Tag Archives: stay young

Study: At 50 You Can Be As Fit As A 20-Year-Old

50 years old and fit

(One message of this blog is that, with persistence, you can be healthy, vibrant and highly productive throughout your life. Here is still another scientific study that proves our point.)

According to Norwegian researchers, a 50-year-old who exercises regularly can be as fit as a 20-year-old who doesn’t exercise.

The study showed that:

  1. Youth is not necessarily the most important factor when it comes to being fit.
  2. Activity is far more important than age in determining fitness.
  3. Both the amount and the intensity of the exercise are important.
  4. These researchers found that by increasing the intensity of exercise, people are able to reduce their risk of metabolic syndrome, the cluster of risk factors that increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular diseases.

  5. The least fit people, no matter what their age, have the poorest measures of cardiovascular health, such as higher blood pressure and high cholesterol.

The process of getting healthy and staying healthy is simple . . . but it’s not always easy. To receive the health benefits of exercise, you have to exercise with intensity.

One way to do this is through interval training where you alternate short bursts of high intensity exercise with short periods of lower intensity exercise.

For example, you might run for 1 to 4 minutes followed by 1 to 4 minutes of walking. Then, when you progress, you could alternate hard running with slower, easier running.

Your goal is to work up to 30 minutes of exercise per day.

Of course, especially if you are a couch potato now, you should consult with your physician before beginning an exercise program . . . and always use common sense. The first rule of exercise is: don’t hurt yourself.

If you are a complete newbie at exercise, or just want some instruction and encouragement, you would be wise to consult a qualified personal trainer.

Study Says Only 15 Minutes of Exercise Each Day Can Add 3 Years To Your Life

Exercise at least 15 minutes a dayThis blog exists to put more years in your life and more life in your years.

One of the best things you can do to achieve those twin goals is free and doesn’t take long, although you will get sweaty (and no, I’m not talking about that!).

It’s exercise. There is overwhelming evidence that increasing physical activity leads to improvements in your health, mood and over-all well-being.

But how much exercise do you need to receive the benefits?

The United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, plus two additional strength-training sessions.

The UK government also recommends that adults get 150 minutes of activity a week.

Exercise at least 15 minutes a dayNow, however, there is evidence that even less exercise than that – as little as 15 minutes per day or about 90 minutes a week – will give you significant health benefits.

A recently-published study, done in Taiwan, involved following more than 400,000 people for an average of 8 years. Based on their self-reports of their weekly exercise, the study participants were placed in one of these five categories: inactive, low, medium, high or very high activity.

Those in the inactive group were couch potatoes who did virtually no exercise. The low activity group exercised an average of 92 minutes a week. Each group above that exercised progressively more each week.

Here comes the good part . . .

Compared to those in the inactive group, those in the low-activity group were 14 percent less likely to die from any cause, 10 percent less likely to die of cancer, and had a three-year longer life expectancy, on average.

And there’s even more good news . . .

Each additional 15 minutes of daily exercise (up to 100 minutes a day) reduced the risk of death by an additional 4%, and people who got 30 minutes of activity a day added about four extra years to their life expectancy, when compared with their sedentary peers.

These findings were the same in men and women and in all age groups. They even apply to people with cardiovascular disease risks.

“You can get good gains with relatively small amounts of physical activity. More is always better, but less is a good place to start”

Professor Stuart Biddle, an expert in exercise psychology at Loughborough University

How vigorously do you have to exercise? Well, you don’t have to throw around heavy weights or run until your tongue hangs out. You can do that if you want, but you will get the health benefits from such moderate exercise as biking, walking briskly or dancing.

There is no upper age limit. This applies to everyone. If you don’t believe me, read this post about a study of weight training by seniors.

Exercise at least 15 minutes a dayConvinced? Do you plan to get off the couch for at least 15 minutes a day and get moving to add bounce to your step and years to your life?

If you still don’t “get it,” let me tell you about even more new research.

A study done in Australia on health risks linked to TV viewing suggests that too much time sitting in front of the box can shorten your life expectancy. In fact, the study showed that watching television for 6 hours a day can shorten your life by 5 years!

The scientists who conducted this study do not know why this is the case, and it may simply be because viewers who watch a lot of telly do little or no exercise.

These new studies were summed up by England’s Chief Medical Officer, Sally Davies, who said: “Physical activity offers huge benefits and these studies back what we already know – that doing a little bit of physical activity each day brings health benefits and a sedentary lifestyle carries additional risks.”

Bowling One-Liners

Bowling One-Liners
Bowling One-Liners

I’m writing an article about bowling but I can’t fit these bowling one-liners into it.

I’ve got to get these out or I will burst, so here they are . . .

  • “Interest your kids in bowling. It’s a great way to get them off the streets and into the alleys.”
  • “One advantage of bowling over golf is that you very seldom lose the ball.”

  • “If our town didn’t have bowling, there would be no culture at all.”

  • “Something is wrong with my bowling delivery,” Tom said gutturally.

  • “I’ll never bowl with him again. After he got a strike, he spiked the ball.”

  • “I have a friend who was such a celebrity in his hometown that the local bowling alley named a gutter after him.”

  • “If you can’t hear a pin drop, there is something definitely wrong with your bowling.”

  • “I go bowling once every four years to make sure I still hate it.”

Thanks. I feel better.

Losing Weight Is Simple

Losing Weight Is Simple, But Not Easy
Losing Weight Is Simple, But Not Easy

The Weight Loss Problem

Everyone knows that, since about 1970, Americans have been getting fatter and fatter.

As of 2010, 2 out of 3 Americans are overweight or obese (based on BMI, Body Mass Index).  If current trends continue, by 2020, 3 out of 4 Americans will be overweight or obese.  And by 2030, the figure will be 86%.

New studies are showing that obesity is not just an American problem.  While Americans are leading the way, many of the richest nations are also becoming more obese.

This chart shows past and projected future overweight rates.  The trends are both clear and alarming.

Overweight Trends
Overweight Trends

The Weight Loss Solution

OK, we’re getting fatter.  We all know that.  The important question is “What can we do about it?”

No doubt, there are big changes that have to be made to help combat these frightening trends.  We need legislative and policy changes that reward healthy habits and discourage unhealthy ones.  Generally, the health care system must focus more on preventing illness than simply treating it.

However, at the individual level – the level we can affect most directly and most quickly –  the solution is clear and simple.

When you take in more calories than you expend, you gain weight.  For every 3600 unburned calories you take in, you gain one pound.

To lose weight, you have to burn more calories by exercising regularly and take in fewer calories by eating better foods and smaller portions.  It’s that simple.

Suggestions For Getting Started

Yes, losing weight is simple.  It’s just not easy.  It requires lifestyle changes.

Don’t be intimidated by the prospect of making those lifestyle changes.  Here are two tips that will make it easier:

1. Get started now.  Not next month.  Not when the kids go back to school.  Not after the big report is finished.  Not even tomorrow.  TAKE ACTION NOW.

2. Don’t expect perfection from yourself, just improvement. Understand that it took a while to gain the weight and it will take time to lose it.  If you have a bad day, forget it.  Do better the next day.  Be patient but persistent.  Don’t give up.

Who Else Wants To Trade A Couple Of Hours For A Lifelong Warm Glow?

Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels

I’ve delivered Meals on Wheels for more than 15 years.  I deliver around lunchtime on Friday and it takes about 2 ½ hours from the time I leave my office until I return.

As you probably know, Meals on Wheels is a volunteer program that delivers warm, nutritious meals to the (mostly elderly) homebound.

I had an experience recently which reminded me why I volunteer with Meals on Wheels. Let me tell you about it . . .

I rang the doorbell at Ms. B’s townhouse.  Because I had been delivering to her for several months, I knew that she is virtually blind and that, therefore, it takes her a while to get to the door.

So I waited patiently.  (Since I’m not known for my patience, developing it is a bonus benefit of this volunteer work.)

When Ms. B didn’t come to the door, I rang the door bell again – and knocked loudly too.

Still no answer.

I have Ms. B’s phone number on an index card that I carry in my car when I’m delivering, so I called her.  No answer.

I had a dozen other people waiting for hot meals, so I had to move on.  And I couldn’t leave Ms. B’s meal unattended outside her house.  It looked like Ms. B wasn’t going to get her meal.

But I had a hunch she was home, so I decided to make one more try. My index card had the phone number of one of her neighbors.  Sitting in my car, I started to dial the neighbor’s number.

As I was dialing, Ms. B finally appeared at the door. I yelled to her and ran back to her house.  She invited me in.

In the months that I had been delivering to Ms. B, she had been polite when I was at her house, but virtually expressionless.  She wasn’t talkative and didn’t reveal much about herself.

This time was different.

She had a big, bright smile that’s now embedded in my memory.  She told me that she had not come to the door sooner because she was a little disoriented and had not been able to find her way to the front door.

When she finally did locate the front door, she was so proud of herself.

She thanked me profusely for not leaving and told me how glad she was that she didn’t have to go without lunch.

Her smile was all the thanks I needed.

5 Ways To Be Happier

A study by statistician Nic Marks and his organization, the New Economics Foundation, found that you can increase your happiness by doing these 5 things . . .

    1. Connect with your loved ones and build strong social relationships.

    2. Be physically active.

    3. Be aware of the world around you, locally and globally.

    4. Engage your curiosity and keep learning your whole life.

    5. Give. Donate money or time to others.

Actually, these findings were part of a presentation Marks made on the need for countries to increase the well-being and happiness of its citizens without doing environmental damage.

Marks’ statistics show that the countries of the world are becoming less efficient at using the earth’s resources. That is, the use of the earth’s resources is increasing much faster than is our well-being.

The goal of countries, says Marks, should be to increase the well-being and happiness of its citizens in an earth-friendly way.

Right now, one country is doing that better than the others.

Is it the United States? No. Great Britain? No. Another Western country? Nope. How about some super-rich Gulf State? No, again.

The country that is providing the most well-being and happiness with the least environmental cost is . . .

Costa Rica.

According to a recent Gallup poll, Costa Rica is the happiest country in the world. And they achieved this distinction while using about 1/4 of the earth’s resources that the U.S. and other Western nations use.

Perhaps the key is that environmental friendliness is policy in Costa Rica which has a declared goal of being carbon neutral by 2021. Already, 99% of Costa Rica’s electricity comes from renewable sources.

Very interesting, don’t you think?

A Lifelong Love Affair With Sports


To live a Forever Young life, you need interests that excite you. Things that you are passionate about.

It can be anything that you’re really interested in. Art, music, history, quilting, backpacking, computer programming . . . whatever. (Of course, you can have more than one of these fascinations.)

Sports have always been one of my passions.

I have delighted in many different sports as a player, a coach and a fan.

Few activities, if any, have given me more hours of pleasure than sports.

To me, sports represent so many good things . . .

  • A commitment to health and fitness
  • Testing yourself through competition, learning to win with grace and lose with dignity
  • Striving for excellence
  • Developing Life skills such as teamwork, communication and leadership

At the highest levels, athletes represent the physical perfection of our species. The best of the best. Who can’t appreciate that?

Following a lifelong habit, I still start every day by reading the sports page. All that has changed since my youth is that now I read the sports page online, on my iPad. (And, it’s not actually the sports page. It’s ESPN.)

Former Chief Justice Earl Warren once said:

“I always turn to the sports pages first, which records people’s accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man’s failures. “

I feel the same way.

Personal Training: What Your Personal Trainer Can Do For You

Personal Training
Personal Training
I’ve talked about when you should hire a Personal Trainer. Now, let’s look at what exactly a Personal Trainer can do for you.

Here are the 6 main things a Personal Trainer will do for you . . .

1. Keep You Safe

The first rule of any good exercise program is: don’t hurt yourself. By showing you the proper way to do the exercises, monitoring you and giving you feedback, a trainer will keep you from injuring yourself and keep you progressing.

2. Keep You Motivated

After a safe workout, the most important thing a Trainer gives you is motivation. Simply paying for the service and committing to a workout schedule is a great start. Then, during the workouts, your trainer will encourage you and make sure you get the most out of the workout.

3. Make You Accountable

All trainees need to be accountable to someone. Your Trainer will make sure you follow through with your program. This accountability is what will keep you showing up for your workouts even on days when you don’t feel like it.

4. Develop A Custom Program For You

Whether you are new at exercise or an experienced gym rat, a trainer can give you a program that is designed to achieve your particular goals. No two people are the same. Therefore every workout plan should be tailored to the individual, to account for age, starting physical condition and goals.

5. Give You Knowledge

Of course, you have to know how to use the various cardio machines and strength training apparatuses safely and effectively. While teaching your these things, a good Trainer will also teach you about your body and your muscles. Most people know more about how their car works than their body does! If you’re one of them, your Trainer will solve that problem.

6. Teach You How To Go It Alone

Some people work with their trainers for years because they are getting results. Others want to learn how to design their own routines so they don’t need a Personal Trainer for that long. For them, the answer is to work with a Trainer for a few months to learn the basics of building and modifying a fitness program and then to check in periodically to make sure they are staying on track.

Next, in the final article in this 3-article series, we’re going to look at the critical issue of how to select the right Personal Trainer.