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Former TV host Art Linkletter, now 94, still travels 150,000 miles a year delivering more than 75 lectures on healthful longevity, and moves around like someone in his thirties. I met him when he’d just turned 80 and he looked terrific.
He attributes his well-being to lifestyle choices. Now, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (November 15, 2006) virtually confirms that these choices determine most everything about the odds of a man reaching healthy old age.
To begin, the study pretty much acknowledges that men like Mr. Linkletter are the exception, rather than the rule. It’s mostly women who make it into the spry 80’s and 90’s, not men.
The article says a guy in his late fifties has the best chance for surviving into advanced old age (their term) if he:
• Maintains a lean body mass
• Exercises regularly
• Doesn’t smoke
• Avoids over-consumption of alcohol
• Keeps his blood pressure in a normal range
• Avoids sugar, sugary foods, and simple carbohydrates (to reduce diabetes risks)
Linkletter, in his new book How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life, agrees with these, and adds:
• Keeping stress under control
• Maintaining a positive mental attitude
• A program of nutritional supplements
From my own observation, women, in comparison to men:
• Are more involved in personal health issues
• Are willing and flexible enough to make changes from an unhealthful lifestyle to a healthful one
• Exercise more, smoke less, drink less
• Will more readily take steps to reduce stress (counseling, yoga, meditation)
• Are more weight conscious
With this data at hand, here’s what you can do to support the man in your life:
• Don’t enable unhealthful behavior.
• Help him quit smoking and limit alcohol.
• Shop and cook together–choose foods that are low-fat, with minimal sugar, and high in complex carbs, including lots of fruit and veggies.
• Keep portion control in mind.
• Do some exercise together: plan an hourlong daily brisk walk, go to yoga class or the health club, take active vacations.
• Suggest a nutritional supplement regimen. At minimum, he should be taking a high-potency multiple vitamin and a high-potency antioxidant.
• Remind him to make appointments for a check-up, eye and dental examinations, and colonoscopy.
So that, when he turns ninety, he can say to his handful of surviving male friends, “I definitely wouldn’t have made it this far without her.”