I am not a scientist or any other sort of erudite who expects to be taken with more than an ounce of seriousness. I do have a voice, and all voices are meant for saying things. I also have a mind and all minds are intended to devise upon things. So recently I have come to a certain conclusion and I'd like to share it here.
The conclusion came as a sudden culmination of a few years of readings. None of the readings were done together, nor ever intended to add up to anything, but as with the discovery of penicillin, this realization occured not because intended, but as a fortunate accident because all the cues were there.
The most recent reading was the biography of LDS prophet and former church president Gordon B. Hinckley. President Hinckley lived to be 97 years old! Not only was he 97 years old, but he was active and traveling the world right up to that point. I also read the biography of LDS prophet and former church president Spencer W. Kimball who lived similarly. Other readings are scattered but concerned people who were physically active well into their 80s and 90s and often even into their 100s. Where does so much life and energy come from? What makes the difference? Is it chance, or are there lessons we could learn to prolong our own lives? It is my opinion that there are lessons.
The most striking of these lessons that I've felt inclined to agree with has nothing to do with medicine. It has nothing to do with nutritional diet. There are a lot of theories about long life and this has nothing to do with most of them. That is not to say I don't think nutrition and other factors play a part, but it is to say that there is an aspect to long life that I think goes without notice too often.
Hard work. That is a key. All of these men and women who lived to such advanced ages were working hard from their youth and were still working hard when they passed away. Now I don't know exactly what the connection is, nor the tie in. I do know that when you are in the service of God, full and resolute, that he will refresh you and provide for you the power and ability to serve. Beyond that, I don't know much. The quality of hard work is there in every example I've known. There's something about accomplishing things with our lives. The sooner we let-up, the sooner our bodies seem to let-up. When we are constantly pushing our ability to accomplish to the limit, each and every day, we find that our bodies slow down much quicker.
It's as if our bodies know how much we intend to do. When we spend a lot of time each day lazily watching TV our bodies slow down that much quicker. When they don't feel needed, they don't feel the need to continue. That would explain why someone who is constantly working themselves--heart, might, mind, and strength--would live so much longer. Their bodies recognize a need to repair, refresh, energize, etc.
Again, it's just food for thought. I don't know that I'd ever take the time to prove it scientifically. My own derivings are proof enough for me.