HomeHealthWhat longevity experts do every day for a longer, healthier life

What longevity experts do every day for a longer, healthier life

In a world where the pursuit of longevity and a vibrant life takes centre stage, a group of experts silently go about their days, practising what they preach in the realm of health and wellbeing. These longevity experts are armed with scientific knowledge and personal dedication. They have set habits that promise not just a longer life but a life lived to the fullest.

“Life expectancy has doubled in the 20th century. But in the Western world, people are living one-fifth of their lives with at least one chronic disease or other,” says Dr Philip Borg, a longevity medicine specialist and interventional radiologist.

The average life expectancy in Australia is 81.3 years for men and 85.4 years for women. The challenge is to ensure that these years are lived in good health. In the UK the latest figures show an average life expectancy of 78.6 for men and 82.6 for women. However 74 per cent of people in the UK aged 65-74 will be living with at least one diagnosed long-term condition, this rises to a staggering 86.5 per cent in people aged 75-84 and 86 per cent in those over 85.

Longevity medicine isn’t necessarily all about living longer, it’s about living better. But which healthy habits consistently make it into the daily routines of longevity experts? And which ones can the average Australian adopt? Let’s explore some of their routines.

Daily exercise with a purpose

Dr Borg, at 40, understands the sedentary nature of modern work. To counteract this he walks to work carrying a rucksack weighing 25kg. 

He does an hour of zone two exercise most days. Zone two exercise is long, slow, low-intensity workouts that can be easily integrated into daily life. Whether it’s a gentle jog, a brisk walk with a weighted rucksack, rowing or cycling, these activities are designed to improve mitochondrial health, which in turn reduces the risk of age-related chronic diseases.

“It’s very low intensity because it’s done at 60-70 per cent of your maximum heart rate. It’s not intense, so you can do more of it. I use a heart rate tracker, but an easy measure is to think of exercising so that you are a bit breathless but still able to keep up a conversation,” says Dr Borg. 

Take a magnesium supplement

Dr David Clancy, a lecturer in biogerontology at Lancaster University has been researching how to delay age-related illnesses for more than 30 years. He takes a nightly dose of magnesium.

Magnesium plays a crucial role in more than 600 bodily functions, from regulating sleep and mood to boosting exercise performance. It’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory. Chronic inflammation is a key driver of ageing and disease, but a review of 11 studies found that magnesium supplements significantly reduced levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation.

You can also up your intake of magnesium by eating more dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

“There’s a fair consensus that most people could benefit from more magnesium,” says Dr Clancy. “I also take a vitamin D3 supplement. There is a tonne of evidence saying that it’s helpful for the immune system, for bones and the prevention of many chronic illnesses.”

Strength training to improve core muscles

Professor Norman Lazarus, an 88-year-old longevity researcher and author of The Longevity Strategy: How to Age Well and Wisely, starts his day with resistance exercises. He focuses on core strength to maintain posture and prevent falls – a common and often serious issue for those who are older. His routine includes holding a plank for three minutes and performing sit-ups, which he has built up to over time.

“I design my exercise to use the corset of muscles in my tummy – the abdominals, the obliques at the sides and muscles in my lower back. I do a series of moves to strengthen all of those muscles, keeping those muscles tight and engaged,” says Prof. Lazarus. 

Eat a salad with dinner

Professor Niharika Duggal is an assistant professor in immunity and ageing at the University of Birmingham. Her longevity secret couldn’t be simpler: eat a salad with dinner.

“It’s going to sound so simple and everyone knows it, but having your five a day is crucial to your gut health and big studies have shown that having a healthy microbiome [gut bacteria] composition increases longevity and the length of time you spend disease free,” explains Prof. Duggal.

As you age, the balance of bacteria in your gut shifts, with more pathogenic (harmful) bacteria and fewer of the beneficial bacteria that are essential for everything from digestion to brain development.

Luckily, the food you eat has a direct impact on your gut flora. Prof. Duggal aims to eat the rainbow, with plenty of prebiotic fruits and vegies to feed her good bacteria. She snacks on fruit, enjoys a big salad with dinner, and follows an anti-inflammatory Mediterranean-style diet rich in gut-friendly fibre. 

Focus on foods rich in spermidine

Leslie Kenny, a longevity advocate, incorporates spermidine-rich foods into her diet. Spermidine is found in fermented foods such as umeboshi plums and natto and has been linked to inhibiting the pathways of ageing. It is also found in Stilton cheese, kimchi, sauerkraut, and shiitake mushrooms, as well as non-fermented foods such as wheat germ.

“I have the plums with cooled, boiled Jasmine rice. When cold, rice becomes a resistant starch which is a type of fibre essential to healthy gut bacteria. It can also help keep your blood sugar more stable – both can contribute to helping prevent chronic illness in later life,” says Ms Kenny.

Do you have any of these daily habits? Which one do you think is easiest to incorporate into your life? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: Longevity expert says snacks weaken our health

Disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

Ellie Baxter
Ellie Baxter
Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.


  1. Eat and drink a variety of wholesome foods but don’t overdo it and gain too much weight.
    Get some regular moderate exercise.
    Try and organize your life to avoid stress.
    If you develop a health problem see a doctor ASAP as most things can be quickly fixed if caught early.
    That’s about it.

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