Ep. 135 – Longevity and Health Part II : What You Can Do
Welcome to our Becoming Your Best podcast wherever you might be in the world today. This is Steve Shallenberger your host and this is the second instalment of a podcast that I gave not long ago on longevity and health. So we’ll call this Longevity and Health Part Two and What You Can Do. Now Becoming Your Best: The 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders are a set of principles based on deep research that leads to high performance within our own lives and also within our teams. Each one of these principles, as they come together and work together creates a chemistry of excellence, something really quite magical. Each one of them really is quite significant but even more extraordinary is how they work together and the predictable result that it produces.
Today, we’re going to talk about principle number 11 which is to live in peace and balance. Now what this really means is to live a life in such a way that you’re at peace that can maximize your happiness and joy in life. Have a high level of energy and maximize your health and longevity for a long period of time. Some years ago while living in Spain, I met one of the founders of the Lladró Ceramics company who makes the beautiful figurines. I was visiting with Jose Lladró and his wife. He was about 84 years old at the time.
The question came up of what is more important. Jose said he and his wife had had an ongoing “argument” over the years, 30 years, of what was more important in life. She said it was health, he said it was happiness. And they looked at our dignitary visitor who was the leader of an International Church, Gordon Hinckley, and he looked right back at them, this man is so amazing, he said, “You’re both right.” Jose Lladró laughed, and said, “You are right.”
Well, not long ago, I did this first podcast on longevity and health, which was the result of having discussions and involvement with four different world-class physicians. These are great healers, each one in their own right, that are recognized as authorities on this subject. It was really quite extraordinary. So I’m going to come back and just give a quick summary of what they recommended that you could do to have longevity and health. Since that time, we have received quite a bit of feedback on this subject with some additional questions. So I’d like to address a couple of those questions.
I mean, just think about the cost of health care. It has absolutely skyrocketed over the last 10, 20 or 30 years. The impact of ill health, health setbacks and injury are devastating, disrupting both your personal and your professional life. So the stakes here are really quite high when it comes to talking about health. This principle, like each of the other 11 principles of the highly successful leaders, does have a huge impact on our overall success and happiness. I mean, simply our ability to get up in the day and to go to work and to interact with other people. So to the degree that we master these principles, the impact of your ripple in life becomes a legacy that influences generations to come, including your friends, associates, and family. Indeed, as you master these principles, they are intergenerational.
So you may ask yourself, “Okay, what can I do to minimize health risk? And what can I do to maximize my longevity, health and happiness?” So let’s just discuss two aspects of what you can do. So first, I’ll provide a brief overview of what I covered in much more detail in the previous podcast about this subject. But then we’ll shift gears into a few mechanics of biomarkers to be aware of and simple tests so that you can rule out life threatening health risks. So the overall view of practices and habits that really produces this greater longevity and health will be the focus today.
So let’s go ahead and start with a quick recap from Dr. Russell Jaffe, Dr. Maoshing Ni. These are all really terrific, awesome individuals. Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Majid Fotuhi. Each one of them talk on this subject. So, as I’ve studied each of them in depth, had the chance to visit with them, I noticed that there were about six or seven things they all recommended in common. Each one has a few other things to be mindful of, but these are the real biggies that you and I can do to be sure that we are maximizing our longevity and our health.
All right, here they go. Number one is to get fit. So that’s a big one. Exercising 15 to 30 minutes a day will help us do that. The second, across the board, is having a healthy diet. So for example, a Mediterranean type diet, but really focusing on a diet that’s easy to love. That’s the big deal because if you have a diet that you just hate, it’s not going to work. So number one, be sure that you have a good level of fitness. Regular exercise. Number two is that you have a healthy diet. Number three is to learn new things and particularly reading books regularly or listening to new concepts. These things stimulate the mind.
The next that is common, number four, is to have good stress control in your life and also to sleep well. This again is across the board, another big one, is to have regular good adequate sleep. It’s going to vary a little bit between each person. There’s a very small percent of the population that can get by on four hours sleep. I think it’s like less than 4%. That means 96% of us need more than that. Generally agreed upon is seven to eight hours. But whatever it takes to help you wake up refreshed and ready to go, and you have to gauge that by yourself. For some people, it might be 10 hours.
The next one, this would be number five…So number one, get fit. Number two, a healthy diet. Number three, learn new things. Number four is to have good stress control and to sleep well. Number five is to meditate. This is where you take time to really center yourself, to get at peace, to reflect upon your blessings, to feel gratitude. One of the things we like to do is chair flying, which is to close your eyes, and when you have a plan all set up, just walk yourself through the plan in advance, anticipating things that may come up to push you off of the plan and that you do it with ease. But this is meditation and coming to a center of peace so that it really energizes you and helps you throughout all the rest.
The last one is to have a purpose including strong relationships so that you can enjoy the journey. I liked what Dr. Oz said. He said, “Your heart needs a reason to keep beating.” So there are the seven right there. Get fit, healthy diet, learn new things regularly, stress control and sleep well, meditate and have a purpose. So that was six, the six big ones. I know that there’s a seventh one and that’s the one we’re going to talk about now. That’s the one that I’m adding and that is to live life safely. So have fun, but no unnecessary risks. So in other words, when you’re driving, it’s the three second rule, three seconds between you and the car in front of you. Always look before changing lanes and use safe speeds. So those are the seven things, and we’ll come back and wrap up the review one more time so that we have them fresh in mind.
Now here is part two, the greater focus today that I want to add in this podcast. That is that there are simple tests that alert you to concerns that will protect your health. In today’s world, the biggest threats to life and health are cancer, coronary disease and really inflammation which can attack your body at different ways. So the sooner that you can catch a problem, the better off that you are of maintaining better health. So for example, about a year and a half ago with the Young Presidents’ Organization, YPO, we went up to our local university, University of Utah, which happens to be one of the leaders in DNA mapping, genome mapping, because there’s so much family history done in this area. You can track it back to generations and correlate it to health. So you really have some of the world’s leaders in this field.
So we actually did an exome genome testing, a reading of our DNA. It was interesting because we had the specialist as we went through the evening from the different disciplines at the university as it related to DNA and the mapping of the DNA and how it could help detect potential risk to you through the mutations in the DNA and the gene. So one of those examples had to do with colon cancer. One of the doctors came in and said, “Listen, historically, if you had colon cancer, your chance of surviving is not very high. It’s like 20%. So once it gets hold, it is a deadly disease.” He said, “But through the genome mapping of your DNA, if there’s a mutation that tells us that there’s an alert to colon cancer,” he said, “we can screen for that, do regular colonoscopies and we can take that risk and drive it all the way to 0.” My goodness, that was amazing. The way that you can do that is you go in and you have your regular testing and if there’s polyps, you can clip them out. So it’s a game changer.
So what are those few things that you can do that helps improve your ability to detect these type of things that could be life threatening? So I’m just going to give you a few. One of them is a very simple test. I sit on a hospital board. And this is how I became aware of this. This hospital was offering what is called a coronary calcium test. What this does is actually by measuring the calcium, and it’s really targeting the arteries, it will tell you what concern there may be for clogged arteries. So based on where you score, what the factor is on the calcium test, it tells you what the risk is. It starts at zero, goes up to 400. It’s an inexpensive test, by the way overall. The place I took it was $95 and that was for two people. That’s a great price, two for one. Well, at any rate, I did take it. It gives you four different ranges. As you move up through the range towards 400, it becomes more severe. Well, it turns out that mine was at 4, which is really great. I mean, that’s the very lowest end of the spectrum, which I was thrilled to hear. So you just rule out one more thing. My sister, my older sister, decided she and her husband would go take it. She incredibly was at 0. Oh my goodness, that was really good news for her. Had another friend who was the senior partner at an accounting firm, his was 160. So he was so glad that he went, able to go in and really see what that meant.
Now, Dr. Mao, that I talked about earlier, has suggested another thing that you can do in this very same vein to rule out any type of a coronary disease, is to go in and have a…your C-A-R-O-T-I-D, carotid artery sonogram. Okay, say that 10 times. I could say that before. At any rate, you take the carotid artery sonogram and it can tell if there’s any obstructions in the arteries. So I’m going to do this one. It’s a simple one to take. Another one is a periodic colonoscopy.
So a periodic colonoscopy. It depends whether you have polyps or not, how frequent that needs to be taken but after 40 or 50 years old, it would be every 10 years unless you have some concern that pops up and it’s every five years. It could be more frequent if you’re high risk. So this is one that really, it is such a sad thing to hear when somebody has colon cancer because it is so deadly. Once it becomes more fully developed, it’s very difficult to stop. So this is something that is so preventative.
And the last one that I’m going to suggest here is just regular periodic exams with your physicians. So these are four added things that we can do in addition to the previous seven that I suggested that are easy. You just take them. They’re physical things and they’re indicators that yes or no and you have them out of the way and they can give you a great deal of peace or comfort. One other that I had to chuckle a little bit about and that is that for males you can take a pregnancy test and it may indicate cancer if it tests positive. It’s a simple test to take. It’s not foolproof. It’s a little bit controversial but there is a hormone that’s produced particularly in the testicles that is heightened. And so this is such an easy one to test. If you take it and it’s positive, then you want to really take a much closer look at this. I did do this a few weeks ago. Went down to the pharmacy. There are several people there standing around the register and I said, “Hey, where are the pregnancy tests?” Man, they looked at me like, “Okay, well, who’s this for?” Well, any of that was good to take.
Now here’s the next part of things you just want to pay attention to, biomarkers. By the way, all of this is written down that comes along with this podcast since there’s a written transcript of the podcast, so you can just print out these few things and put them on your radar. Here are just a few biomarkers to pay attention to that are an indicator of long term health. I’ll give you the marker. I’ve actually put this on a worksheet. So I do have as I’ve talked about regular periodic exams every six months to a year. Earlier in my life, they were once a year but they create a benchmark for you on your various key biomarkers. If there’s ever anything that pops up, you just spot it quickly.
So here are the few particularly recommended by these four doctors that I’ve talked about earlier. One is the LPa, it’s Little Particle a. So you want to take a look at that one. Number two is your A1C. What you’re really looking for is kind of a three month average of your glucose and this helps you measure your sugar levels, insulin and energy. The marker here you’re looking for is less than 5%. That’s where it should be in that range. Here’s the next biomarker to be aware of is your C-Reactive Protein Levels, because if they’re at a high level, it can indicate inflammation and it’s the inflammation that can be a risk in many different areas in your life. We just want to stay away from that. Not only does it put you at risk and it can be painful and life threatening. So you want your C-Reactive Protein Levels to be less than .5 mg/L. Megagrams over, I think, it’s per liter there.
The next one is, it’s good to have micronutrient blood test and what you’re looking for there is your thyroid marker. It should be one to two or less. We just have a couple more of these. I don’t want to bore you but they’re the key ones and good for us to think about and probably never hear us talk about this again. But these are them for our whole life. That is your Omega-3 Index. The Omega-3 Index should generally be about a three to six ratio. This essentially is measuring your essential fatty acids and they should be greater than 8%.
I got two more to wrap it up with and that is the vitamin D. What this does is, the vitamin D determines the level impacts of cell communication and how that seems to be flowing. It should be in the range of 50-80 ng/mL. The last one is just know your blood pressure, which should be in the range of 115/75, your weight and your percent of body fat. The percent of body fat as you look at these, I’ve charted these on an Excel sheet, should be less than 25% of your body fat mass. And then that helps you determine what your weight level should be to keep you in that range. And those are them. That’s it. These are really the key things to be aware of to maintain, not only a short term health, be sure we’re at peak energy, peak health but also to maintain our longevity and good health over time.
So there you have it, folks. Once again, I’ll just remind you that these things will be written down, you can just print off a couple of sheets and highlight them. As we wrap up, I’ll give a few reminders of how we can implement these. But they really help us put these into action. The result of doing this is greater longevity and health. It’s greater peace of mind, energy and vitality and the opportunity to maximize your health over a long period of time. So what action can you take?
Well, number one is that you can take this information that we’ve been talking about today, certainly do your own research on it and tone it up and poke through it and be sure that you refine your philosophy. But you should have this really zeroed in, of how this impacts your life. So action number one is, you can be sure that these health ideas are reflected in your personal vision. In other words, I am a fit person, I stay healthy. I have a good diet, I regularly get good sleep. So seeing just a few words. I am a hungry learner. I’m always learning new things. I read books all the time. I meditate and I have a purpose in life, the keys that helps me wake up each day excited. So saying just a few words, you can make these things that we’ve been talking about today a part of your personal vision.
But not only that, they can be reflected in your annual goal. So we talk about setting up SMART goals. So under fitness, it could be to do 3000 sit ups and pushups during the year. It could be to exercise 15 minutes a day, 20 days a month or whatever. You know, you have a little latitude but it keeps you on track overall and you can really narrow these down into annual goals that become part of a plan to cause your vision to be a reality.
Last of all, when you do pre-week planning, which you can do through the Becoming Your Best planner, and it has a format where you can just sit down during the weekend and you write down your roles at the top, and then what actions can you take this week that matter most, and then these are reflected in your calendar where you just write down when will we do them? This is where the rubber meets the road. So if you have a goal to do exercise 15 minutes a day, when will you do it. So under the role of personal, you would put exercise five times.
Mine is a little more than that. Mine is typically 30 to 45 minutes. So I say, here’s my schedule, I’m looking at it for the week, when is the best time? So this is where we win the battles, right here in pre-week planning and we get her sketched out so we know we have a high likelihood of making these a part of our life. Then having these in a place, will help you really put these health practices as a consistent part of your life. So that’s one thing that you can do, one action that you can take to be sure that these are in your vision, annual goals and pre-week planning.
So let me just review these one last time today. Let’s see if you’ve got them. There are seven things we recommended that you can do to maximize health and longevity and really defy aging in the words of Dr. Fotuhi and that is, get fit, have a healthy diet, learn new things, that’s number three. Sleep well and control your stress. That’s number four. Number five is to meditate. Number six is to have a purpose. In other words, your heart needs a reason to keep beating, and number seven is live life safely. Have fun, but no unnecessary risk. If you’re driving, the three second rule. Look before changing lanes. When the light turns green, look both ways. So that’s seven things we can put into our vision and goals.
Then we added part two today, and that is to consider these screen, these tests that you can take. The coronary calcium tests, the colonoscopy, the carotid artery sonogram. And then of course, a regular exam with your physician and then paying attention to your biomarkers. These key few things that are good to be aware of, those are the indicators. So that’s the first thing you can take action on.
Now, the second thing that I’ve found really helpful, particularly over time, is to be sure that you have invested in your own copy of Becoming Your Best: The 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders because the power is in the principles, it’s not in me or anyone else. It’s the principles that are timeless and universal and they produce a predictable result. And so, part of that result is greater happiness, health and personal fulfillment as you make a becoming your best type contribution. These things, the 12 principles, directly affect the things we’ve been talking about today because they allow you to seize the day and be able to put them into your day-to-day life.
So another thing that you can do along with this idea of being sure you have one, is to give a gift of this book to your spouse, a partner, children and fellow workers. Maybe the third action item is that you could work on the principles together. One principle per week and then you move on to the next. If you do that that’s 12 weeks and the 13th week, you can step back and assess how you’re doing and then start over. By doing this, you can go through each principle four times per year. It’s a simple process, but it is invigorating and you can invite each other to teach these, so you’re all engaging together.
So if you do not receive this weekly principle via email or some other electronic media, we’re happy to provide you with the principle a week so it creates a pathway to do it. It has inspiring stories and potential action steps. Only takes five minutes to go through this. But if you would like to be sure you’re setup on that, just contact us through email@example.com. That’s firstname.lastname@example.org and our team will set you up on these principles a week for free. No charge to you. Okay, well this has been great being able to visit together with you today. This is something that strikes at the very core of all of our success. These are steps that you can take to step up your game, your health and unleashing the greatest potential that you have and that those in your life have, your fellow associates and family members. The resulting influence is one that grows throughout your life and is passed down from generation to generation to create a magic of excellence and fulfillment.
Remember, every day you are making a difference and we wish you all the best in that wonderful breathtaking journey. This is Steve Shallenberger your host from Becoming Your Best Global Leadership, wishing you a great day.