New Longevity Secret Revealed

The five headstones in the family cemetery located at our farm in North Carolina, have these ages etched in the stone:  86, 91, 95, 100 and 115.  Yep, the fifth headstone on the right shows that this fortunate lady lived from the late 1700s into the early 1900s.  What was the secret of  their longevity?



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Part of the longevity secret might be enhanced neurotrophins created by exercise.


Cemetery at our Blue Ridge Farm.

Longevity research at McGill University looked at the smallest functional entity of muscles called “a motor unit”.   The number of motor units normally declines with age.  Researchers found preservation of these motor units created by chronically elevated level of circulating chemicals, called neurotrophins, which protect and nurture neurons, helping them survive.  There are numerous neurotrophins in the body but BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) appears to be one of the most active as well as universally important proteins.

The key to these neurotrophins is exercise.  When we don’t exercise our brain does not produce sufficient BDNF.   To increase BDNF, we need to exercise.  The more frequently we exercise, the greater the production.  Exercising just one day can have an effect, but to reap the benefits, we need to be fairly consistent.  When we increase BDNF levels, we gain the benefits associated with the growth of new brain cells as well as greater muscle mass.

Success in exercise begins with the involuntary (ring) muscles.  When we energize and coordinate the ring muscles we help strengthen the voluntary muscles and can begin a positive exercise spiral that can help increase BDNF.

An article at (1) shows eight ways to increase BDNF levels.   One of the ways is to exercise.

The article explains that “BDNF influences a variety of functions including: preventing death of existing brain cells, inducing the growth of new neurons (neurogenesis) and synapses, and supporting cognitive function.  BDNF is regarded as being among the most active as well as universally important.”

This article says that exercise is essential to BDNF production; the greater the intensity, the more likely BDNF production will increase.  To reap the benefits, the exercise needs to be fairly consistent.

The body has a number of ring muscles that regulate breathing, digestion, circulation, elimination and muscular motion.  For years our website has looked at how to energize the ring muscles because they coordinate every other muscle and organ in the body.  Ring muscle exercise is the precursor to better, easier, consistent exercise.  Healthy ring muscles encourage and improve regular consistent exercise.

These are extra important exercises because they are easy and convenient (we can do them while eating, driving or watching TV).   Without ease, it’s really hard to get started and even harder to keep going.  The ring muscle exercises also have no contra effects.  We cannot injure ourselves by doing too much.

The secrets of longevity are not really secret; good nutrition, good sleep and good exercise can help us all live longer, happier, more purposeful lives.

(1)  8 ways to increase bdnf levels



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