CSU podcast ‘living healthy longer’ unpacks the science of healthy aging

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We live in an aging world. Humans are living longer, having fewer children, and the percentage of adults over the age of 65 is continually growing. This unprecedented phenomenon creates changes at every level, from health care, social security, work and retirement to family dynamics, life aspirations, and personal health and well-being.

When the Columbine Health Systems Center for Healthy Aging set out to start a podcast a year ago, the goal was to highlight research from faculty members across CSU who are investigating these critical issues in aging and to bring aging studies out of the lab and into the earbuds of listeners across Northern Colorado.

Life advice

Covering topics like nutrition, psychology, health and exercise science, veterinary medicine, behavioral science, and more, the Center’s podcast provides a platform to translate aging research into actionable tips that listeners can incorporate into their daily lives to live healthier and more holistically. Each episode ends with the same question: “What is your best advice for healthy aging from your perspective and what you research?”

While the show features researchers from across the aging space, guests often have similar tips for living a healthy and engaged lifestyle. Common advice shared includes:

  • Exercise at least 150 minutes per week, doing an activity that you enjoy. Don’t run if you hate running.
  • Exercise the brain regularly by picking up a new skill or honing a lifelong one.
  • Keep a handful of friends and family close by; quality is greater than quantity in social networks.
  • Guard your energy and be intentional about who and what you choose to fill your time.
  • Eat a balanced diet. The Mediterranean diet is consistently recommended.
  • Endorphins beget happiness, so laugh and smile often.

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What the science says

The show also delves into aging science to keep listeners up to date on how the field is progressing. Since its release in January 2021, living healthy longer has welcomed more than 20 guests, including:

  • Nicole Ehrhart, director of the Center for Healthy Aging and a professor of clinical sciences, who discusses what the “hallmarks of aging” are and how these molecular mechanisms drive the aging process.
  • Julie Moreno, an assistant professor of environmental and radiological health sciences, who outlines processes in the brain that lead to neurodegeneration and potential therapies to slow them down.
  • Gloria Luong, an associate professor in human development and family studies, who talks about social and emotional aging: why being alone isn’t exactly bad for you and how daily routines and stressors change with age.
  • Lise Youngblade, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences at CSU and a lifespan developmental scientist, who discusses the impact of early-life experiences and how personal decisions made across the lifespan contribute to healthy aging.

Another recurring theme on living healthy longer is that of comparative aging and the many insights that researchers gain from companion animals to learn more about how humans age. Episodes covering “Arthritis from Dogs to People” with Dr. Felix Duerr, “Nature-Based Interventions for Cognitive Decline” with occupational therapy alumna Becca Lassell, and “The One Health Approach” with Dr. Sue VandeWoude feature some of the work that positions CSU as a top veterinary school and an emerging standout in the aging field.

Listening and streaming

The living healthy longer podcast is released every other Monday.

Episodes can be found on the show’s public webpage, or listeners can subscribe across podcast platforms: Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle Podcasts, or Amazon Music.