Outlive by Peter Attia

Outlive: Powerful Insights on how you can live longer | Review

Outlive Book Review

The diseases that kill most of us build up over decades.  If you want to live a long and healthy life then what you do right now that matters. How do you want to spend your last years? What’s your endgame? Let’s have a closer look at Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity. Book reviewwill share key lessons  from this book, along with what you can to today to make it happen, and suggests other books that help you live longer. 

About the book – Outlive

The author, Peter Attia, was a practicing doctor but change his career, and started his own practice, out of frustration with the medical establishment. Especially frustrating to Attia was the outdated view the medical profession placed on early prevention of illnesses we often associate with ageing. To him, the idea of starting treatment of our most deadly diseases after we met some arbitrary limit, some specific blood value that is too high, obvious symptoms of disease, was absurd. This point the problems are already severe and a lot of damage has already been done.

“Slow death moves even more slowly than we realize.”

Peter Attia, Outlive

The Horsemen Diseases

We need to step in early to prevent the horsemen in their tracks. Peter Attia is a proponent of individualized preventive treatment that enables people to take proactive measure decades before we reach the age where killers like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer and diabetes make themselves know.

Attia calls these killers the horsemen diseases and in the book we learn how what measures we can take, starting today,  to make sure we have the greatest possible odds for living a long and healthy life.

The book covers a lot of intervention and tests that might not be accessible to everyone (at least not yet!), hence I will focus on sharing ideas from this book that can help you on the path to a long and healthy life today.

Video Book Review of Outlive

Video Book Review of Outlive by Peter Attia

Outlive on Exercise

Getting regular exercise is the single most important component to have in place if you want to live longer.

📝“Going from zero weekly exercise to 90 just minutes per a week can reduce your risk of dying from all causes by 14%. It’s very hard to find any drug that can do that.”

Peter Attia, Outlive

The 4 keys to a longer life through exercise.

Each of these needs to be improved in order to ensure great health and a fulfilling lifestyle: strength, stability, aerobic efficiency, and peak aerobic capacity.

  1. Aerobic efficiency

This is the type of training many people find boring. It involves a steady pace exercise that falls between easy to moderate energy exertion. Think of a jog or bike ride. This type of training does wonders for your metabolic health, works as Alzheimer’s disease prevention, and keeps glucose levels in check, thereby keeping diabetes at bay.

  1. Strength training.

You want to have a good amount of muscle. Your ability to sustain muscle mass decreases as you age, even if you work out a lot. When you have a lot to begin with, it will take longer for it to wither away. Hence, you have less risk for injuries from falls and other accidents.

  1. Peak Aerobic Capacity.

Having a high VO2 max is highly correlated with a longer life. This training involves high intensity at maximum effort. Your VO2 max will decline as you age. Having a higher VO2 max now allows it to take longer for that decline to reach critical levels.

  1. Stability.

Building a solid foundation enables us to do everything else that we do without getting injured. This means being able to do basic movements life demands from us using the correct posture and the appropriate muscles.

Become and athlete of life

Become pretty good at everything. Be an athlete of life. If you are strong now, you will be stronger in ten years as well. Build muscle, maintain flexibility, balance, and VO2 max. This is what the books prescribe for us.

Outlive on Nutrition

We know fairly little with certainly when it comes to nutrition, yet proponents of specific diets act like their diet of choice is gospel. But there are things we know for certain. 

1. Being over nourished and under nourished is linked to shorter life.
2. Getting enough protein is important in order to maintain muscle. Maintaining muscle is especially important as we get older.

📝 What you eat matters but how much you eat is more important.

Peter Attia, Outlive

Outlive on Sleep

Sleep is probably the most overlooked aspect of health and longevity. Only in recent years have the topic of sleep gotten the attention it deserves. For me the wake-up call came with the book Why We Sleep. A book that caught me in one of my most stressed and sleep deprived periods of my life. If you still believe that sleeping is something you can do when you are dead, and that it’s only lazy people that sleep 8 hours a night then pick this book up immediately. Truth is that sleep is essential.

Sleep repairs your brain.

Good sleep is critical to our innate physiological repair processes, while poor sleep triggers a cascade of negative consequences, from insulin resistance to cognitive decline, as well as mental health issues.

Bad sleep makes you “old”

In Outlive the author mentions an experiment where young heathy people were set on a 4.5 hours of sleep per night regiment. After only 4 days they had the elevated insulin levels of obese middle aged diabetics.

Main Takeaways from Outlive

Decomplicate artificial complexity.

Health is a mess. Tribal, shifting, and divisive. We know so little, at least about sleep and nutrition that it is key to focus on what we actually know and not make things more complicated that they actually are. Overthinking and over complicating things are a hallmark vice of modernity- A phenomenom that is fueled by market powers. There is just simply more money to be made from complicated diets. Because then you need to buy a book and/or app to track it and you need to follow gurus on social media to ensure yourself that you got it right.

Health is simple — but not easy

But as so often is the case, the way forward is simple – but seldom easy. And progress is slow, rather than drastic and immediate. The solutions to good health are usually simple but hard. If you would be thrown out of civilization you would probably very soon be lean, fit, and have no problem sleeping 8 hours a night. Try to keep it simple, stick to what we know for sure. Make a plan that is sustainable long term. If you get this right you are more likely to be rewarded with a long and happy life.

Book Verdict: Outlive by Peter Attia

Outlive: The Science & Art of Longevity book was off to a slow start. It was quite technical and at times it felt like I was reading a medical textbook. But what was really going on was that Dr. Peter Attia  was preparing me for what was to come in the second part. All the technical nuances of recent research and medical history prepared me for subtleties of the practical advice and strategies he gives us in the second part of the book. In the end, the book was well worth the time I invested in it. The book is a guide to longer life and teaches you to think strategically your long term health.

Further Reading on Longevity

Reviews of other books that will help you live longer and healthier:
Lifespan: Why We Age―and Why We Don’t Have To – David A. Sinclair
Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams – Matthew Walker
The Comfort Crisis: Embrace Discomfort to Reclaim Your Wild, Happy, Healthy Self – Michael Easter
Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in Pursuit of Health

Find more great books to read on my the Great Books List
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