1. Do not smoke (Heavy use of tobacco is ten
times more prevalent among the prematurely dead);
2. Do not drink alcohol excessively (DUI; alcoholism
destroys marriages too);
3. Do not do drugs (Mind-altering, addictive
drugs are life shortening; epidemiological studies of withdrawal reveal that
about half the risk for addiction is inherited in genes controlling the
4. Do not gamble (neither casino-style gambling
nor “harmless” Lottos);
5. Do not incur excessive debts (by
continuously spending beyond your means);
6. Remain faithful (to your spouse); or, if not
married, practice “safe sex” (Happy/Well people are six times more
likely to be in a good marriages than Sad/Sick people);
7. Avoid obesity (A major risk factor for
8. Avoid extreme sports (Sky diving, Bunge
jumping, Race-car driving, Professional football, Boxing, Down-hill skiing, or
Marathon running — all too risky);
9. Avoid auto accidents: Drive defensively, no
speeding, no cell phones on the freeway [not even hands free], wear seat belts,
stay out of heavy traffic, if you can);
10. Do not keep a loaded revolver in the house,
especially if there are children around. If needed, a gun’s ammunition must be
who observed four or more of the above restrictions at the age of 50 were
one-third less likely to be dead by age 80.
Persons who ignored three or more by age 50 – even if they were in
otherwise good physical shape were three times as likely to die during the next
30 years .
But doesn’t life get to be miserable if one scrupulously follows all these boring
rules? Not really.
Many of the prohibitions in the list above could be characterized as
gratuitous, since proselytizers have been urging us to conform for a long time
and, being largely “common sense,” it doesn’t require much expertise
to recommend them to others. In fact, writing these lists was a little embarrassing for me, lest I be lumped together
with the likes of Dr. Ruth, Dr. Laura, Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Ms.
Suzanne Somers, or other assorted new-age gurus of the self-help
establishment. This group is not my favorite.
But don’t forget, I consider these only as a way to “bridge” one’s self
through the next [20 – 30] years, which is what I believe it will take to get
us to the really important scientific breakthroughs that are expected and may
ultimately reverse the aging process at a truly fundamental level. If meaningful discoveries arrive on schedule,
it won’t help us much if we’re not around to enjoy them.
– Written by Dr. L. Stephen Coles, 2012