I have been interested in life extension since before I even finished growing. I started doing strength-building exercises with equipment from the age of 10 when my parents gave me a chest expander and a Powertwister (a thick metal coil which you bent to strength arms, forearms, and chest). I took up running from about the age of 12. While I have continued to do some running and cycling, my real enthusiasm has been weight training. On the nutrition side, I started taking vitamin supplements while I was at boarding school, so I can't have been more than 13 years old. By the age of 18 or 19 I had read Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw's Life Extension: A Practical Scientific Approach and I started taking a broader range of vitamins and other supplements. My interest in health and exercise predates my father's death when I was 11, so that can't explain much of it. My current life extension activities are below.
Choose the above link to go to my workout routine. In addition to the weight training routine here, I also do some running, either on the treadmill, or around the marina.
My father died of heart disease and lung problems, and both my older brothers have heart disease. Reducing my risk of heart disease is therefore likely to be the most productive way of living close to my genetic limit. If I can avoid dying early of heart disease or stroke, I may live long enough to see the time when the disease of aging has been cured. If that doesn't happen in time, I will be cryonically suspended, but I'd much rather stay outside the dewar and in control of my life. In this section of my web site, I am gathering information and links on heart disease and stroke. If you have suggestions for addition, I'd be glad to hear them.
Apart from the above exercise routine, I try to keep the saturated fat in my diet low, though I do like cheese more than is good for me. I do not smoke, I maintain a low body fat (a little over 10%), I am working on changing my personality so that I am less of the dangerous kind of Type A (and so have less cortisol released), and I take various nutritional supplements likely to help reduce my risks (see below). One area that I need to improve is my intake of soluble fiber.
As you might expect, the American Heart Association maintains an excellent web site for information on heart disease. A good place to start there is the Heart and Stroke A to Z Guide: http://www.amhrt.org/Heart_and_Stroke_A_Z_Guide/index.html
Nutritional supplements: In addition to trying to restrict my intake of saturated fats and trans-fatty acids, I take those nutritional supplements for which I judge there is some reasonable supporting their efficacy in reducing risk of heart disease. This means particularly taking plenty of vitamins C and E, as well as Coenzyme Q10. I eat a lot of garlic (practically everyday) and fish, so I don't feel the need to take supplements of these. The Life Extension Foundation suggests a number of other supplements that may be protective of the heart. Some of these work by inhibiting the oxidation of serum cholesterol, others by inhibiting the formation of atherogenic homocysteine. You can find the list with explanations at: http://lef.org/protocols/prtcl-015.shtml
You can test your "Healthy Heart I.Q." with a test at the HealthTouch site: http://healthtouch.com/level1/nhlbi/nhlbh007.htm
Recent news (in 1997) of the first successful gene therapy trial is encouraging for
sufferers of blocked arteries. Scientists have successfully used gene therapy in humans,
growing new blood vessels to bypass plaque-clogged arteries in the legs of 16 people (out
of the 20 experimented on). The gene is grown in the lab then injected into a patient's
leg muscles. Existing blood vessels get the message to generate new blood vessels. The
therapy, called therapeutic angiogenesis, will soon be tried on clogged heart arteries.
Scientists have also reported testing of genetic engineering to prevent the reblockage that occurs in
up to half of all people who undergo bypass surgery to open up clogged arteries leading to
For the story see: http://www.msnbc.com/news/122574.asp