I'm A Longevity Expert: Here Are My Nonnegotiables To Live To 200
Sergey Young has made it his personal mission to live to 200. Seriously: The longevity expert, founder of the Longevity Vision Fund, and author of The Science and Technology of Growing Young, has dedicated his entire career to helping at least 1 billion people live long, healthy lives—and make these technological advances affordable and accessible for all.
Through his work, he has identified what he calls lifestyle "longevity buckets" to increase your lifespan and healthspan (because who wants to live to 200 with a low quality of life?). "By implementing them, we can add 10, 20 healthy and happy years to our life," he says on this episode of the mindbodygreen podcast. "We can easily live 200 years."
Sign us up: Young explains the five buckets, below:
Get annual checkups.
For bucket No. 1, Young stresses the importance of annual health checkups. "We shouldn't delay our annual checkups, and they should be as comprehensive as possible," he says. That's because identifying issues (should they arise) as early as possible is the best way to tackle them before they affect your quality of life; in fact, he says, "Treating someone in preventive ways is 10 to 20 times cheaper and much more successful recovery-wise than reacting to health emergencies."
He adds that the health space has seen quite a lot of development in its ability to identify early-stage health issues, so you should take advantage of that by getting your annual screens and tests each year, if you can. See here for seven blood tests you can ask for at your annual physical.
Don't do stupid things.
"No. 2, I call 'Don't do stupid things,'" says Young. For example, 'I really cannot understand people who [smoke tobacco] because tobacco smoking [takes] 10 years from your lifespan." Another instance that makes his skin crawl? When people don't wear seatbelts. In other words: Try to avoid the simple risks that can easily shave years off your life.
"It's extremely important to be mindful about the choices that you make in life," he adds. "Life is too beautiful for us to shorten it."
View food as medicine.
The next bucket is one of the very pillars here at mbg: Treat food as fuel for your health. "You just need to work with the balance of your diet in terms of fats and healthy proteins," says Young. He personally prefers a plant-based eating plan ("I probably eat meat once every two weeks," he says), but when he does consume animal products, he's "always looking at the sources."
If you can, he recommends opting for clean, grass-fed meat and wild-caught fish free of antibiotics. But the bulk of his diet for longevity, he notes, is one that is "heavily plant-based." (Here are our favorite plant-based recipes for longevity, in case you're curious.)
Do physical activity.
According to Young, exercising for longevity is more about consistency than reaching a certain metric. Rather than fluctuating between extreme training and a largely sedentary lifestyle, he recommends doing some form of cardio every day (think 30 to 45 minutes, if you can) to get your heart pumping and your vascular system flowing. "Any movement is good," he adds. "So let's just make sure we integrate it into our daily and weekly routine."
He also touts the importance of a daily walk: "The beauty of walking is that you don't need to dedicate a lot of time to it. You can integrate it into your healthy lifestyle," he says.
Achieve peace of mind.
The last bucket is what Young calls peace of mind. "It's a combination of sleep, meditation, socialization, and a sense of purpose," he says. At mbg, we've discussed how each affects your lifespan: In fact, sleep1, purpose2, loneliness3, and stress4 have all been clinically shown to affect longevity.
In terms of shut-eye, "My rule is eight hours in the bed, seven hours of sleep," Young offers, but he suggests maximizing deep, quality sleep (because it's not just about clocking hours). "When people ask me what they can change in the next two weeks, I'm always advising them to run on vegetables and give your body and mind enough sleep," Young adds. "The transformation that you can do in two or three weeks is really amazing."
With these five (surprisingly simple!) longevity buckets, Young asserts that anyone can add happy, healthy years to their life—and who knows, maybe you'll even reach the 200-year milestone.