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Plan your retirement for better heart health
Are you dreaming of retiring to the coast ?
Do you see yourself whiling away your time,
- taking long walks on the beach with a dog ?
- Skinny dipping at midnight ?
- Falling asleep to the rhythmic lapping of waves, versus zooming motorways
- sea breezes, sand castles
Well it might be time to rethink those retirement plans.
Best place to retire ?
If you’ve got the finances to pack up and move, you want to move UP in the world, not down.
It seems………..living at high altitude is the ultimate HEART HEALTH MOVE, high living reduces your risk of dying from heart disease.
Considering the value of a high life
Researchers from the University of Colorado have spent the last four years pouring over death certificates from across the US.
They considered all the usual stuff
- What the person died of
- How old they were
- How rich/poor they were
AND….. how high they were i.e. the altitude.
Top floor living is good for the heart
The analysis revealed the best place to live long and prosper, and avoid heart disease was in the mountains. The Colorado mountains to be precise.
Winning boroughs were all above 5 967 feet. In these areas, on average, men lived between 75.8 and 78.2 years, while women’s life expectancy on average, ranged from 80.5 to 82.5 years, which was a couple of years longer than those stuck at sea level.
The big disclaimer…
Frail lungs won’t like it
The death certificate analysis did identify a caveat to the GO HIGH recommendation. It is good for the heart but bad for the lungs.
People with lung issues need to proceed with caution at higher elevations. Altitudes above 4,900 feet, were detrimental to those suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Lessons from the high flyers
The point of the research was not to identify prime real estate, but to look for clues about what environments might be cardio protective.
And to then apply this information to other environments to help everyone have better heart health.
So… what is special about higher altitudes ?
More sun less air
More sun at altitude
There is also more sun at higher elevations. No, don’t confuse SUN with HOT – it can be quite nippy in the mountains.
But being closer to the sun, does mean more solar radiation – which could mean more vitamin D.
And vitamin D can get your blood vessels “Bending like Beckham” which relieves some of the pressure on old hearts.
Less air at altitude
The other thing about mountains, is they always have less oxygen….
Oxygen is one of those things that YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT, but it is dangerous, creating oxidative stress.
So a little less oxidative stress, is likely to be helpful in the long run.
The magic of mountain living
So the magic of mountains could stem from more ultraviolet radiation or less oxygen levels or or something completely unrelated….
Which leaves the question, can you apply the more sun, less air to your life without moving to the mountains, so that your heart benefit ?
The short answer………..
Live high where ever you are
Tap into a little lizard wisdom and actively spend a little time each day soaking up the sun, this will ensure you get your measure of solar radiation. Morning sun is preferable.
Work up a bit of a sweat, enough to get you breathing hard because……………… you’re a tad short of air, which will juice up your heart battery, so it pumps in a crisis.
So…………live high wherever you are to live long !
Your cholesterol level is going to move up and down during the course of the day, the week, the month, the year. In winter it will be at its highest.
Tell your boss you want to climb the altitude ladder, so you can enjoy the benefits of biologically based appetite suppression and avoid packing on those pounds
Spending too long in the sun causes sun burns. But, the sun in small doses, turns cholesterol in our skin into vitamin D, which is able to “burn” fat.