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Dr. Peter Attia, renowned for his work at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Hospital and the National Institutes of Health, has released a new book on longevity science, titled Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity (we introduced Peter in our April 9th newsletter). Attia presents the concept of a “Centenarian Decathlon”, a framework through which readers can view their inevitable physical decline as an opportunity for greater self-understanding.
Outlive not only provides a comprehensive guide to the science of embracing decline, but also suggests specific strategies and plans to help readers make the most of their later years. With this book, Attia reveals how the knowledge of decline can be used as a tool for personal growth and embracing mortality.
Attia’s sample Centenarian Decathlon is noteworthy not only for having a mix of events traditionally associated with exercise, but also those actions we often overlook in our younger years.
This comprehensive decathlon, consisting of both physical and lifestyle elements, is designed to provide the opportunity for vitality and longevity:
- Hike 1.5 miles on a hilly trail.
- Get up off the floor under your own power, using a maximum of one arm for support.
- Pick up a young child from the floor.
- Carry two five-pound bags of groceries for five blocks.
- Lift a twenty-pound suitcase into the overhead compartment of a plane.
- Balance on one leg for thirty seconds, eyes open. (Bonus points: eyes closed, fifteen seconds.)
- Have sex.
- Climb four flights of stairs in three minutes.
- Open a jar.
- Do thirty consecutive jump-rope skips.
It is important you make your own top 10 list of physical achievements you want to maintain into your later years. Attia’s above list could be swapped with comparable activities you enjoy, such as instead hiking for 1.5 miles, you could swap it with a round of 18 holes of golf. Or if you do not like to fly and lift luggage, you can change it to carrying 20 pounds of dirt to your garden. Here is a recent Rich Roll and Peter Attia podcast interview that goes intro greater detail of the centenarian decathlon if you do not have time to read his book.
Above, a portrait Tom took of a centenarian for a centenarian calendar.
Tom/Allison and Peter all agree that the key to living a long and happy life is to remain active and in good health.
So, why not take some time to think about the types of physical activities you want to be able to do for the rest of your life? Make a top ten list and start on it today. You’ll be thankful you did it later in life when you are in your 80’s, 90’s, and even beyond!
Until next week, Age and Prosper!