Sanjay Gupta explains how to get the most out lıfe
of your years
By Stephanie E. Ponder
SANJAY GUPTA, best known as CNN’s senior medical correspondent, examines the idea of mortality in
his new book, Chasing Life: New Discoveries in the
Search for Immortality to Help You Age Less Today.
Gupta examines how taking care of both body and
brain can add not just quantity to your years, but also
quality. The Connection recently spoke with Gupta, a
neurosurgeon and Costco member, to offer a look at
what he details in Chasing Life.
Costco Connection: In Chasing Life you lay out
the groundwork for “functional aging.” What is functional aging?
Sanjay Gupta: When I started to think about this
book and the idea of immortality, one thing I found
was that people said, “I don’t want to live that long.”
Functional aging is about keeping your mind and
body healthy while you age. Instead of talking about
a life span, we talk about “health span.”
CC : You suggest several courses of action to extend
healthy lives. If readers were to adopt just one change
to improve their health, what should it be?
SG: Everybody wants to know about that “one
thing.” There is no one thing. That’s where we
fall short. However, it’s good to know that aerobic
exercise conditions the heart and brain. And meditation, which helps the brain and mind, helps keep
the body young. Ideally, you should be committed
to identifying the area where you fall short and
CC: What are people most surprised to learn
about functional aging?
SG: One big surprise was that while working
on this book I talked to a lot of people who
are very elderly. What they have in common is
that each of them undertakes, daily, a chal-
lenging activity. They try not to slow down. So
keep on running or doing something that really
CC : Is it ever too late to start exercising your body
SG: Absolutely not! I met people who didn’t start
exercising until they were in their 80s. They feel better than they’ve ever felt before. But people who have
KYLE CHRISTY/© 2007 CABLE NEWS NETWORK
a history of certain illnesses in their family should
start thinking about making changes even sooner.
CC: Is having a positive outlook an element of health
that’s easily overlooked?
SG: As scientists, we too easily overlook the mind-brain-body connection. Yet people with a positive
outlook get sick less often, have lower blood pressure and better-regulated cholesterol. Stress does
the opposite of all of that. A positive outlook makes a
CC : What are some of the medical advances readers
can look forward to
SG: There are some very optimistic people out there
who say, ‘Just wait another 10 to 15 years; we’re
headed toward practical immortality.’ There’s a lot of talk about
stem cells being used to regenerate organs and cure diabetes
and Parkinson’s disease.
There’s also talk of using nanotechnology to cure diseases
and stop the aging process. I
think the future is very
exciting, but there are a lot
of ethical questions. C
life to your
THE IDEA that aging
means growing old and
feeble is quickly becoming antiquated. To keep
your body and mind
going strong, regardless
of how old you are,
Sanjay Gupta has the
Practice the Okinawan
principle of hara hachi
bu, which means eating only until you’re
80 percent full.
Read the labels on the
supplements you take
and think about why
you’re taking them.
Eat seven different-colored foods every
day—yes, red wine
and dark chocolate
Incorporate upper-body training into
your routine and
Challenge your body
The Costco Connection
Chasing Life, by Sanjay Gupta, is available in
most Costco warehouses and at costco.com.
To read an excerpt
and enter to win
a copy of Chasing Life, go
to costco.com and click on
“Costco Connection Magazine.”