Do you want to live to 100? That's the goal of Mark Barnes, co-author of Hacking Life After 50: 10 Ways to Beat Father Time and Live a Long, Healthy, Joy-Filled Life. He’s a longtime educator, entrepreneur, and not only does he hope to live past 100, he wants to bring anyone interested along for the ride.
Mark is our guest on the Lean to the Left podcast, and his episode will stream on YouTube and podcast audio channels on Thursday, September 7, so mark your calendar and check it out. On the show, he talks about basic steps that can be followed to improve health and joyfulness as we age, including fending off dementia, including Alzheimer's.
Here are some additional questions we cover in the show:
  • So you’re trying to beat father time and live to or past 100. So, what exactly is Hacking Life After 50 and why would anyone want to do it?
  • Your parents both lived into their 90s, right? What were they like? Is that where you got the idea for this book?
  • You state clearly in the book that you and your co-author, James Sturtevant, are not doctors or a nutritionists; you're educators. Why should anyone take your advice?
  • So how can people live to 100 and outperform people half their age?
  • What is Momentum Mindset and what role does it play in living a long, healthy, joy-filled life?
  • Apart from strength training, you share some pretty simple strategies around movement. Talk about how these basic movements impact longevity.
  • Speaking of strength training, you say anyone--even people in their 80s and 90s--can do it. How is this possible?
  • You advise After 50s to Master Meal Planning. Isn't this just a fancy name for another fad diet?
  • Nurturing the mind and soul seems abstract; how does this work?
  • In the book, you claim to have cured your own insomnia. How did you do it?
  • One of your hacks for health and longevity is just called "Dabble." What’s that?.
  • Every chapter has a What-You-Can-Do-Tomorrow feature. If you have to choose just one of these, which one can listeners do right now to improve physical or mental well-being?
  • Where can people find your book and how can they reach out to you?

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Show Notes

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Show Transcript

Want to Live to 100? That's This Guy's Goal

[00:00:00] Bob gatty: Mark Barnes is co-author of Hacking Life after 50 10 Ways to Beat Father Time and live a long, healthy, joy-filled life. He's a longtime educator, entrepreneur, and he's on a quest to live past 100 and bring anyone interested along for the ride. Stay with us. 

[00:00:23] Hey Mark. So you're trying to beat father time and live to or past a hundred. Exactly what is Hacking Life after 50 and why would anyone wanna do that? 

[00:00:34] Mark Barnes: Yeah. Bob, first of all, thanks for having me on the show. I really enjoy what you're doing and I'm excited anytime that I get an opportunity to talk about After 50s life and this idea of beating father time. In Hacking Life after 50, my co-author Jim Sturtevant and I look at life in two phases. It's trendy to look at it in three. And we say, up to 50 is life's act one, and that's when you're, a child and an adolescent and then you go maybe go to college or get a job, a spouse.

[00:01:04] Build a family, all of that stuff. And then when we get to 50, we look at that as life's act two. Because people start a transition, right about, even in their forties, they start thinking, what's next for me? Maybe I'm gonna go to a different career. I'm gonna retire. And, they start asking, what's next?

[00:01:21] What's my why? Why do I get up in the morning? And all of that. We started thinking about that and and we're both very much into health and fitness and longevity and wanna live a long life. And we talked about the things that we've done, that we've researched, that we practice, and said we think we can live a very long life and there's so much to do and so much to explore.

[00:01:44] Let's write it down. And that's where we are. We're promoting a good, long, healthy, joy-filled. 

[00:01:51] Bob gatty: How old are you now, mark? 

[00:01:53] Mark Barnes: I'm 59 and my co-author is 62. 

[00:01:57] Bob gatty: Okay. Your parents lived, both of them lived into their nineties, right? 

[00:02:02] Mark Barnes: Yeah. My, my parents both made it to their nineties and that was a big incentive for me.

[00:02:07] So you like to think, okay, I've got genetics on my side. Yeah. As it turns out, genetics is really about 20% though, in, in terms of how long you're gonna live. And the other 80% is all the factors and the things that we talk about in Hacking Life after 50. In their last, I'm gonna say five to eight years, they both had dementia and Alzheimer's.

[00:02:30] And, last few years were pretty tough for them, and it was rough on family. We watched them decline rapidly. We watched their cognition go. Their memory was really bad. And it just was a tough way to live, the quality of life wasn't good. We looked at that and as a family we talked a lot about it.

[00:02:50] And then I talked to my co-author Jim about it and I said, man, I don't want that to be me. And we both have grown kids and he's already got grandkids and I'm hoping someday to have grandkids. And he said, I don't want that, my parents in their later years, they didn't, they couldn't tell you their grandkids names and that's just a, in fact, they couldn't tell my kids' names.

[00:03:09] Sometimes they didn't know their own kids. That's just really tough. I said, I don't want that. And we started doing the research. We're both educators, so you know, everything we do is founded on research and learning, lifelong learning. As much as we can do. And we said, What can we do to, we like say beat father time in the end, maybe you can't beat 'em, but we're trying to outrun 'em.

[00:03:30] So I said, I don't wanna be that way. What are the things we can do to avoid that? And there, there's a lot of great new science today that says you can really live the kinda life that will help you to beat dementia, Alzheimer's, and a lot of other diseases that hit the elderly. 

[00:03:49] Bob gatty: So how can people do that, dementia and Alzheimer's is, it's not the same as saying, oh, I'm obese, I'm gonna go in a diet so that I can live a long and healthy life, and I want to get down to, my fighting weight, dementia and Alzheimer's, that's not the same as that. 

[00:04:12] Mark Barnes: No you're absolutely right. But there are factors though. Those things do contribute. There was a study done in the Lancet, I believe in recently, 21, 22, and they looked at people with Alzheimer's and dementia and actually found that a major contributing factors were and there were many, but a couple that we can control were inactivity, number one.

[00:04:38] And also How much you socialize. And this one's fascinating to us. And we have sections in Hacking Life after 50 where we talk about community building and engagement and as we age, we tend to become a little bit more isolated. Yeah. You think about if you lose a spouse or if you lose family members, You're an empty nester.

[00:05:00] Maybe you don't have grandkids, you don't have a career anymore. It's very easy to feel isolated and then to say, okay, what do I do? I'm just gonna sit around. I. And a big piece of that living that, that life, the right way long, healthy, joy filled, and to try your best to avoid the things like dementia and Alzheimer's is first of all, be active and engage with other people.

[00:05:23] And, what you put into your body does matter. Is eating the right way a sure way to avoid dementia and alzheimer's, no, but it's a contributing factor. So we talk a lot about the right things to put into your body with balance. We're, remember it's about joy too, right? So we're not telling people don't ever have anything that you enjoy, but we're shooting for some good balance and we talk a lot about the things that contribute to disease, to inflammation.

[00:05:52] All of these are contributors and we talk about ways to beat those things. 

[00:05:57] Bob gatty: What that's all interesting. You just said that you and Sturtevant, you're both educators, you're not doctors, you're not nutritionists. Where do you come off telling people, you know, what they should be doing. 

[00:06:09] Mark Barnes: Yeah. It's a good question. And we address it early on. In fact, right in the introduction, we have a part of the book where we say, why should you listen to us? Yeah. Because it's fair, it's fair to, and we're very cognizant of the sources we look at. In today's world, where do we get our news?

[00:06:27] Social media I saw something on Twitter or Facebook, somebody said X and then suddenly that's the way it is. So we talk about as educators, What we have learned is to research. So during our careers you want to teach things. You have to be an expert at those things, and you don't just learn all that stuff in college.

[00:06:49] So you evolve, you study, you research. I. We primary sources we talk about. So our primary sources are the experts, are those who are trained in the field. We don't if we say that this is a good thing to do, it isn't because we saw somebody on YouTube talking about it. We're talking about the medical profession nutritionist.

[00:07:11] And the thing is we're looking at a collection of those. And then the other key is we're practitioners and we really talk a lot about this. We say we've researched what to do and then we've tried it. And guess what? Everything we say that has worked for us may not work for you, may not work for every person, but we have a collection of strategies that we believe.

[00:07:34] If you try a lot of these things, you're gonna find ways to feel better. 

[00:07:39] Bob gatty: Okay, so tell me this, what is momentum mindset and what role does it play in living a long, healthy, and joyfilled life? And I like the fact that you always stress joyfilled in your comments. 

[00:07:52] Mark Barnes: We want to be happy. And the other thing too, Bob, is that happiness contributes to good health, good physical, good emotional health.

[00:07:59] So yeah, joy is a real important thing. You can be the healthiest person in the world and if you're sitting around going, man, I hate life, you're probably not gonna live that long. As Jim and I talk, really over the course of a year, As we were working on this book we kept revisiting the key topics that we were talking about, and we were talking about attitudes.

[00:08:21] It kept coming up whether we were talking about diet or resistance training or sleep. We kept talking about our attitudes and the attitudes of people that we're researching, and what we found is that, People who are successful, and this has really applied to us as well, that our success was founded on a set of attitudes around growth that we said, you know what, maybe we are 60 and maybe, we're thinking we've got less time now than we had before 50, but you know what?

[00:08:53] We are constantly. Thinking about growth, no matter how old we are. And encompassed in that momentum mindset, we call it, is a sense of curiosity. Earlier in life, we're curious. And then as we age, we tend to be less curious. Adventure, have a sense of adventure risk taking. We tend to, as we age, to say, I don't want to take any chances.

[00:09:16] I've done everything already. I had my job, I raised my kids. What else should I do? Try things. We have a whole chapter called Dabble and it's all about trying new things, inventorying your own interest and saying maybe I never tried this before 'cause I didn't have time. We have time now. So these are all a part of momentum and that phrase comes up throughout Hacking Life After 50, that as long as you have that mindset, you can do these other things.

[00:09:45] Bob gatty: Okay, so tell me this is strength training a big part of what you're all about? 

[00:09:51] Mark Barnes: Yeah, it's a huge part. And the thing is we, again, we address right away the fears that people might have. It's not a diet book. It's not a weightlifting book. This is a book about living a long, healthy, joy filled life.

[00:10:04] These are the factors that contribute to that. We talk a great deal about how to eat right? We've mentioned that a little bit Now, what you put into your body matters. Yeah. But also we want to do everything we can to defeat the things that hurt people as they age. Those big factors are inflammation, muscle mass degeneration, bone degeneration. These all are factors that hurt the aging because when you lose muscle mass balance, also what you tend to do is fall down. And the statistics on people 65 and older that fall every year are staggering. We're talking tens of millions of people, 65 and older. This is just in the United States.

[00:10:53] Fall every year. And then from there, when you fall, one in four of those people will break a hip. 

[00:11:02] Bob gatty: Yeah, I was just gonna say that's a big deal with older people breaking hips and things like that. 

[00:11:08] Mark Barnes: I'll tell you what, Bob, the the statistics say that if you're 70. And you break your hip, one in four of those people will have about a year left to live.

[00:11:18] Really. And again, that, yeah that's just staggering to think about. So we're, we say we wanna really guard against falling and the other kinds of injuries that elderly people get. So resistance training is a big piece of that. And it isn't it? We're not saying you have to go to the gym or you have to buy expensive equipment and you have to start lifting hundreds of pounds every day 'cause that's not what we say. You can use your body weight and what we promote is taking care of the functional movements that you will need later and the things that will help you avoid falling. So we talk about pushing, pulling. Squatting, these are all the movements you wanna be able to get up, right?

[00:12:02] You think about it, a lot of people fall when they're getting up from a seated position, out of bed in the morning, any of that. And I can tell you from my own personal experience, again, we, we rely on our experience and our practice. I talked about my parents. My father lived in 93, and that's great, but in the end, what ultimately led to him passing was he fell down.

[00:12:24] And again, a lot of people say great, he was 93. He lived a good life. But, that was ultimately what pushed him, over, over the end to the end. So we want to, we talk about those movements. We give specific strategies for how to lift. We're very creative about it. We talk about things you can do at home, whether you have weights or not.

[00:12:45] So resistance training's important. You have to move. 

[00:12:48] Bob gatty: Hey, mark. You talked about your dad, you said he passed when he was 93. At what point in his life, how old was he when you noticed that his memory was going and when was he diagnosed with Alzheimer's. 

[00:13:06] Mark Barnes: I would say we noticed it probably when he was in his late eighties, maybe 87, 88.

[00:13:11] Yeah. And I'll tell you this was a guy who worked, and again, speaking of that movement, I never saw my father lift a weight in his life. And he was one of the fittest guys I ever knew. Strong, and fit, trim, just always looked good, muscular. But what he did throughout his life was he worked.

[00:13:27] He had five kids and never graduated from high school. A blue collar guy worked multiple jobs. When something needed to be fixed around the house, he fixed it. He took care of our cars. I saw him many times lying underneath a car. and He'd have a wrench in his hand and he'd be struggling to get something loose.

[00:13:45] And I saw him, stretching and turning and grunting in his biceps bulging. This is what he did. Those constant movements that helped him. But when we, when he got to his late eighties, we noticed the memory going. His long-term memory was great. He could tell us stories from the time he was, 10 years old, but the short-term memory started to go.

[00:14:03] We noticed it. He was diagnosed at a, I believe it was 89 with Alzheimer's and dementia, and my mom a few years before that. Again, I stress that they lived a good, long life and my father said that, he said it to me when he was 90, he also had a heart condition and they wanted to do surgery and he didn't wanna do it.

[00:14:22] He said, you know what? I'm 90 years old. He said I've had a pretty good life and I don't wanna take that risk. 'cause part of the risk was dying on the table. But again, we want to do everything we can to, and I, who knows if I'm gonna wind up that way. I haven't had the, there's tests now you can take that with genetic markers that'll, predict that.

[00:14:39] But I haven't taken those tests yet. I may wind up that way, but I'm gonna do everything I can to fight it in the meantime. 

[00:14:46] Bob gatty: Good for you. Now, we've talked a little bit about exercise. We've talked a little bit about strength training. What about diet? 

[00:14:53] Mark Barnes: We have a chapter or hacking, Hacking Life after 50 that we call master meal planning.

[00:14:59] Although we use the word diet we don't like to stress diet. We don't talk about fad diets. We're not a believer in that. We don't vilify anyone. If you're a vegetarian, great. And if you're a vegan, great. Whatever works for you. What we talk about is balance and we share a lot of the research around what works and that is, Mostly plant-based diet.

[00:15:23] Again doesn't mean you can never have meat. We don't say that we eat meat, but we're big proponents of an 80 20 balance. So we say if 80% of the time, if you put the healthy things into your body and save 20% for the things that you know aren't good. We talk about the standard American diet.

[00:15:44] And it, honestly, it's a killer. If 100% of your diet is a standard American diet where you're eating fast food and refined carbohydrates and tons of sugars and you're in trouble. And that's just, I. It is just fact. You're just gonna be in trouble. You're not on a path to get to a healthy hundred, which is where we want

[00:16:03] to be.

[00:16:03] Bob gatty: Yeah. You what? It cracks me up when I go to, we, my wife and I eat out a lot. I'm 80, she's 77, and neither one of us really wanna do a lot of cooking these days, so we eat out a lot. And I sit in restaurants and look at people and it's just unbelievable to me. The high percentage of those people who are just obviously way overweight and some are walking with walkers and canes and it's clear that their weight is a reason or one of the reasons. It's just difficult to understand. But then when I look at my own diet and I go let's see. Yesterday I had pizza for dinner and a salad. That was good, but then what did I do? I had some ice cream before. I was watching a baseball game 

[00:16:56] Mark Barnes: well, Bob, you look you look pretty fit to me, so I could say that much.

[00:17:02] And again, a lot of people will say that, I've had people tell me why would I wanna live to a hundred? And there's a stigma around people in their eighties, nineties and those who live longer, you know that people will say they're not healthy. They have dementia.

[00:17:18] They have no memory. What do they have left? I don't wanna be that way. But again, there are still plenty of people who do live into their nineties and hundreds who are still living great lives. So I totally get that. A lot of people say yeah I want to have my pizza and I want to have my ice cream.

[00:17:36] I like ice cream too. But what you said about seeing those overweight people Yeah. The United States is one of the most obese countries in the world. I know. And it's getting worse. It's not getting better. And that's because again, it's just a society we're in where everything is about the standard American diet and all of the places, those restaurants you talk about, very few of them offer a lot of healthy foods.

[00:18:01] I'll tell you one thing you said though about having your pizza, and this is, we're big proponents of this is you mixed in a salad. So you know, that's another piece to this is we offer solutions that are practical. They're timely. It's not a five-year plan or a 10 year plan. It's things you can do right now.

[00:18:21] One of the things is about your weight. If you're overweight and you say, I know I'm overweight, and I like this idea of living longer. Here are some strategies that you can use that will help you without giving up everything when, that's key is we wanna, we still want joy, but, and it's never too late to start.

[00:18:41] We've got strategies in there that I know will work. I can tell you right now that five years ago I was 30 pounds heavier than I am right now. Yeah. And right now I think I'm about maybe in the best shape I've ever been in. And I didn't make dramatic changes. Incremental changes are what worked for me.

[00:18:58] Bob gatty: Yeah. I had hip replacement surgery eight months ago. Since then, I've dropped almost 20 pounds. And it wasn't that hard. Just not eating as much as I used to. That basically, you watch what goes in your mouth it does help anyway. All right. Let's see.

[00:19:17] Nurturing the mind and soul seems abstract. How does this work? 

[00:19:22] Mark Barnes: The emotional and mental wellbeing is a real big part of living a long, healthy, joy-filled life. And the thing is, in this whole chapter, we're talking a lot about. Feeding your mind and your soul the right way. Yeah, and avoiding stress avoiding the toxicity in the world.

[00:19:42] Social media is filled with it and unfortunately, too many people tend to spend too much time there. And tend to get caught up in these toxic conversations. And we're not, our book's not political, so it isn't so much about picking any side of anything. When we say one thing is we need to avoid that, but we talk about those things.

[00:20:03] You said the abstract, we talk about the things like that people don't think that much about. And meditation is one. Proper breathing is one, and these are things that do matter in terms of your emotional wellbeing. So we give some very simple strategies for trying meditation and mindfulness, and a lot of people will say, I.

[00:20:26] I was one of 'em. I don't really know what that is. That's not for me. Yeah, that just seems that just seems like a waste of time, because when you're me meditating or you're being mindful you're sitting mostly you can stand, but you're mostly sitting and you're relaxing and you're putting everything out of your mind as much as you can.

[00:20:45] You're either focusing on one thing or you're trying to focus on nothing. And I used to say, why I don't have time to sit around and do nothing. But the thing is, Bob if you do that, and we're not, we don't, we're not saying, Hey, take hours of your day again Hacking Life after 50 is a practical strategy book.

[00:21:04] So we say, here are some things you can do again, based on all of our research over time and our practice, I used to think meditation was crazy and now it's a part of every single day of my life and it doesn't interfere with my entire day. 'cause I start my day with it. I get outta bed in the morning I do some stretching because again, that flexibility and balance is so important.

[00:21:27] And I sit down and everything else is out. There's no tv, there's no devices, there's no interruptions of any kind, and I'm just sitting and I'm doing some deep breathing, and I'm trying to put everything outta my mind. And again, people might even hear this and go, how do you do that? Because you know it's hard to put things outta your mind and that can scare people away from meditation 'cause they think, I can't think about nothing. And that's okay. And we talk about that in Hacking Life after 50 and how to address that. But if you can spend, again, incrementalism is a key for us. If you can start with 30 seconds. People who are going or are skeptical going, will this really help me?

[00:22:06] That's one of the things we say in the book is start with 30 seconds. Even for a week, go to 60 seconds and see how you feel after. And it's pretty amazing how the calming effect can really impact you throughout your day. Yeah. 

[00:22:23] Bob gatty: I used to be that I was a big news addict. My whole career was spent as a journalist and really covering the news in one way or another, whether it was for business publications or when I started out, it was United Press International Covering Politics. But today and I say this is probably within the last three or four months, I stopped watching the, when I go to bed I would watch the news and then I would be upset.

[00:22:52] Now what I do is I go to bed and I turn on soft music and with images of the sea and deserts and beautiful sunsets all mixed in and lay there and do the very best I can not to think about anything. I guess that's my form of meditation. Is that right? 

[00:23:21] Mark Barnes: Absolutely. That's a good form. And that's the other thing.

[00:23:24] It's, it, there's so many different ideas about what Meditation is. Yeah. And, we've looked at all of these and I said, what we like to do is create something and a practice based on many different things, and then apply it to yourself. What works for you.

[00:23:40] Ultimately, you have to figure out what works best for you. We have a whole chapter in our book about sleep. And what you said right there is a part of it. That whole idea of, calming yourself at night . And getting rid of the distractions. White noise is a great piece.

[00:23:55] Some people need it, some don't. So again, that's one of those things where we would say, give this a try if you struggle sleeping or falling asleep, and see if it works for you. 

[00:24:04] Bob gatty: Yeah. I do know one thing. I've been sleeping better since I started doing that, and I don't dream as much. I used to have these nasty dreams sometimes be the same damn dream.

[00:24:15] Why I would be, I would dream I'd be in Philadelphia and I've never been, maybe once, Philadelphia, but this place, this always takes place in Philadelphia and I have, it is late at night and I've left a hotel and I cannot find my car. And I'm wandering around the streets of Philadelphia looking for my car, and it's dark and I can't find it.

[00:24:35] And it, and I wake up and I'm all anxious now. I don't have that dream anymore. Amazing. 

[00:24:41] Mark Barnes: I think you've taken care of that problem. That sounds like a stress dream. And I think you have de-stressed. Yeah. 

[00:24:48] Bob gatty: So too. Alright. You talked about curing insomnia, so I. Got anything more to say about that?

[00:24:55] Mark Barnes: Yeah, absolutely. And my primary care doctor labeled me an insomniac years ago. And that was a, that was an accurate label because I would constantly tell her, it takes me forever to fall asleep. Sometimes multiple nights a week I wake up and I can't get back to sleep. Sometimes I'm up for two hours.

[00:25:15] This went on for many years and it was, anytime I had a physical Well, what about sleep? And it was always the same.

[00:25:21] Bob gatty: Yeah. 

[00:25:21] Mark Barnes: And when I say we, this, I, this is actually in the book, you say, when I say I cured my insomnia that, that's a personal observation, not a medical one, but, you again you know how you feel.

[00:25:34] And the other thing is I use we're big proponents of wearable technology and we're, we're tech agnostic. We don't promote any specific brand. Some people like watches. Some people I wear a ring and they have biosensors on them and they come with an app that you attach to your phone or your laptop or whatever, and Oh, really?

[00:25:54] Yeah. Yeah, it's a, I have a ring, it's called Aura, o u r A, and again I don't get any payment from Aura, so I've never heard of that. Yeah. It's some people wear, yeah, so you wear the watch, right? So the, the watches are great. I just don't like wearing anything on my wrist.

[00:26:10] And that's actually how we talk a lot about research. That's how I found the ring. I wanted to get some wearable technology to help me measure all the things we're talking about, and I'm like, I hate wearing something on my wrist. So I did some research. I found Aura and there it is. I love that. The great thing though is it will measure not just activity.

[00:26:30] I get an alert if I'm sitting for an hour. It says, Hey, time to move. So yeah, I get that too. Yeah those kinds of things are great. But the big one is sleep. So when I got to a point where I got dedicated, I said, you know what? My doctor is great. I've had her for decades, but she's no sleep expert.

[00:26:48] She's a general care doctor. So she would gimme a few tips and I tried 'em and they didn't work. So I got serious myself. And this is something we're big fans of is. It. We live in a world that all the information is at your fingertips. And we're not saying if you need brain surgery to do it yourself, but we're saying you can do many of these things yourself because it's at your fingertips.

[00:27:11] You can find the resources. So I got serious about sleep and I started investigating, and first of all, I learned that sleep is extremely important to health and longevity. I used to think it wasn't important at all, and I've talked to so many people who feel the same way. Ah, sleep's a waste of time. I, if I get my three hours, four hours, I'm good 'cause then I'm up and doing things and I used to be that way. I used to say, I wish I didn't have to sleep at all because think of all the things I could get done. Yeah, 

[00:27:38] you might get a lot of things done, but if you don't get good restorative sleep, you'll only be getting 'em done for a short time because again, your chances of a long life are cut significantly.

[00:27:48] So I got to a point where I valued sleep. I said, what I need to know everything I can about sleep. Here's a big one, Bob. And some people say, you talk about the people who don't care about diet and want to eat all the standard American diet foods. They won't like this one. A huge part of good restorative sleep is eating right?

[00:28:13] So that's a part. So a lot of the things we talk about in Hacking Life after 50, we say there's a compounding effect. What you put in your body matters. When you put stuff into your body for sleep matters, exercise matters. You need to move a lot during the day to tire out your body, but you need to be really careful about when you're doing it.

[00:28:33] You don't want to be doing any hard exercise, an hour or two before sleep. So if you're someone who works out late, try to reschedule that. These are things I learned. They're really important. Sleep hygiene is a real thing. I've heard people say sleep hygiene. That's ridiculous. What does that mean?

[00:28:50] Hygiene, sleep hygiene is a, you think about, we think about hygiene as taking care of cleanliness. Cleaning our body up. Yeah. Sleep hygiene is cleaning up your sleep routine. So if you have good sleep hygiene, that means that you're preparing to go to sleep the right way. That you're creating an environment that is conducive to good sleep.

[00:29:14] You talked about your white noise earlier. That's a great thing. You talked about calming yourself down before sleep. That's another great thing. What's your sleep environment look like? What's your bedroom look like? If there's a lot of light, you have to eliminate it. If you have a TV in your room, Cover it up, turn it off, or get it out because it is a huge detriment to good sleep.

[00:29:36] So these are all things, what are you doing before you go to bed again? You need that calming effect. Turn off the blue lights, put your device away. Don't eat a heavy meal, shortly before bed. In fact, you shouldn't eat a heavy meal at dinnertime. Your heavy meals should come earlier in the day.

[00:29:52] These are all things that matter. Blacking out the room, cooling the environment. Think about what you sleep on. Do you have a cooling, cooling sheets or pillow? Because they're important. It doesn't mean you, you have to be cold. We don't, we're not saying don't cover your body, but having a cool environment is a really important part of, and it impacts your heart rate, everything and all of these things going back to the wearable tech are measured.

[00:30:18] You need deep sleep. You need REM sleep, you need light sleep, and you need certain percentages of those to get good restorative sleep. And you have to sleep seven to nine hours a night. And that doesn't mean the time you're in bed, Bob, it means actually being asleep. If you do these things the next day is incredible.

[00:30:38] Ask anybody the people who say, oh, I only get three or four hours of sleep. If you can get an honest answer from 'em. Ask 'em about how they feel that day. The next day because if you're gonna start your day and you wanna feel good, you have to restore your body. 

[00:30:55] Bob gatty: Yeah, I get that. Every chapter in your book has a what you can do tomorrow feature. Talk about that a little bit. And if you had to choose one of them, which one would you choose? 

[00:31:07] Mark Barnes: Oh, I love this question. So first of all, the what you can do tomorrow. 

[00:31:11] Bob gatty: Oh, it's good. You do. 'cause you planted it. 

[00:31:13] Mark Barnes: Plant the seeds. Bob, that's important.

[00:31:17] I like that. We should have had a hack for that. Plant. The seed. Next book. In, in, in the Hack Learning Life series, this is a series of books based on the hack learning series, which was originally for educators, 35 books for teachers and school leaders. And it's all about practical solutions.

[00:31:34] Every chapter or hack. Has a what you can do tomorrow section. People have said, we love this. And now in this Life Edition book, this is the first Hacking Life after 50. Now there's a series of books now for anybody, not just teachers and school leaders, but what you can do to tomorrow is again we don't want to give you strategies that take months, years to implement. We want you to build on those strategies and make 'em habits, hopefully lifelong, but what we say is, here's what you can do tomorrow. So if it's your listeners might hear me say, You don't have to to change, have drastic changes in your diet if you wanna lose weight.

[00:32:18] Yeah. A lot of people would say that's not true, right? You have to give up everything or whatever. And I, we say, here's what you can do tomorrow. And I'll give you one example, and this isn't my favorite. I'm still gonna, I'm, that's on hold. But here's one thing you could do tomorrow. If you wanna lose weight and you want to eat more healthy. Go to your cupboard. Remove one thing that you know isn't good for you. One. So if you think about your snacks, people who are overweight typically eat throughout the day. And, that's your Achilles heel is. I'm hungry, so I go to the cupboard and I grab a bag of potato chips. Or I don't know 'cause I eat healthy, so I can't even think of all those unhealthy things. What we say is go in there, do an inventory, say what's in here that I know isn't good for me. If you struggle with that we have an outline of how you can identify those things. First of all, if it's packaged or in a can or whatever, most likely it's processing not good for you.

[00:33:19] If it's, if it ends in chips, it's probably not good for you. So take those things out. That's one step and there's more. But that's one. So you asked me about my favorite. That's a what you can do tomorrow. I can do this tomorrow and it will help. I'll tell you another, my favorite is about water consumption.

[00:33:39] And here's another one of the statistics we put in the book because it is founded on research and our practice. And this one again, is staggering. It's like what I told you about the people who fall down. Half the people in the world, not just the United States. Half the people in the world do not drink enough water.

[00:33:57] They do not. Half the people in the world don't get the minimum requirement a day, which is only a little over one liter, about 40 or 50 ounces of water. So what we have in, when we talk about water in the book and what you can do tomorrow is first of all, drink more water. And people who say, I struggle with that we're back to the technology.

[00:34:19] Get your, get yourself an app. You can put it on your device, whatever device you're using, you can put an app on there that will help you measure your water intake. And what you do is you drink a glass of water, any size, four ounces, eight ounces, 10 ounces, and then you pick up your device, which is probably with you anyway, you open the app and it gives you choices.

[00:34:40] 4, 8, 12. You click on it and it records that water consumption. And I'll tell you a story. I'll use my son as an example. I don't think he would care. My son is in college. He's on about 21 years old soon, and this kid hardly ever drank water. I, and I told him about this. I said, this is a problem.

[00:35:00] Hydration is one of the most important things we can do, and it's a huge part of living a long, healthy, joy filled life. You have to hydrate. It's a part of sleep, it's a part of diet. There's another quick hack for people wanna lose weight instead of going to the snack, get a full glass of water and drink it.

[00:35:15] Because not only is it healthy, but it fills you up. I went to my son, I said, you have to drink more water. Here's what I want you to do. We put the app on his phone. We got a glass, we measured it. You used a cup measured eight ounces, and I said, I want you to drink this. And he was home for the summer. I said, every single time that glass is empty, I want you to open up your app, click on the eight ounces and then fill your cup.

[00:35:39] We also talk about stacking habits. That's a strategy from James Clear. We'd like to give credit where credits due. James Clear, one of the most famous habit authors in the world. Talks about habit stacking, and that is something that Jim, my co-author, and I have embraced. So I said if you fill the water, you drink it, you immediately record on your app how much you drank, and then you immediately refill your glass.

[00:36:05] And you have it with you all the time. My son, who drank probably 30 ounces of water a day this past summer, I would check in with him and he could show me right on his app. He got up to 110 to 120 ounces of water a day. This is a huge step in general wellbeing and overall health. That is one of the most underrated things in the world.

[00:36:28] You have to drink water. That's my favorite. What you could do tomorrow. Drink more water, measure your consumption. Go for even 70 or 80 ounces. And and you can't count other beverages. Coffee technically if you don't have anything in it, or tea can count as your liquid too on your water consumption.

[00:36:49] But, you can't count things like alcoholic beverages or. Milkshakes, anything like that. 

[00:36:56] Bob gatty: How about Diet Coke? You count that? 

[00:36:58] Mark Barnes: No. In fact, get the colas and the sodas out. 

[00:37:02] That's the one of the worst things for you. 

[00:37:05] Bob gatty: Oh yeah. What's the matter with diet Coke? There's no calories in it. 

[00:37:09] Mark Barnes: It's not so much about the calories it's about the the acids or the acidity in sodas is really bad for your your digestive system, your metabolism, all of that.

[00:37:20] And again, but you know what, Bob, let's go back to joy filled life, right? If you're someone or your listener, if you're some people who love to drink the sodas, we believe in incrementalism. I don't wanna ever tell anybody, cut something completely out unless you're a smoker. And then I would say cut that out completely.

[00:37:40] But otherwise, cut it down again. Go incrementalism, reduce if you're drinking, you some sort of a soda every day you have to start by cutting back. Start with one day. One day I'm gonna, one day I'm gonna cut out. And then you're still drinking for six outta seven. And then eventually knowing that it's not healthy for you, go to one more and maybe, when we write in there, Jim's wife, Penny, who we mentioned a couple times in the book, in fact, there's a picture of Penny in the book.

[00:38:07] She's, I think 60 and is in tremendous shape, and that was her Achilles heel was the soda. She likes to, she likes it daily. She got to a point where she's, she just cuts it down. She says, it's a treat. It's a, it's something that I wanna still do, but I know it's not the best thing for me.

[00:38:26] Working in increments I'm just gonna cut back. Yeah. 

[00:38:30] Bob gatty: Hey, you know what? I did an interview two times now with a woman by the name of Lynne Bowman. Lynne is in her seventies. She's absolutely gorgeous. She would never believe this woman is that old. She has written a book called Brownies for Breakfast.

[00:38:49] Mark Barnes: I think I've heard of this. Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:38:51] Bob gatty: And it's all about adapting foods you like to make them healthy. And she sent me the book and I've made a couple of, I made some I made some cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies that she that was, that were, that was in her book. Was Oatmeal Raisin or was it Peanut butter?

[00:39:10] I don't know. I don't remember. But anyway, they were really good and so I would recommend anyone who's interested in looking into improving their diet joyfully check out Lynne's book. That's a good one. 

[00:39:26] Mark Barnes: Yeah. I like that. 

[00:39:27] Bob gatty: And also, guys, let's check out, let's check out Mark's book that we're talking about today.

[00:39:34] So where can people find it? Mark? 

[00:39:36] Mark Barnes: Yeah we, Jim and I are all about what we call after fifties life. So we've made it easy after fifties Okay. You'll see links to the book there. You'll see links to our bios if you wanna learn about us. A link to our Facebook page, which is also called After fifties Life.

[00:39:53] Which now has well over 5,000 followers and it's only been around for a few months. So people like this topic, I think. Yeah. And the, and you know the book's out now, it's on Amazon, Barnes and Noble. If you walk into your local store and they don't have it, they can order it and have it for you in a couple of days.

[00:40:09] But again, everything is after fifties, life after fifties and the book is Hacking Life after 50. 

[00:40:15] Bob gatty: Okay. My friend got anything else you'd like to add before we close it up? 

[00:40:19] Mark Barnes: I would say drink your water and get good sleep. We'll leave it at that. 

[00:40:24] Bob gatty: They might also might buy your book.

[00:40:26] Mark Barnes: Yeah. I'm hoping for that too. Hey, we wanna help, we wanna bring people along for the ride to a healthy hundred. So if that includes buying a book, terrific. Otherwise, follow us on Facebook. We're just we're spreading the word. Okay. I appreciate it, Bob. 

[00:40:40] Bob gatty: Excellent. 

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