The secret to staying young

These “city girls” seem to be following the rules.

I have a post-it note on my computer that reminds me everyday how to fight aging successfully. I think it was originally attributed to Lucille Ball but I have revised it slightly

It goes like this: “The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly and lie about your age.” I have added the phrase “And never, ever look into an 8X magnifying mirror!”

I lied about my age only once in my life and that was last week while I was joining a website community. I said I was 55 rather than 50-11. What’s six years? Nothing. But, that means I’m not living honestly, and I eat standing up, so I’m not sure I’m aging all that gracefully.

I read that In ancient Rome, a newborn child could expect to live to 22. In the 1800’s in the US, 49 was the average life expectancy. By 1991, the average life expectancy was 75 years. Now they’re talking about pushing us to 120 and beyond. That would be fine if I can still get together with my friends and twist and shout every once and a while.

That’s the big question. Will I be able to still twist and shout 10 years from now when I’m 65 (or is it 50-22, I forget).

Dr. Bill Evans and Dr. Irv Rosenberg of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center at Tuft’s University have studied aging. They have come up with the following five factors – called biomarkers – that can help people live a longer, higher quality lives.

1. Diet – Oh, not that again! That is a four-letter word I detest.

As the body ages, it requires fewer calories. (Oh shoot.) Men and women 55 and older need 150 to 200 fewer calories per day than those younger than age 55. (Shoot, Shoot) This decrease may be due to a natural decline in metabolic rate and/or decreased physical activity. However, the need for essential nutrients does not changed. Thus, there is not much room for high calorie, low nutrient foods. (Shucks – thats my favorite food group.)

2. Lean Body Mass (LBM)
Lean body mass, or muscle mass, generally decreases at a rate of 2% per decade after age 40. When LBM decreases, disuse syndrome occurs, resulting in obesity, fragility, depression and decreased cardiovascular function. I’m fairly certain I have some areas of disuse – like my brain.
3. Body Fat Percentage
Keeping body fat down and lean body mass up is important in preventing injury and disease. Well, duh. We know that. So give us some shortcuts here. We may not have long to correct our evil ways.
4. Aerobic Capacity
Exercise aerobically at least 3 times a week, keeping the heart rate at about 70% of maximum for 30 minutes or longer. Whew, that I can do. (But will I?)
5. Strength
Weight bearing exercise is especially important in reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Dr. Evans studied a group of people at age 90 who needed assistance with daily tasks and had a history of falling. Researchers had a test group of senior citizens lift 80% of their one repetition maximum weight for an eight week period. After eight weeks, the group increased muscle strength by 60% and increased LBM by 10%. Since I can barely lift Rebel up on the bed and must do it at least twice a day, does that count?

Oh, and an update of my daily cider vinegar experiment. I have noticed a remarkable decline in the number of leg cramps I get at night. I regularly was jumping up in the middle of the night to run around the bed to try to get out the “kinks.” That awoke Rebel and Lucky which meant I had to go let them outside for a few minutes. This routine was threatening my beauty sleep. I haven’t had a single one since the day I began chugalugging the vinegar.

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