How old would you be, if you had no idea how old you really were?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Extending Our Stay on the Planet - Part 1

My dad died when he was 53. My mom died when I was about 4 years old. I'm already in my 70th year and my medical records are the size of a Chicago phone book. So what does that say about my life expectancy? Some would say I'd best not buy any green bananas. But I'm not listening. I've got 16 grandkids ranging in age from almost two to 16 years old, and I intend to see each one of them graduate from college.

So what can we do to outrun crappy genetics and whatever else already ails us? What can I do to give my self a chance to attend my youngest grandson's graduation while still reasonably sound in mind and body?

There's hope. We can begin by taking steps today to extend our stay on the planet.
  1. Start by knowing that there are folks out there sneaking past the century mark who are still coherent and who get around on their own locomotion. My wife's mother and aunts and uncles make it into their eighties and nineties in pretty good shape. How about 102-year-old Elsie McLean, whom you might have seen on TV a last week. Elsie made a hole-in-one playing golf with the “girls” on a 100 yard, par 3 hole at a golf course in Chico, California. Maybe you and I won't make a hole in one, but we can extend our stay.
  2. People who live the longest tend to be sort of narrow. They don't carry around much adipose tissue, that greasy yellow stuff we call fat. We have to unload those extra pounds to give ourselves a chance.
  3. Aging = loss of muscle mass. If I want to see my grandson graduate I will have to get out there and walk and I will have to push myself to find a way to lift some weights to keep and increase my upper body muscle mass.
  4. We're going to need a maintenance program. If you had a new car you would probably follow a maintenance program. Our bodies are more important than cars or trucks. We need regular checkups, and good medical care when we are ailing. We need nutritious foods and maybe a vitamin or two.
  5. We need to manage the stress in our lives. You may not be able to change what is happening around you, but you certainly can change what you say to yourself about what’s happening. “Ain’t if awful,” will raise your stress level. Finding a bit of humor in a stressful situation will lower your stress level. When I had a leg amputated my four-year-old granddaughter had us all laughing with, “Now grandpa will be like a weal piwate.”

To be continued. In days to come we'll expand on specific steps we can take to extend our stay on the planet. Know that I write about these topics with a dual motive. These notes often serve to remind me of what I need to be doing. If they ring true and are helpful to some of you out there in cyberspace that makes me smile. Please comment or send me an email.

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