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Five Awe-Inspiring Documentaries You Must Watch

Five Awe-Inspiring Documentaries You Must Watch

It can be argued effectively that documentaries have become one of the leading genres in the film industry. The sheer quality of these films highlights this, with the category getting an increasingly prominent role at the Academy Awards. It’s now big business, and the dramatic impact a documentary can deliver rivals even the most bombastic Hollywood blockbuster.

Here are five documentaries you simply have to watch—each is a mix of extreme emotional and life-affirming grit; poignant, explosive, ridiculous, brilliant, and downright life changing. Add them to your DVD collection today!

Stranded: I’ve come from a plane that crashed on the mountains

    In October 1972 an amateur rugby team’s plane crash landed into a remote region of the Andes cordillera. Hopelessly trapped in the freezing conditions, the survivors began a brutal, two month fight for survival. Resorting to eating the bodies of their dead friends (preserved in the freezing temperatures), it was ultimately three brave young men who decided to attempt the arduous trek out of the mountains. Their first obstacle? An 18,000 ft mountain.

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    Nominated for the 2008 Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Stranded is the tale of the 1972 Andes Plane Crash as told by the 16 survivors. It’s as emotional and mesmerising as a film can be.

    Read More on IMDB: Stranded: I’ve come from a plane that crashed on the mountains

    Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet

      20 year old Jason Becker was, by the early ‘90s, rapidly becoming a rock star. His natural gift for the guitar was wowing America and superstardom beckoned. He had placed all other elements of his life on hold in dedication to music; a commitment which made the diagnosis of the debilitating Lou Gehrig’s disease even more tragic. Doctors informed him he had only a few years to live.

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      22 years later, Becker is confined to a wheelchair; he can’t speak, or move, and is cared for by his family 24/7. He communicates through his eyes thanks to an ingenious letter board system created by his father, and despite these terrible limitations his sense of humour, and lust for life, remains undiminished. He is very much alive, and he’s still composing music!

      Read More on IMDB: Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet

      Man on Wire

        In 1974, diminutive Frenchman Philippe Petit defied death by performing a high-wire walk between the World Trade Centre buildings in New York. This exhilarating Oscar-winning documentary follows Petit’s mission: from the plan’s inception to its lofty completion, how he pulled it off is laid bare. You are left to marvel at Petit’s otherwordly skills, whilst questioning his nerve to even consider such an undertaking.

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        Understandably poignant throughout, Petit’s enthusiastic dialogue, and the remarkable accompanying pictures show you what it’s like to be on top of the world!

        Read More on IMDB: Man on Wire

        Grizzly Man
        grizzly_man

          In a remote Alaskan peninsula, Timothy Treadwell found small fame in America as the man who dared to live with wild grizzly bears for 13 consecutive summers. Believing himself to have an affinity with the animals—a state of mind which saw him self-impose a public image of an eco warrior—he took to filming the bears in their natural habitat. The result is an intimate portrayal of nature in action, but throughout the beautiful scenes there lurks the knowledge of Treadwell’s fate. In October 2003 his daring came to a horrifying end.

          Werner Herzog’s award-winning film displays the harsh reality of nature colliding with human endeavour.

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          Read More on IMDB: Grizzly Man

          Senna

            Ayrton Senna’s genius as a racing driver is undisputed; in Formula One he amassed three World Drivers Championships, 41 victories, 65 pole positions, and the respect of the world. Adored in his native Brazil, the handsome, intelligent Senna was a superstar in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, but his difficulties with the political nature of the sport, and his morally dubious dealings with his competitors (chiefly arch-rival Alain Prost), made him a controversial figure.

            Senna is candid, poignant, and thrilling, but what this documentary truly displays is how one person can make a huge difference.

            Read More on IMDB: Senna

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            Last Updated on March 25, 2020

            How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

            How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

            When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

            So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

            1. Exercise

            It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

            2. Drink in Moderation

            I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

            3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

            Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

            4. Watch Less Television

            A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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            Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

            5. Eat Less Red Meat

            Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

            If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

            6. Don’t Smoke

            This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

            7. Socialize

            Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

            8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

            Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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            9. Be Optimistic

            Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

            10. Own a Pet

            Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

            11. Drink Coffee

            Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

            12. Eat Less

            Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

            13. Meditate

            Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

            Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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            How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

            14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

            Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

            15. Laugh Often

            Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

            16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

            Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

            17. Cook Your Own Food

            When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

            Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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            18. Eat Mushrooms

            Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

            19. Floss

            Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

            20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

            Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

            Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

            21. Have Sex

            Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

            More Health Tips

            Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

            Reference

            [1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
            [2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
            [3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
            [4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
            [5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
            [6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
            [7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
            [8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
            [9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
            [10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
            [11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
            [12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
            [13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
            [14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
            [15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
            [16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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