I know that I will not live forever, but maybe, just maybe, I can make some lifestyle changes that can influence how long I do live. Most importantly I would like those years to be healthy and as active as possible.
Over the past few years I have been reading some of the work that Thomas Perls, MD has been doing with centenarians at Boston University. He has written many books, papers and articles all about the topic of longevity. He recently developed this quiz based on the latest research on what factors help lengthen a person’s life. (this quiz is recently published in Health Magazine so it’s focused a bit more towards women, but men will learn from this too) Thomas Perls, MD is the real deal and I have the highest respect for the work he has been doing.
So spend a few minutes and take this quiz. Once you figure out your number, examine your numbers to figure out on how some simple changes can potentially add years to your life. This is kind of interesting quiz and do make you think about your own health. Give it a shot. And yes, you can make some small changes in your life that can make a difference.
1. When you’re stressed, how do you handle it?
a) Very well. I thrive on it and find it motivating.
b) Pretty well. I have regular healthy outlets, like yoga, walking, or calling a friend.
c) Not so well. It’s hard for me to let problems and worries go.
2. How often do you do things that keep your brain sharp, like learning a language, playing chess, or solving crosswords?
1) A couple of times a week.
b) Between once a week and once a month.
c) Rarely or never.
3. Do you spend time with friends on a regular basis?
a) Yes, I have lots of friends, and I’m very social
b) Yes, I have a small circle of close friends whom I enjoy spending time with
c) No, I usually either go it alone or spend time just with my partner
4. Have any of your parents, grandparents, aunts, or uncles lived to be 97 or older?
c) Don’t know
5. Do you have a brother, or sister with a history of heart attack or diabetes?
c) Don’t know
6. How much do you exercise?
a) 30 minutes at least five times a week
b) Some, around twice a week, and/or I regularly do something active like gardening or walking
c) Rarely or never
7. Are you at a health weight? (go to health.com/healthy weight calculator if you’re not sure.)
a) Yes, I’m within my ideal weight range.
b) Pretty close. I’m a bit above what the the charts say I should be, but I’m energetic and don’t have any weight related health problems.
c) No. I am well above my ideal weight, and I get sluggish and out of breath quicker than I’d like.
8. Do you smoke?
9. Do you floss?
a) every day
b) Once in a while
10. How often do you eat red meat?
a) 4 times a week or more
b) 2 or 3 times a week
c) Once a week or not at all
11. Did you have a child without fertility assistance after the age of 38, or did you stop getting your period completely after the age of 54?
(If you’re too young for either of these questions or don’t have children, pick “b”
12. Do you have a primary care doctor you trust whom you’ve seen in the last year?
b) No, but I see my gyno each year
13. How would you describe your sleep?
a) Great. I sleep enough so that I wake up feeling clearheaded and rested.
b) Could be better. I don’t get enough sleep, and I’m often tired during the day.
c) Not so great. I try to sleep, but I have insomnia sometimes or often.
KEY: For women start with the number 89 and add or subtract based on your answers. Males would start with 86.
1. a) 0 b)0 c)-5
2. a)+5 b)+2 c) 0
3. a)+5 b)+2 c) 0
4. a)+10 b)0 c) 0
5. a)-3 b)0 c) 0
6. a) 0 b)-2 c) -5
7. a) 0 b) 0 c) -8
8. a) -15 b) 0
9. a) 0 b) -3 c) -3
10. a) -5 b) -5 c) 0
11. a) +5 b) 0
12. a) 0 b) 0 c) -3
13. a) 0 b) -2 c) -2
Your potential age = years old.
Sheryl Crow gives an inspirational and passionate keynote address about her surviving breast cancer. Her informative and frank keynote took place at an event called Conversations on Health and Wellness October 10, 2009 at the beautiful Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes and was sponsored by Los Angeles Times Magazine.
I’ve always been and avid bicycle enthusiast. Years ago I’d ride my “ten speed” to work and play. When mountain bikes became popular I rode a “Stump Jumper” everywhere. I even made it from my home in Sherman Oaks to La Jolla a few times. These biking adventures have always been an important part of my physical conditioning and riding for me is just plain fun.
One day, I stopped at a Pasadena Cycle Shop and it was there I first laid eyes on a recumbent bicycle. See http://www.bentrideronline.com for more than you’ll ever need to know about recumbent bikes. I rode a demo around the block a few times and I was hooked!! Over the last ten years or so I’ve accumulated two recumbent bikes see http://www.rans.com and a trike. http://www.wizwheelz.com I have a few quite expensive regular bikes hanging on hooks in my garage. I can’t imagine doing any serious touring on them. My recumbents are my bicycling loves. Why? Fun! No strain on butt or wrists, mile after mile. It’s like riding along on a very comfortable lawn chair. I can ride 60 to 80 miles one day and be ready to do the same the next day.
As I run into bikers who are part of the colorful “spandex” crowd, I’m often asked about my recumbent. My answer to them is that you have to experience recumbancy. “Put 50 miles or so on one and I dare you to go back to your regular bike.”
My name is Les, and I’m thrilled to be an oomph! profile. I’ve always been involved in music. As a kid, I picked up the saxophone and along with my buddy Paul, (who played guitar) we formed a “garage” band. Over the years that effort blossomed into a part time career in music that encompassed 40 years or so. My band “The Entertainers” played clubs and private parties all over Southern California to the delight of audiences everywhere.
By day, I was a financial consultant with two major Wall Street Firms, and by nights and weekends, I was a band leader, singer, guitar player, and sax player. Sometime around 1980 I overheard a radio ad about a barbershop chorus having auditions for new members. Intrigued, I showed up for the audition. Almost 30 years later, I’m still involved in the barbershop “hobby.” My 130 man chorus, The Masters of Harmony, (www.mastersofharmony.org) has had the distinction of winning the Barbershop Harmony Society’s competition gold medal seven times in a row.
For me, involvement in the chorus is like being on a Gold Medal Olympic Champion Singing Team. We can rightfully brag that we are the best in the world at what we do. It’s not often that a 65 year old somewhat crippled up old dude can be “the best in the world” but I am just that, along with 130 or so of my best buddies. Our Masters of Harmony chorus consists of men from all age groups and walks of life who drive from as far as San Diego and Santa Barbara to attend our rehearsals in Santa Fe Springs. Every Wednesday evening we get together and work very hard at “musical excellence.” I’m also in a fine “senior” quartet, www.cacrossroads.com . We’re 2007 Far Western District Senior champs and we enjoy performing and competing as well.
My barbershop singing hobby has been one of the highlights of my life, and certainly, it gives me a lot of “oomph!” I recommend the “sport” for anyone who likes to sing. Lock yourself into a chord with three other singers and you’ll be hooked in no time. For more information on barbershop singing and for opportunities in your area see www.spebsqsa.org for the guys and www.sweetadelineintl.org for the girls.
As I wrote in my last blog post, I got inspired by a former co-worker of mine who commuted to work on his bicycle. I ended up buying a bike and did the same.
My main goal was to improve my health by lowering my high blood pressure and losing some weight. After a few months of riding my bike to work (22 miles round trip, three days a week), cutting down on sugar and those bad carbohydrates, I managed to accomplish both my goal of losing weight (now over 30 pounds) and lowering my blood pressure to a normal level.
The big unexpected surprise was that I inspired several people at work of taking up some sort of exercise in their own lives. I know of at least two people that ended up actually purchasing bicycles. One of them continues to ride to work on a regular basis because of being inspired by me! Imagine that! Me inspiring others to ride a bike or exercise was not part of my plan, but what a wonderful, surprising outcome.
Over a half a dozen people ask me several times a week, “Did you ride today?” After a month or so I would feel that I would let my co-workers down if I didn’t ride in. The interesting point here is several of these people asking me if I rode my bike to work were people I had never spoken to before. Some of my new co-worker friends asked me questions like, “ How many miles do you ride? How many days a week? How much weight have you lost? Why are you doing this?” After many discussions, I got to know them very well. Soon enough, some of them felt comfortable in revealing to me their own health concerns and challenges. A few confessed to me that they felt they needed to take better care of themselves and have been thinking on what they could do to improve their own health and lifestyle.
I could not have been more effective if I stood at the entrance of the building I work in and preached to everyone on how they should take better of themselves by riding their bike to work. I simply rode my bike and did my own thing. Somehow I became an unexpected inspirational role model for so many of my co-workers. Here I am producing videos on people with oomph! and unknowingly became an oomph! role model myself.
I keep thinking back on my former co-worker who rode his bike to work and then inspired me. I myself have inspired two others to ride their bikes. Will these two new riders inspire four more riders? Perhaps inspiration is in fact contagious.