Want to Live Forever?

By Bruce Firestone | Uncategorized

Dec 22

Me neither. As a guy who just turned 65 and still works 3,000 hours per year to make a living and provide for his famdamily, the thought of living forever turns me right off.

I love that song by Toronto band the Strumbellas, Spirits, which includes this beautiful

piece of poetry:

And I don’t want a never ending life
I just want to be alive while I’m here 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9kXstb9FF4?feature=oembed&enablejsapi=1&origin=https://safe.txmblr.com&wmode=opaque&w=540&h=304]

Still, I need to keep on going for a while yet.

So what’s one of the secrets to a longer, healthier life?

It ain’t what you are expecting.

It’s the humble staircase. That’s right. I advise my clients (young as well as old) to buy personal residences that include as many stairs as possible.

This is contrary to what most realtors are telling their clients. Many of them say, “Well, you’re nearly 50 so maybe you should consider a bungalow…”

Big mistake IMHO.

Here’s an excerpt from a Harvard Health Publications report, August 2009, https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/Walking-Your-steps-to-health:

Climbing to health

Walking on streets and trails is superb for health. And so is walking up stairs. Coaches, cardiologists, and housewives have long been in on the secret of stairs. Many football coaches “ask” their players to charge up flight after flight of stadium steps to get in shape, and other competitive athletes put gymnasium stairwells to similar use. In the days before stress testing held sway, doctors would often walk up stairs with their patients to check out cardiopulmonary function. Even today, cardiologists tell heart patients they are fit enough to have sex if they can walk up two or three flights comfortably, and surgeons may clear patients for lung operations if they can manage five or six flights. As for housewives, taking care of a two- or three-story home is one reason American women outlive their husbands by an average of more than five years.

What’s so special about stairs? Researchers in Canada answered the question by monitoring 17 healthy male volunteers with an average age of 64 while they walked, lifted weights, or climbed stairs. Stair climbing was the most demanding. It was twice as taxing as brisk walking on the level and 50% harder than walking up a steep incline or lifting weights. And peak exertion was attained much faster climbing stairs than walking, which is why nearly everyone huffs and puffs going upstairs, at least until the “second wind” kicks in after a few flights.

So if you can’t afford a health club membership or even if you can, here’s all you need to extend your life, strengthen your core, improve your aerobic capacity and even your brain function (https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/03/11/taking-stairs-young-brain_n_9439012.html):


I do the equivalent of 15+ flights a day, some of them carrying 20 lbs of extra weight. Obviously, a young person can do many times this with much more weight but whatever…

Keep going brothers and sisters!

Anyway, this is about the cheapest form of exercise you can get, especially if you live in a cold weather, northern shelf city like Ottawa, where folks are shut in for 4 or 5 months a year.

A WHO study I read a few years back looked for common factors amongst people who live to 100+. The usual suspects showed up… non smokers, higher incomes, marrieds (especially for men), not too much alcohol, regular checkups, watching their diet,

clean environment, forest bathing (I added this last one—it’s a Japanese thing—getting
young people and elders out of cities to breathe forest air)… but one thing came up that they didn’t expect–the fact that many elders over 100 continued to do stairs for a very long time.

Our former neighbors, both in their 90s, live in a condo townhouse that requires stairs to do practically anything. It is four stories high with three sets of full-flight staircases.

They think nothing of getting in their RV every summer and heading off to the wilds of Alaska… alone for weeks at a time.

The reason they can still do this?

I don’t need to tell you, you already know.

@ profbruce @ quantum_entity

Spread The Word

About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.