Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara is one of those to whom Japan owes its longevity. He himself is an example of incredibly active old age: after 75 he wrote and published 150 books (the most popular one, “To live long, to live well”, sold 1.2 million copies), after 100 he continued to treat people and lecture.
Shigeaki Hinohara made his own set of rules for longevity. Some of them are very unexpected.
Longevity rules for Dr. Hinohara
1. A person receives energy not from food or sleep, but from fun. Remember, as a child, if we were having fun, we forgot to eat, and we did not need sleep? In adults it’s the same. Do not exhaust your body with an excessively strict schedule of meals or sleep. 2. People of any race, nationality or gender can live for long. They have only one thing in common: among the long-livers there is not a single fat man. I, for example, at breakfast I drink coffee or milk or orange juice with a spoon of olive oil (it is useful for arteries and skin). Lunch is milk with a cookie, or nothing if I’m too busy. When I work, I do not feel hungry at all. My dinner is vegetables, some fish and rice. Twice a week I eat 100 grams of low-fat meat.
3. Always plan ahead. My diary is usually filled until the end of next year – recording patients at the reception, lectures and work in the hospital. But in 2016 I planned to have some fun and visited the Olympics in Tokyo!
4. To retire is not worth it at all. But if this can not be avoided, try to do this as late as possible. Today, the retirement age in Japan is 65 years old, but it was introduced half a century ago, when the average life expectancy in the country was 68, and 100-year-olds for the whole of Japan were only 125 people. Today, Japanese women live on average up to 86, men – up to 80 years, and those who passed for a hundred – 36 thousand!
5. Share your knowledge. I read 150 lectures a year for any audience, from preschoolers to businessmen. My lectures last from an hour to a year and a half, and I read them standing.
6. When the doctor recommends that you take some tests or perform an operation, ask him: would he advise the same to his children, his wife or other relatives? Doctors can not cure everything, whatever they say to us. Why suffer unnecessary suffering? Sometimes music or animal therapists are better than surgery.
7. To stay healthy, go up the stairs and wear your own things. I step over two steps at a time to make the muscles work.
8. I am very inspired by the poem of Robert Browning “Abbot Vogler”. As a child, my father read it to me. It says that you have to set yourself big goals, in art and in life. If you are going to draw a circle, it must be so huge that it does not end in your whole life. We see only part of this circle – the arc, and the rest is beyond our vision and our life.
9. Pain is a mysterious thing; The best way to deal with it is to find something very interesting. When a child has a toothache, it is worthwhile to involve him in the game, and he immediately forgets about the pain. Hospitals need to take care of this. We have a lot of fun in St. Luke’s hospital: music, animals and art therapy. All this helps a lot.
10. Do not try to save as much material things as possible. Remember: no one knows when his hour will break. With it all you will not take.
11. Hospitals must be prepared for big catastrophes, and should receive everyone who knocks at the door. Our hospital is designed so that if necessary, you can operate anywhere: in the basement, in the corridors, in the chapel. Most people believed that I had gone mad, once preparing for disasters, but on March 20, 1995, all this was very useful when the Aum Shinrikyo sect committed a terrorist attack in the Tokyo metro. But I’m not happy that I was right. We took 740 victims and in two hours determined that it was sarin gas. Unfortunately, one patient did not survive, but we saved 739.
12. Science alone can not help people. The science of all of us combs one size fits all, but we are all different, and the diseases are closely related to our soul. To understand the disease and help a person, you need not only science, but also art.
13. Life is full of surprises. March 31, 1970, when I was 59 years old, I flew from Tokyo to Fukuoka. It was a beautiful sunny morning, I admired Fujiyama, when the plane was captured by members of the communist cell “Red Army”. The next 4 days I spent handcuffed in a 40-degree heat. Being a doctor, I watched from the outside and was amazed at how the body adapts to crises.
14. Find yourself a role model and try to surpass it. My father in 1900 went to the US to study at the University of Duke in North Carolina. He was a pioneer and one of my heroes. Later I also had others; When I find myself in a difficult situation, I try to imagine what they would have done in my place.
15. To live long is fine. Up to 60 years we work for the benefit of our family, and it is easy for us to achieve our goals. But then we must try for the benefit of the whole society. Since I turned 65, I work for free, for 18 hours a day, seven days a week. And I enjoy every minute.
Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, President of St. Luke’s Hospital in Tokyo, died on July 18, 2017. Almost until his death, he continued to receive patients, and his notebook was filled for five months in advance. He was 105 years old.