The Secrets of Longevity

happy old guyDo you want to live to be really old? Here’s a hint: Don’t die young.

A recent story out of the U.K. shares some actual long-life advice from the ultimate experts: the long lived. Amazingly, none of them had the benefit of CT scans or the latest pharmaceutical wonders for most of their decades.

My favorite bit of advice came from Gertrude Weaver, who died in 2015, less than 100 days shy of her 117th birthday.

She focused less on diet and more on outlook.

“Trusting in the Lord, hard work and loving everybody”

“Kindness. Treat people right and be nice to other people the way you want them to be nice to you.”

Those who did mention diet, didn’t spout off nutritional dogma. Nobody said, “I attempted to avoid saturated fats” or “I shunned triglycerides.” These women–and the long-lived are almost always women–seemed to eat what they liked. A Japanese lady enjoyed not just plentiful carbs from ramen noodles but also plentiful animal fats from red meats in the form of beef stew and hashed beef. A 119-year-old American extolled the benefits of milk chocolate turtles and potato chips. I’m sure both of those were organic.

One of the things I noticed in most of the examples was that these women had activities that they enjoyed. They indulged in needlepoint, painting, and pottery. In other words, they had something more worthwhile than reruns of Bewitched on TV to greet them when they rose in the morning.

Today, many people will outstrip the “three score and ten” years that the Bible speaks of as the lifespan of a human. The testimony of these who lived well past 110 is that there’s no magic diet. What would be truly sad, though, would be living such a long life and not having anything to show for it.

Watch TV, Kids, and Get Fat!

Shocking Scientific Finding: Kids who watch a lot of TV get fatter!

I’m being flippant. I wouldn’t blame you for thinking you’d like to change the channel on me. But the remote is across the room, so you’ll have to hear me out.

A new study suggests that kids who watch as much as one hour of TV a day have a significantly increased incidence of overweight and obesity.

“Children watching one to two hours were heavier than those watching less than one hour, and were almost as heavy as those watching greater than two hours daily,” the study’s author, Dr. Mark DeBoer of the University of Virginia, told Newsweek.

Why would this be, especially when playing video games and using the computer did not lead to similar increases. The researchers did not get to that result, but other studies have suggested that the steady barrage of (junk) food ads during children’s programming could account for some of the problem.

My experience suggests that the passivity of TV is a bigger key. It’s pretty tough to play XBox when you have your hand stuffed into a bag of Doritos, and typing while eating Cheetos leaves that orange crud all over the keyboard.

Stand up for Jesus (and yourself)

The people in my choir almost uniformly groan when the director asks them to stand up to sing a piece in rehearsal. “It’s too much trouble,” we seem to say.

At the risk of sounding boastful, I’ll claim that I never groan about standing. Normally I’m frustrated to be singing “Stand up, stand up for Jesus” with my keister firmly planted in the chair. Besides, I know that the 210 calories that I’ll burn during a 90-minute choir rehearsal would jump to about 270 if I were standing.


A recent news item reports a study performed at the Medical College of Wisconsin suggesting that every daily hour a person spends sitting increases their chances of developing heart disease by 14%. The skeptic in me wonders if those who have an 8-hour-a-day sitting job have a 112% chance of developing heart disease.

The participants all spent between two to 12 hours a day sitting at the office and in front of the television. The researchers concluded that for every hour spent sitting, the levels of deposit rose by 14 per cent.

It’s a wonder that those 12-hour sitters aren’t already dead. I’m not sure if this report reveals poor science or poor journalism–the latter, I would hope–but the basic idea makes sense. Far too many of us roll out of bed in the morning and then sit in the car (or on public transport) en route to a job where we mostly sit at a computer before heading back home to sit on a different computer or in front of the TV when we’re not sitting on the couch or at the table stuffing our faces with unhealthy food.

While the math of this report might not make a lot of sense, the basic idea is sound not just physiologically but spiritually. Do you serve God best while sitting down? Do you build up and preserve your body on the couch? Do you make the most of what you have been given from a perch in the La-Z Boy?

Stand up for Jesus, people. Stand up.