A Woman’s Guide to Better Healthspan, Brainspan & Lifespan

In this podcast (episode #573) and blog, I talk to speaker, bestselling author and aging and longevity expert Maddy Dychtwald about the disconnect between women’s health and lifespans, how women age differently to men, small lifestyle changes that can improve a woman’s health and longevity, and so much more!

Recognized by Forbes as one of the top fifty female futurists globally, for nearly 40 years, Maddy Dychtwald has been deeply involved in exploring all aspects of the age wave and how it’s fundamentally transforming our lives and the world at large.  

Maddy co-founded Age Wave, the world’s leader in understanding and addressing the far-reaching impacts of longevity and our aging population. Age Wave team has worked with more than half of the Fortune 500 in industries ranging from healthcare and medical technology to financial services and consumer products. 

With women at the forefront of the longevity revolution, Maddy has dug deep into their specific longevity-related wants, needs, challenges and opportunities. As a researcher and social scientist, she has led numerous acclaimed studies, including the landmark Women, Money and Power sponsored by Allianz and Women and Financial Wellness: Beyond the Bottom Line for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. In addition, she has been involved in more than 25 thought leadership research studies worldwide on longevity, aging, retirement, health and wellness, family and social connections, purpose, caregiving, finances, and leisure, which have cumulatively garnered more than twenty billion media impressions. As a blogger and member of The Wall Street Journal’s Expert Panel, Maddy’s posts on leadership, wealth management, and financial planning have topped the most-read lists. Her insights and research have been featured in prominent media outlets, including Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, Newsweek, Time, Fox Business News, CNBC, and NPR. 

Through her research, Maddy has found that even though women live on average six years longer than men, there is a darker side to women’s longevity and health: even when you correct for longevity, there is a major health gap between women and men. The sad truth is that women are not doing as well in terms of their overall health and wellbeing as men, even if they do, on average, live longer. There is a disconnect between women’s health span, including their brain health, and lifespan. Research shows that women, for example, are almost twice as likely as men to get a degenerative disease like Alzheimer’s. This type of disparity is reflected in so many other areas of women’s health. 

Over the past few years, we have also learned so much more about how women’s health is different to men. For so long, the assumption was that women and men were the same when it came to health and longevity, but we know now that is not the case. More and more research is showing just how different we are, but we still have a long way to go. It was only in 2016 that the FDA demanded that pharmaceutical companies start including women in their clinical trials! 

But this doesn’t have to be the end of the story for women. Over the past several decades, we have learned that health is not just about our biology or genetics. There are so many things we can do to improve our health and longevity, which Maddy discusses in her amazing new book Ageless Aging: A woman’s guide to increasing healthspan, brainspan, and lifespan. It provides a holistic action plan based on leading science that helps women take advantage of the scientific, medical, psychological, and spiritual tools, tips, and advice available to them as they thrive in the second half of life.  

Aging doesn’t have to be a bad thing! in fact, it can be a great thing—if we are proactive. There are steps we can take to prevent or delay the onset of physical decline that happens as we age. These include: 

  1. Having a positive attitude towards aging. Studies show that if you have a positive attitude about your own aging and the aging of the people around you, you can add up to 10 years to your own life. Your perspective is so powerful!
  2. Embracing the positive side of aging. This is not just about having a positive attitude towards aging. It also means recognizing what you have gained as you get older: more wisdom, perspective and resilience. 
  3. Being kind to yourself and others. As we get older, we tend to have more empathy and kindness for ourselves and others, which has a positive effect on our aging. This is not some small thing. Research shows that when you fill your day with small acts of kindness, you can dramatically improve your health and brain span! 
  4. Eating well and exercising more. We all know that food and exercise are incredibly important when it comes to our health. Of course, this will look different for everyone, so it is best to find an eating plan and form of movement that works well with your body and lifestyle. 
  5. Being more connected to the rhythms of our body and the day. Research has shown that embracing your circadian rhythm is a great way to improve mental and physical health as you age. This can be as small as making sure you get some sun early in the morning when you wake up, which can make a big difference in your life and help you sleep better.
  6. Having a healthy social life. Loneliness is associated with many negative health outcomes and worse health and longevity as we age, while connecting with others can add years to our life and health to our years. Don’t discount how important relationships are for your health as you age!
  7. Having a sense of purpose. No matter how small or big, purpose can add meaning and years to your life. This is anything that makes you feel like you have a reason to get up in the morning, even if it is just taking care of a loved one or walking your dogs. 
  8. Doing something good for yourself every day. This can be something as small as making yourself a nice meal or getting out of bed in the morning for a sunrise walk. Treating yourself and your body and mind with kindness is a great way to improve your longevity and health!

This podcast sponsored by: 

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Podcast Highlights  

2:20 Maddy’s amazing work

3:30 The gap between women’s & men’s health 

4:55 It’s not all about our genes! 

5:45 The difference between women’s & men’s longevity  

11:05 Maddy’s new book Ageless Aging  

11:50 Aging doesn’t have to be a bad thing!

18:15 The power of changing how you think about aging  

20:00, 41:00 How to live better for longer 

26:00 We can all learn from each other  

31:15, 37:28 How to connect with others more

38:00 The healing power of being kind to others 

41:35 Why you should do something good for yourself every day 

45:00 Why your internal & external environment is important  

Switch On Your Brain LLC. is providing this podcast as a public service. Reference to any specific viewpoint or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by our organization. The views expressed by guests are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. If you have any questions about this disclaimer, please contact info@drleaf.com.      

This podcast and blog are for educational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. We always encourage each person to make the decision that seems best for their situation with the guidance of a medical professional. 

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