Empowering ourselves for the future requires learning new skills, as well as honing the ones we already have. In my last book, The Memory Prescription, I showed how we could jumpstart our brain and body fitness by focusing on four of the basic essentials: achieving mental sharpness, physical fitness, a healthy diet, and stress reduction. Now, in The Longevity Bible, I outline my entire program -- all Eight Essentials -- to allow every one of us to achieve our own maximum, quality longevity in every area of our lives. These essential strategies include keys to keeping a positive outlook, maintaining healthy relationships, getting the most out of modern medicine, and adapting and flourishing in a changing environment.
We'll look at the science behind the Eight Essentials, as well as simple and practical ways for integrating them into our daily lives. When practiced together, these Eight Essentials create a synergy that achieves positive results faster and far more effectively than could be achieved by working them individually. Scientific evidence shows that keeping a positive outlook (Essential 1) helps us live longer and healthier. In a recent study, positive and satisfied middle-aged people were twice as likely to survive over 20 years compared to more negative individuals. Optimists have fewer physical and emotional difficulties, experience less pain, enjoy higher energy levels, and are generally happier and calmer in their lives. Positive thinking has been found to boost the body's immune system so we can better fight infection.
It's much easier to maintain a positive attitude when we enjoy good health, and the best way to ensure that is by eating a healthy diet and staying physically fit. With so many fitness options available, there is bound to be something that appeals to just about everybody. Along with the basics of tennis, jogging, cycling, swimming and yoga, many people are getting fit with Pilates, weight training, Bosu ball, spinning, Salsa dancing, ballet barre, trail running, and more. Essential 7 will introduce the Longevity Bible Fitness Routine, which covers cardiovascular conditioning, balance and flexibility work, and strength training -- the three vital fitness areas for maximizing health, boosting energy levels, and preventing many age-related diseases. Recent research has found that regular physical activity can add two or more years to life expectancy.
When we feel good, it boosts our self-confidence, which leads us to have better relationships (Essential 3). The MacArthur Study of Successful Aging found that people who are socially connected may survive up to 20 percent longer than those who are more isolated. Today we have many tools to help us connect with others, shore up self-doubt, as well as make ourselves feel and look younger and more beautiful, through medical and non-medical techniques. Despite the myth that libido declines with age, several scientific studies have found that our desire and need for sex continues throughout our lives. A healthy sex life at every age helps lower blood pressure, reduce stress, ward off depression, boost the immune system, diminish pain, maintain physical fitness, and even extend life expectancy.