You know what they say: “Life is short. Don’t make it shorter.” Generally that advice precedes a list of your favorite foods with the admonition to stop eating them with the goal of extending your life.
Truth is, not everyone actually wants to live to be 100. As Ezekiel J. Emanuel so righteously asked in The Atlantic in 2014, won’t you actually have lived enough by age 75? While death is certainly a loss, living too long is also a loss, he wrote. “It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.”
So with the acknowledgment that not everyone wants to be a centenarian ― and a H/T to Men’s Fitness ― here are some things you can do to shave a few years off the big 100:
1. Keep your balls intact.
A 1969 study published in the Journal of Gerontology said that testicle-free men live longer than those who still have everything attached. As one guy put it, “That means you’re likely to get a few more years to reflect on your fate.”
The study looked at more than 1,000 inmates at a Kansas mental institution, some of whom had been castrated. The castrated inmates lived an average of 13.6 years longer than those who still had everything in place, and the younger someone was castrated the longer they tended to live.
A study of eunuch guards in Korea from as far back as the 1500s reached the same conclusion, with the guards living an average of 14-19 years longer than other men.
So in the interests of cutting things off before you reach 100, don’t let those surgeons anywhere near your package.
2. Give up those three lattes a day.
Only people who want to live longer should drink coffee. A study found that drinking coffee could lower your risk of death, and that’s not exactly our goal here, remember?
In what’s been called the largest ever study of coffee, researchers at the National Institutes of Health found that after 13 years, men who drank two to three cups of coffee a day had a 10 percent lower chance of dying, compared to men who didn’t drink coffee. Women who drank the same amount had a 13 percent decreased risk.
Coffee drinkers also had a lower risk of dying from specific diseases, such as respiratory disease, heart disease, diabetes, as well as injuries and accidents.
3. Keep being your old pessimistic self.
Who are all these people who insist the glass is half-full? They need to shut up already. The University of Illinois found that optimistic people have healthier hearts, and significantly better blood sugar and cholesterol levels than their counterparts, according to a paper that appeared in the January/February 2015 issue of Health Behavior and Policy Review.
Optimists live longer; don’t be an optimist.
4. Just sit down.
Enough with the standing desks and the bicycle chairs that go under them. What those people who stand up at work all day really want to do is just look down on the rest of us, am I right? People who sit on their behinds all day are at higher risk for bad health results.
An Indiana University study recommended that people whose jobs have them sitting for long periods get up and take a five-minute walk every hour. The assumption here is that when these standers-walkers live longer, they’ll have plenty of time to sit later on.
5. Spend more time with your annoying relatives.
There’s a Spanish proverb that loosely translated goes like this: “An ounce of blood is worth more than a pound of friendship.” This could be the motto of the Anti-Centenarian Club. McGill University researchers found that time spent with family members (presumably the ones you don’t like) increases your chance of an early death, while time spent with friends decreases it by 7 percent.
Good news: Thanksgiving will be here before you know it!