000 to 15,000 similar in that region during the day, which isn't incredibly excessive, but it's more than the most people. And the way I achieve that is, and you don't think I'm crazy? A little bit maybe, but um, I will go somewhere, park as far away as I can and then often walk in a circle around the building before I actually go in and then I come out of my meeting, whatever it is, night purposefully walk in a circle around the block and then eventually get to my car. It's, it's amazing. Quickly you can rock up the step. [inaudible]
(50:51): no, I think that's a wonderful, I love that. I'm so glad you mentioned it because I think that's just, I'm always telling people to just do exactly that. Try something little new, change something, you know, then that just small change, just that small decision to park farther away. But those little incremental small steps add up and it is in the, in the compound effective habits that is a big part of life. And you know, I say all the time we, the quality of your life equals the quality of your habits
(51:25): and yeah, and talking of how you, you're absolutely right about habits and um, mean on that theme, parking as far away as you can get away with from your, your final destination becomes a habit. So you would drive into the parking lot and you won't, like 90% of people instinctively go as close to the front door as as possible. And all the cars are all clumped together near the entrance. You will instinctively eventually take the outer loop and Cohen park and the, you know, the outermost corner and that becomes normal to you,
(51:58): right? Which is, you know, that again, that's just a small thing that you can do that then becomes a habit. And then that is just how you're, you're increasing those steps, which again, just adds to that, that longevity habit plan or whatever that you might call it. Yeah. And even if you're doing it unconsciously, the hope is that you do start to do it unconsciously, right. The whole definition of it habit is it becomes unconscious. And you just do it and that definitely is a great example. I love that. Well, Peter, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you sitting down and talking with me. I can't wait for my listeners to go find the llama podcast and hear all about the science behind and all the great conversations that you've had. I could listen to your, I'm sure everybody else could have. It's bringing back my missing Angela and my Scottish sidekick and that the beautiful British accent, so I'm sure everybody else is enjoying that as well.
(52:50): Thank you. Thank you. He's an interesting little nugget. A little factoid and I, maybe someone listening can explain this. I, I do as you acknowledge, still have a very British accent. I've lived in the United States for 25 years now, almost 25 years and the accent hasn't disappeared. I know people, I know people, the accent goes in a couple of years and they become very American and a, I don't know, maybe it's something in our psyche or our genes that helps us hold on to our original accent. But I don't, I don't think it's going to go for me.
(53:25): No, I don't
(53:26): think so either. And and reporting for the BBC, it would be disappointing to have to, to hear you without a British accent. I have a [inaudible] well there you go. Yes. Job security then.
(53:37): Exactly. Well, um, I hope that we can have another conversation in the future because it really is fun to speak to someone else who is as interested in longevity and [inaudible] increasing awareness for it and increasing the idea amongst people that we can do things that impact our health span. And we are really, you know, we, it's, I want to talk to people, I'll say to people all the time, you know, it doesn't, you don't need to wait around for, for a medical breakthrough or anything else, just start doing these things now. And so that by the time you get to 80, 90, you're happy about it. You know that you're not, it's not a miserable experience. You really are the ones at the helm and uh, there so much good science now behind small things that you can do to improve your health span. And I appreciate your sharing all of that. I appreciate your focus on longevity. Appreciate the fact that you've taken time to sit down and talk to me about it.
(54:37): Well, it's been a great pleasure and you're, you're doing great work as well and you're absolutely right. We do see the world in a very similar way and yes, there's lots of signs in the podcast and I think as I started by sewing, there's some great stories there as well. And if you want inspiration, just listen to some of the, Oh, the people that I've talked to on the podcast, the, you know, the 70 year old doctor who is still running marathons and living a great life, some really inspiring voices as well that did show us how we could be if we perhaps were just a little bit more mindful as to how we live our lives today.
(55:14): Yeah, absolutely. I appreciate it. And
(55:17): uh, we'll link everything in our show notes. Thank you so much. 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.
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