Yesterday The Guardian published a fascinating article on the most state of the art research into extending the human lifespan. Relegated to the realm of science fiction for more than a century, some of the world’s leading scientists and researchers are now coming close to making the fountain of youth a full blown reality. Humans currently have a maximum lifespan of 120 years, but if experts can “hack the code of life”, its entirely feasible to extend that lifespan to 1000 years. As a matter of fact, a person may one day be considered out of shape if they’re unable to complete a marathon at the age of 200.
The research is a global effort, and it’s happening on several fronts. Two of the most compelling research teams are Google’s, and another being spearheaded by renowned biotechnologist Craig Venter. Google’s cutting edge exploration is being conducted at one of their newest companies, Calico, a startup focused on health, well-being, and extending the human lifespan. And Venter’s company is Human Longevity Inc., which “use both genomics and stem cell therapies to help people stay healthy and vibrant for as long as possible,” as i09 explains. Zoe Corbyn of The Guardian writes: “[Venter’s company] isn’t aimed at developing anti-ageing drugs or competing with Calico, says Venter. But it plans to create a giant database of 1 million human genome sequences by 2020, including from supercentenarians. Venter says that data should shed important new light on what makes for a longer, healthier life, and expects others working on life extension to use his database. ‘Our approach can help Calico immensely and if their approach is successful it can help me live longer,’ explains Venter. ‘We hope to be the reference centre at the middle of everything.’ ”
The Guardian‘s full piece is incredibly fascinating and you can read it in full by visiting TheGuardian.com. When I first opened the article yesterday, the first thing I saw was the photo of 78-year-old bodybuilder Ernestine Shepherd (above). I thought to myself, ‘There’s no way she’s 78!” — but she most definitely is. Compelled by her story, I dug a little deeper and learned more about her. On a Facebook post, Ernestine writes: “What has worked for me is eating 5-6 small meals a day. Maybe spacing every 2-3 hrs. I drink about 120 grams of protein each day and water is my main beverage. I drink protein just before going to bed.” The Daily Mail adds: “She eats only plain brown rice, bland chicken breast and vegetables, washed down with a glass of raw egg whites, three times a day. Her husband of 54 years, Collin Shepherd, says he ‘has trouble keeping guys away from her.'” She says she feels better today than she did at 40, and her website says she is “up at 3 a.m. every morning, she spends her days running, lifting weights and working out. She also works as a certified personal trainer at her gym.”
I’ve put together a few video profiles of Ernestine below, as well as Charlie Rose’s interview with Craig Venter, a profile of 96-year-old yoga teacher Tao Porchon-Lynch, and a profile of a remarkable 80-year-0ld Japanese grandmother who is one of the country’s legendary Ama pearl divers. Enjoy — and don’t forget to stop making excuses for feeling like crap and being out of shape. As one wise person once said, “A year from now you’ll wish you had started today.” (Photo credit: Lynn Goldsmith/Rex).
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