Dr. Robert Butler, who passed away in 2010, was the head of the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health and founder of the International Longevity Center (it’s worth a trip to surf over to http://www.ilcusa.org). In May 2010, he published The Longevity Prescription: The 8 Proven Keys to a Long, Healthy Life. Even at age 83, he practiced what he preached and was regarded as a preeminent authority on aging and longevity.
Here is a brief summary of the eight principles Dr. Butler suggested will help us to lead longer, healthier lives, particularly in the retirement years:
- Don’t smoke.
- Drink very modestly.
- Get sufficient sleep.
- Manage your stress.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Engage in a variety of exercise regimes (aerobic, strength, and balance).
- Stay in touch with friends and family.
- Identify a purpose in life you can be passionate about, such as a second career in retirement.
All of the eight principles are backed up by proven research, with the goal of balancing good physical health with emotional well-being. Dr. Butler’s book includes a straightforward action plan readers can easily customize to their personal situations and needs.
As you look at the eight principles, notice the mix of physical health/activities (five principles) with emotional health/activities (three principles). Undergirding the costs of maintaining these principles is your retirement wealth, especially if Dr. Butler’s longevity prescription leads to two or three decades of retirement years. Hence it’s important to preserve a strong balance between the three key areas in retirement living: health, wealth and happiness. As you map out the plans for your retirement years, be sure to include strategies for all three areas.