My doctor is about 40 pounds overweight. His blood pressure is usually high, his breathing sometimes labored, and he likely has elevated cholesterol and other blood products that will cause him cardiovascular difficulties down the line. He is clearly on a disastrous course. When I try to talk to him, I’m interrupted constantly. He’s just too busy to listen to me. Either he is worried about the patient he has just seen or the one he will see later — after he confirms that I am still in the peak health he expects me to be, our appointment comes to an abrupt end. He gives me follow up instructions if there are any and he’s on to see that next patient.
After a few visits to his office I began to think I should fire this guy, but he needs my help. I should work with him. The problem is he doesn’t take direction very well. He’s in his early fifties, but he needs to get a grip on things. I know. I’ve been there.
I started early. I’m 73 now, but I’ve taken health and fitness seriously for my whole life. But, like nearly everyone else, during my work life (from my late 30s through my early 50s) I just couldn’t keep up. For a while, business, family, close relationships collectively ran me into the ground. It was all just too much, and those activities ate into the time I’d previously set aside for remaining active and fit. While I didn’t eat more, what I did eat was simply too much for my lower activity level. Slowly, I started to gain weight and look soft in the wrong places. That made me nervous and I ate more. Sound familiar?
Somewhere in my early 50s I took a long close look in the mirror and decided I just couldn’t continue down the road I’d been on. I had to sneak back in some of that fitness time I had gradually given over to career and social functions. I quickly lost a few pounds. That made me feel a lot better and I knew I was on the right track. Gradually I reassessed my exercise level, improved my eating habits, and backed off on lengthy meetings at work. Keeping those meetings to no longer than one-hour, in the end reduced my stress level.
In summary, I developed some key habits: eating sensibly, exercising, reducing stress and keeping mentally fit. As a result, in my 73rd year I don’t need prescribed medications of any kind. I have no chronic conditions nor do I show any signs or symptoms of acute or chronic conditions age-related or otherwise.
I didn’t get to where I am now by doing anything terribly complicated. I’m going to tell you about how simple strategies can be helpful. It’s not rocket science — most of it is just sensible stuff. If you think it makes sense for you and you want to make a program of your own, you will find it only requires a little discipline. Of course, I don’t do anything really stupid — by that I mean, I don’t do habit–forming drugs, I don’t smoke or use tobacco products, I don’t eat strange or unusual concoctions, no fad diets, or take strange dietary supplements, and I don’t depend on stimulants of any kind.
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Richard A. Hudson is a writer, reader and blogger committed to exercise, proper nutrition and health. He’s interested in politics, economics, alternative energy, gardening and sustainability and has written brief essays on many of these topics on his bloghttp://richlynne.wordpress.com. Despite his generally positive and optimistic views about globalization, he wonders whether we will survive current destructive forces that increasingly promote warfare among political and social classes. He is also beginning to think about the declining influence of the know-it-all baby boomer generation just as the next generation born in the 60s begins to slowly stumble into a dominant position in the U.S.
He received a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Chicago (1966) and subsequently spent 42 years in academics, gradually developing all sorts of interests well beyond his basic training. He ended his academic career in 2008, having published about 100 scientific papers, reviews and commentaries. In his last several years in the academy, his role as Dean of the Graduate School afforded him many opportunities to interact with students from all over the world seeking graduate degrees.