I used to write such a lot of stuff on health problems and then on my experiment to slow down aging through intensive physical exercises, that now I feel like writing a few pages and making some comments, all the moreso, since seven years have passed since the experiment began and those yearshave not been easy ones.
Have my convictions changed?
My answer is resolute - no. Furthermore, they have become even strongerand more profound with my illness experience.
But first, a little of my health story to understand what it is all about.
In 1954 I was tortured by spinal pains and even some dorsal alterationswere discovered. Then I invented my system of physical exercises comprisingof about thousand movements. I started jogging in 1971, when a dog was purchased. In 1985 I had a heart blockage with a pulse rate of 40 beats per min. I stopped jogging and restricted myself to physical exercises. In 1986 after the implantation of a pacemaker I began to feel myself better and resumed jogging. In 1993 the stimulator was replaced.
I started feeling like I was aging in 1992 when I stopped practical surgery. I thought over the aging mechanism and made up my mind then to resist aging thought intensive physical exercises - "the experiment". I started with 2500 physical exercises, half of which were made with the dumb-bells up to 5 kg. Then I redoubled the number of my exercises. I used to jog up to 5 km. And the aging receded. For two and a half year I felt very well. At that very time I wrote the book "Overcoming Aging ", as well as some brochures. I was fully aware of my decreased aorta activity, but hoped it would improve, but it never did. I developed stenocardia but I went on carefully with my experiment this time giving up the jogging. I had regular check-ups: my heart was getting enlarged. It was clear to me, that I had failed to deceive nature and that it was time to get ready to die. I accepted it in cold blood. I felt like having fulfilled all my life tasks. I even wrote my memoirs "Voices of Times".
In Mai 1998, my daughter, a professor of cardiology and my pupils offered me to undergo surgery in Germany - such old men as me are not used to be operated in my own clinic.
Professor Korfer implanted an artificial mitral valve and put two shunts in the coronary arteries. The operation was a success, though it was followed by long but not very hard complications. I resumed my physical exercises immediately after the operation: first, I increased the number of exercises up to 1000, then I resumed my one hour indoor and outdoor walking.
Rehabilitation went on slowly. There were a lot of minor complications: headaches and instability of movements but I was patient. I added the chapter on the surgery to my memoirs. The book was published in December 1998, I was over 85.I got again be interested in science and the desire to live returned again.
I made up my mind to resume experiment. To my usual physical exercises I added dumb-bells-exercises and increased the walking time.
Only in summer 1999 it turned loose: the aging seemed to step back. I felt at once ease by walking. In the course of winter 1999-2000 I increasedthe number of exercises up to 3000 (1200 of them were dumb-bell-exercises)and walked for 1 hour daily. As for jogging, I did it carefully and no more than 1-2 km per day, mostly downhill. Soon I doubled jogging time andrate. My physical exercises: jogging and walking take 3 hours, two of themI do listening to the radio or watching TV, just to spare my time. I live an active life: write books, get switched to Internet (http://www.icfcst.kiev.ua/amosov).
Every six months I undergo a medical check up: until now everything is all right. My heart has decreased in size reaching the level when the experiment began. No, my old age hasn't disappeared: my movements are constrained, especially when going upstairs. But I walk in the city and take buses or trams easily. My weight: 51-53 kg, height: 166 cm.
I am happy, but at the same time afraid, what if everything comes back again ? Besides, I am not very optimistic about my future : I have a fully replaced heart: valve, shunts, pacemaker. Pacemaker is soon be replaced, artificial valve is intended to last for 5-7 years (it is taken from a pig, Korfer promised to change it), shunts might be blocked: I pull myself up: Hey, Amosov, you should not forget about God ? You will soon be over ninety, will not you ?!).
Enough about myself, let's talk about some essential problems: about health, illnesses, experiment, the way to live.
First about "intensive physical regimen". There is no need to talk a lot about the "mode of restrictions and loading". My recommendations for everybody is the same: 30-45 minutes of physical exercises, 1000-1500 movements, including 500 exercises with 5 kg- dumb-bells , plus one hour of intensive walking, but 2-3 km jogging is still better. An active man is advised to double this regimen, especially an old man. Funny? But it is really so: doing exercises in old age is not easy.
Important to increase intensity of exercises gradually: no more than 3% per day. The pulse rate has to be always under control: pulse acceleration shall be no more than 50% of the initial state. The highest rate for young people - 140, for old men - 120.
By heart problems one still needs physical exercises. However, the consultation of a doctor is required and the rates of physical training should be doubled.
Food: fresh vegetables and fruits - 0,3 - 0,5 kg. Milk. Meat - 50-100 g. Adipose is to be avoided, vegetable oil - in small quantities. Salt and sugar are to be cut down. As to the bread, it is better to eat rye bread, plus porridge . Weight is to be under control and brought to conformity with the formula "Weight=Height minus 105-110 (depending on muscle)". Don't be afraid of fasting - it is useful. No allowances are to be made for old men : weight has to decrease but not to grow, because the bulk of muscle albumen diminishes and it is no use to accumulate fat (fat fold on one's belly should not exceed 1-2 cm).
Very important to have command of one's mind: the number of illnesses provoked by stress is far larger than those provoked by other factors. (This piece of good advice is as much important as it is useless-it is being hardly followed ). One has at least to control oneself: don't be agitated on trifles. In this respect, it is very good to learn auto-training or meditation.
Prophylactic check up: one has to know his blood pressure (110-140/60-80). Pulse rate 60-70. Some periodic blood tests can be helpful as well. Haemoglobin should be 120 or more. One has to control his weight once a week or even daily. It is very important: one used to put on the weight unnoticeable, but how hard it is to grow thin !
One doesn't, need to get upset by the first signs of illness and call the doctor immediately (except for acute stomach pains). Some minor symptoms that do not prevent working have to be waited through, a week or even a month- nature requires it. I understand that for me it is easy to state so, because I know what is dangerous and what - not. When one is ignorant of medicine, one can not do without a doctor and can easily be taken a doctor's prisoner (not to mention the doctor's fees). But if a doctor happens to say "not dangerous", please believe him and stop treatment: a physician would rather be overcautious than he would reassure a patient.
My attitude towards medicine has not changed. Surgery is powerful, it is not to be feared. (By the way, recurring narcosis is not dangerous: such prejudice still exist). I have felt therapy on my own back as never before. There are some effective drugs, but about two thirds of them are only psychotherapy. I can not advise you how to distinguish them - one has to write a book about it. It is impossible to organize a good treatment without special checks up: ultra-sound check, X-ray photography, tests. But it is not worth to do it for some trifle indispositions. One should not make excessive use of self-treatment. The less drugs - the better.
A recommendation of an experienced patient shall be: relax and put up with it! As to the old men, I do not see any problem for them, because I have felt on my own back what I knew before: to die is not terrifying. Nature protects the mind of a dying man from suffering.
Do not be afraid of illnesses: the nature is happened to be strong when it is not being damaged. Medicine is a strong ally. It can help and even save.
As to my experiment, I am sure, that if a heart is strong, intensive regimen would provide an active life up to 90 years. And for those who happy (or unhappy) - up to 100.
I suppose it be all.
Nikolay Amosov. My World Outlook.
Translation from Russian into English Kovalchuk Emma