The oldest man in the world’s secrets revealed
Photo credit: Guinness World Records
At the weekend, the oldest man in the world, verified by the Guinness Book of Records, celebrated his 113th birthday with a daily drop of an aniseed spirit.
Juan Vicente Pérez doesn't hail from longevity's officially recognised 'blue zones' such as the Japanese island of Okinawa, the Greek island of Icaria or even Italy's Sardinia.
He comes from impoverished and politically unstable Venezuela, only 121st nation in the UN's life expectancy at birth figures at 72.34 years. Australia is eighth at 83.94 years.
Juan is interesting for two reasons. One: how individuals can and do naturally confound the statistics and stereotypes, and two: how he explains his long and healthy life.
The man born in humble rural circumstances on May 27 1909 put it down to "…work hard, rest on holidays, go to bed early, drink a glass of aguardiente every day, love God and always carry him in your heart."
By the way, aguardiente is an anise-flavoured liqueur with 26% alcohol content and higher - derived from sugar cane. It worked for Juan but could it work for you? What's your or another's secret to a long life?
Juan's secrets of a long life
1. Work hard.
Yes, but not too hard. Having control over what you do and how you do it is more important to a good long life than how much you do. See the Mayo Clinic's advice
2. Rest on holidays.
This is a cracker of advice, especially for those who take some work or accept some calls/emails when they are meant to be on vacation. I'm not sure Juan is necessarily saying hang by the pool with a cocktail for two weeks but certainly make the most of recreation however it suits. Here's some advice from Psychology Today to come back refreshed.
3. Go to bed early.
The Reader's Digest echoes Juan's great advice and adds some science to the adage 'Early to bed early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise'. "Studies have shown that adults who habitually sleep less than six and a half hours per night are more susceptible to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Even with a healthy diet and regular gym time, an earlier bedtime can be a huge plus for your longevity," says the Digest's The Healthy.
Sorry to be the killjoy but while Juan believes this worked for him, the boffins now seem pretty clear that even moderate alcohol consumption is linked to any kind of health benefits or longer life. You may pit your scientists against mine, but this piece from Medical News Today seems pretty definitive. It also reminds us that alcohol-related causes kill 95,000 Americans a year, the US's third-highest preventable cause of death. If not convinced, you can buy aguardiente in Australia from $55 up a bottle up.
This might be more contentious than alcohol, but Juan may be right. The study quoted here suggests that those who go to religious services (can be any God) live about four years longer than non-believers. "Churchgoers tend to engage in positive behaviours including high social interaction and lower rates of alcohol and drug abuse," said Prof Bill Fiala of Azusa Pacific. It must be said it is a Christian university in Los Angeles.
So take your pick or, even better, give all or none a go, that is, if you want to live to 113 like Juan. But do you have tips for a longer life that have even a shred of evidence?
Any information contained in this communication is general advice, it does not take into account your individual circumstances, objectives, financial situation or needs.