Health: Getting “Back to the Basics” with Dr. Stephen Schimpff

Does our health deteriorate annually? The bad news, according to Stephen C. Schimpff, MD, is that it does.

The good news is that, while the deterioration associated with aging can’t be stopped, it can, at least, be slowed.

It’s important to start young.

The value of diet, exercise, stress management, quality sleep, and not smoking should be no surprise, yet how many people can give themselves high marks in all of these areas? While not smoking is a no-brainer, it’s sometimes challenging to find time to eat right, work out, and handle stress so that it doesn’t keep us awake at night.

These critical factors are also important to the brain’s health, with the addition of two more: staying challenged and maintaining social connections.


Dr. Schimpff has some tips concerning each of these areas. Diet is at the top of the list. While “all things in moderation” is good as a general guideline, there are a few foods that would be good to eliminate entirely. Most people eat far too much sugar.1 In addition to sweetened beverages, it’s in pies, cakes, cookies, pastries, cereals, and more, and portions are getting larger.2


Exercise is next on the list. For those who don’t have a regular fitness regime, walking outdoors with friends may be one of the best things we can do.3 It’s an easy, safe, and fun way to get into shape and stay in shape.

Stress Management

Pay attention to stress. It can’t be eliminated, but reducing and coping effectively with stress is important for good health.4 Stop what you’re doing, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Exercise may also help manage stress.5


When it comes to sleep, try sticking to a schedule. Avoid stressful events at bedtime. To maximize the body’s production of melatonin, eliminate exposure to light at night.6 Or try supplementing with a small amount of melatonin, which provides benefits other than sleep.7

Obviously, if you’re still smoking, quit today and don’t look back.8

Brain Health

The brain needs all of the above and more: it also needs stimulation to stay healthy,10 so challenge yourself! Learn a new language or motor skill (such as playing a musical instrument), write a book, or help others by volunteering. There’s no end to the possibilities.

Social engagement not only may help us live longer; it also makes our lives worth living. Our connections to family and friends are among the most valuable things in life. Staying engaged with other people has been associated with better aging,11 mood,12 and brain function.13

While medicine has not yet brought us to the point in time where aging has been eliminated, there are things that can (and should) be done now to slow it down. You’ll get more enjoyment out of life with a healthy brain and body and possibly gain a few more equally enjoyable years.

Like what Dr. Schimpff has to say? Listen to the Live Foreverish podcast of Life Extension’s Dr. Michael Smith, with featured guest Dr. Stephen Schimpff, as they discuss getting “Back to the Basics,” by visiting

If you like what you hear, please take a moment to give Live Foreverish a 5-star rating on iTunes!


  1. Chow KF. Chin J Dent Res. 2017;20(4):193-8.
  2. Benton D. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017 Jun;55(7):988-1004.
  3. Hanson S, Jones A. Br J Sports Med. 2015 Jun;49(11):710-5.
  4. Varvogli L, Darviri C. Health Sci J. 2011;5(2):74-89.
  5. Mücke M et al. Sports Med. 2018 Aug; doi: 10.1007/s40279-018-0979-0.
  6. Medic G et al. Nat Sci Sleep. 2017 May;9:151-61.
  7. Xie Z et al. Neurol Res. 2017 Jun;39(6):559-565.
  8. Taylor DH et al. Am J Public Health. 2002 Jun;92(6):990-6.
  9. Joubert C, Chainay H. Clin Interv Aging. 2018 Jul;13:1267-1301.
  10. Hornby-Turner YC et al. BMJ Open. 2017 May;7(5):e013226.
  11. Hajek A et al. Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2017;15:140.
  12. Kelly ME et al. Syst Rev. 2017 Dec;6(1):259.


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