Preview of Your Coming Attractions

When I retired after 40 years of writing columns for the San Jose Mercury News, I figured I'd said about all I could say. Wrong. I've realized that at age 76, I'm about 10 years older than the oldest baby boomers, who are now turning 66. My very average body has had a lot of experiences in those 10 years. I've learned a lot that could be helpful to people just starting on that same path -- what to do, what to avoid, what to keep an eye on.. Consider me your canary-in-the-coalmine for the boomer generation. Tune in regularly for the heads-up advice.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


     Every day. My wife and I let our Nintendo Wii game do a body check on us. It calculates our body mass and weight, checks our balance and tests our reflexes with some simple games. It then balances the results against our chronological age and tells us what our “Wii age” (or physical age) is. My wife does really well at getting down into the 20s some days; I’m overjoyed to be told I’m in my 30s or 40s.
     I don’t look like I’m in my 40s, unfortunately, but its what’s inside that counts.
     Medical science agrees. Do things that are good for you and your real age becomes younger than your calendar age. And you don’t need a computer game to tell you (although it is fun).  Here are a few things to do that the docs say will help control your rate of aging:
1.     Walk. Regularly. At least a half-hour a day. If you have a pedometer, shoot for 10,000 steps daily (it’s harder than it sounds, but worth it).
2.      Floss and brush daily. No excuses.
3.      Try to meditate at least five minutes daily. At least, take time to sit quietly and try to clear your mind. Meditating makes me tend to nod off – a too-empty mind.
4.     Drink coffee, up to three cups if you tolerate it well. That and curry dishes or food with mustard help can help combat Alzheimer’s.
5.     Sleep at least 7 to 8 hours each night. Sure, you can live on less. Just not as long,
6.     Know your numbers (blood pressure and the “good” and “bad” cholesterols). Work with your doctor to keep them within healthy limits.
7.     Eat oily fish (salmon, sardines) regularly. More times a week than you eat red meat.
8.     Check with the doc to see if you’ll benefit from low-dose aspirin, calcium and Omega-3 pills. Be wary of self-medicating.
And act your age – the age that you feel.

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