Operating at 95
Dr. Ellsworth Wareham is no ordinary surgeon. He was the chief cardiothoracic surgeon at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda, California for 22 years and retired in 1985 when he was 70 years old. He went back to the operating room four years later to assist in surgery, and 21 years later, at age 95, is still operating!
Dr. Wareham performs three to five procedures a week, and each operation takes between three to five hours.
"A lot of people keep telling me, 'Barbara, why don't you make him retire?'" Dr. Wareham's wife says. "You know, he's happy doing this."
"There's nothing more important in this life than having good health," Dr. Wareham says. "It's easy to do; you just pick up a few good habits at a time, and you not only live long, but you will live a good, enjoyable life at the same time."
Dr. Wareham reveals his secret to staying young!
"I think that authorities say that only about five to 10 percent of our longevity can be attributed to genes," Dr. Wareham says. "I think that I'm an example of that. My three grandparents died at 72 years of age. I take no medications of any kind."
Dr. Wareham stays active by gardening and doing housework. He built a two-story house when he was 80 years old and a fence when he was 90.
"I made [the house] purposefully two stories tall," Dr. Wareham says. "When I was building my house 15 years ago, I read an article that was put out by Stanford, and they said that if you climb a flight of stairs 20 times a week, you will decrease your incidence of heart disease by 46 percent. It's pretty hard to live in a two-story house and not climb the stairs three times a day, and that made 21 times a week. So that accounts for my two-story house, and I think it's helped keep me healthy."
Hoping for Healthier Habits
Pamela, 27, has concerns about her health. She has a family history of high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and two years ago she found out she had high cholesterol. She asks The Doctors for help for living healthier.
"The one thing I want to change the most is to do more exercising," Pamela says. "I have a [gym] membership, but I just don't have the motivation to go."
To help motivate Pamela and give her a kick-start to a healthy life, Jack LaLanne, known to generations as the "Godfather of Fitness", shares his secrets for longevity!
Can Location Determine Life Span?
Blue Zones are regions on earth where people have the longest life spans. Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest , explains that there are five Blue Zones in the world: Icaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California, where Dr. Wareham resides.
"These are places where people are reaching age 100, sometimes at rates 10 times greater than Americans are," Dan says.
"I think it has to do a lot with the environments," Dan continues. "As [Dr. Wareham] was pointing out, [he] never ran marathons or did triathlons, but he lives in an environment that nudges him into physical activity — walking the stairs, living in walk-able communities.
"[Residents of Blue Zones] have stress in their lives, but they have little tricks to shed stress," Dan adds. "They have a strong sense of purpose. None of them are on a diet. There's no such thing as a longevity diet, but they do tend to eat plants, and they have strategies to keep them from overeating. And then the big one, and I think it's about 50 percent of the formula for longevity, is how they connect. They tend to have religion in their life, they tend to put their family first and they hang out with the right types of people."
Dan explains that it is important to incorporate these principles in your life to live longer, but many people struggle to, as fewer than two percent of people will stick to a diet for more than two years or to an exercise program for more than five years. "The trick," he says, "is to create people's environments so they're nudged into it."