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Wednesday, 22 November 2017


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I can agree with almost all of what you say here. That being said, I find it godawful hard to DO a lot of it. I am 71 and my body has tapped me on the shoulder a few times, triple bypass 8 years ago, a deteriorating hip, hearing aids and I just had cataract surgery in both eyes last May.

I am overweight and would love to move over to that diet. I have two daughters and a granddaughter who have been vegan for the last 20 years. My granddaughter is 16 and has never eaten meat, dairy etc. and is the picture of health. But it's hard. I do get 8 hours most nights, 6 out of 7 at least. My iPad is set to move over to yellow light at 7:00, I do cardio 4 days a week and weights two days. The only problem with weight work is that it makes me hungry in direct proportion to how hard a workout I do.

Tonight I'm being good, tofu stir-fry with veggies and rice.

To sum up. Very good advice and I will keep trying.

Talk about burying the lede!

[Yeah, see? Declining mental abilities. :-)

Actually, to be honest, it's a pastiche--I had about three posts going that I took bits and pieces of and whanged together. It's like what my father used to say about making omelettes--"sometimes you get an omelette, sometimes you get a mess of eggs." --Mike]

As one Dr Karl says here in Australia (a science presented / communicator); don't eat anything your grandparents wouldn't recognise as food. Although even that was after the industrial revolution and the impact that it had on humans in terms of sugar and flour production - i.e. The beginning of "processed" foods.

As a gross generalisation, there's lot to be said for those still living on farms, and are able to be more in touch with the natural world around them and it's rhythms; cycles of day and night, and the changing of the seasons, shifting of the stars, waxing & waning of the moon.

The sleep thing. A few years back, after struggling with a range of things including low energy level, ongoing tiredness, anxiety/panic attacks and weight issues (from what I realise now was eating high energy foods to combat tiredness) I had a sleep test done. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and was having a spectacular number of “micro wakes” every hour which meant that I was not getting REM sleep.

Long story short, I was fitted for a CPAP machine. Pretty much overnight my life changed. I had energy and enthusiasm. My panic/anxiety issue retreated, and I found it easier to lose weight. My wife was also some what happy with the reduction in snoring.

I strongly recommend that if you have the slightest suspicion that you are having sleep issues that you have a sleep test. Mine was done at home, a technician came late in the evening, connected a few monitoring devices to me and left. They collected them in the morning. No need to go to a sleep clinic. Very simple.

And as I said, life changing.

Thanks Mike! As I have recently entered my 60's, your post is very timely for me.

I think reference points and expectations also play a very important role. You write "It's like we haven't seen it coming". I am quite an optimist, but at one time nearly 30 years ago I had health problems, that made me think that I would no longer be able lead a normal/good life. In a way I saw ir coming early in my life, but it didn't come, as I recovered. I feel always very lucky, and even in the face of important problems my life remains above my reference point.

You mention sleeping, eating habits and physical exercise, which are all very important. I would add mental exercise, using our mind to solve any challenging problems that we are interested in. Learning new things, and keeping up-to-date about events and ways of thinking prevailing in our current "environment" (from family and friends, our profession and hobbies to global problems).

** Look what you made me do -

One key ageing moment is when you realise that greyness has extended not only to your eyebrows (which is very ageing), but also to - ahem - other parts of your body.

Then, there is the moment when you have an ECG with a real fear, for the first time, that it might reveal something nasty. Not to mention buying a blood-pressure monitor.

For me it the key thing has always been tangible, a physical sign of ageing, rather than a major emotional or psychological step. In fact I have noticed that other people age in steps - sudden deterioration following a long period of apparent non-ageing and then an accident, or a bereavement, or some other trauma.

Thanks Mike, one of your best posts and the reason I read TOP.

I was born before WW2. I've been officially old for a long time. My main problem is that I'm mentally a 16 year-old who occupies an aging body. On the good side is that I don't have an addictive personality—giving-up bad habits is easy. When I started getting health issues about 5 years ago it was easy to quit beer & wine, red meat & potatoes and to cut way back on caffeine (it's nice not being wired). I'm very happy living on spinach, fish, blue-berrys, brown rice and maybe 3-4 cups of coffee a week.. On the bad side the 16 y.o. half still isn't risk adverse, is still an arrogant jerk and still a loner.

Now on to something important. Uniforms are meant to be sexy, be it military, police or marching-bands. The French. the Nazi era Germans and Russian Federation do uniforms better than most. Some American police departments are among the least stylish.

Something I find interesting is that some non-Mike bloggers, have recently discovered the Bret Easton Ellis novel Less Than Zero. Ostentatious name dropping has become de rigueur.

Things we take for granted when we're younger, or even scoff at, become vitally important as we age. Things like diet, exercise, outlook, rest. Things like keeping to a schedule, but staying out of a rut. Things like physical and mental flexibility.

Until fairly recently I maintained a regular schedule of aerobic and anaerobic exercise. (I don't do that now, for reasons I won't go into.) A few years ago -- I remember it vividly -- I was on a stationary bike in the gym, nearly an hour into it, when I suddenly felt this surge of robustness. The world seemed more alive and I seemed more alive, as though no harm could befall me. I felt strong, a young turk eager to take on anything. Just breathing, looking around, and being alive were a thorough pleasure. And that's when it hit me: I used to feel this way all the time. Half a lifetime earlier this was my constant state of being, but it had been so long since that was the case I'd forgotten all about it. What I was experiencing was probably increased endorphin flow brought on by intense exercise. But what it felt like was youth. Youth don't have to work at that, but we older folks do. Maintaining the discipline required to make yourself feel that way from time to time may not extend your life, but it will certainly enhance the quality of living.

"sorry for writing so long, but I didn't have enough time today to write it short."

Isn't the original version of this usually attributed to Pascale? Didn't I read this, a few months ago, on this very blog? What was that about the mind going? NB: we're the same age.

There's an old joke about how you never older than your current wife, but it has been true for me. After marriage #1 fell apart I met and eventually married wife #2, 20 years younger (that's who you meet in an academic/research environment), and we started over. Ten years of work and travel, then kids now reaching the far edge of high school and I haven't had time to even think about declining anything (except perhaps opportunities).


I'm peering over the near horizon at my rapidly approaching seventieth birthday, so, yes, I am ... getting older. My inner photographer was a bit shocked last week to find that his right eye, the 'stronger one', has now become the weaker one. As a young man I was pretty lazy physically. My walking got much stronger in mid-life, and has only recently started to weaken noticeably ( i.e routine use of walking pole). Mentally I probably also peaked late. I did a PhD in my 50's and, thankfully, still feel pretty clear headed -though not as speedy.

I've had to follow a dietary regime for many years, so have become a bit remedy averse, but will take note of your comments on sleep.

Rather worryingly, several (mostly older) friends have succumbed to bouts of grouchy instransigence or angry depression following major health challenges. A couple of late and much lamented friends, however, did manage to negotiate increasing impairment and occasional severe pain without losing their customary empathy. I hope I don't become a monster if and when things get really difficult.

How about a post on death Mike? :) Have you dipped into the literature on Near Death Experiences? Just a thought :)

A lot of good advice. However, the blue light stuff I find hogwash. I read my iPad in bed every night before falling asleep. I do not use the filter it has for blue light as I don’t like how it looks. If I’m ever having trouble falling asleep, all I need do is watch a YouTube video. Even one of great interest to me will have my iPad tipping out of my hand, hopefully not to smash down on my knees, and me snoring within minutes.

Eggleston is 78 years old.

A recent interviewer with The Guardian reported:

"He remains defiantly intemperate, getting through a pack of Natural American Spirit cigarettes during our conversation and visibly livening up as his “cocktail hour” arrives. It begins at 5pm and ends around 8pm, unless he has polished off his daily alcohol allowance (half a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Black Label) before then, which is often the case."

Other interviews suggest Eggleston lived this lifestyle, one form or another, for decades.

All your health tips are important.

But great genes beat everything.

Great genes and healthy habits are important as gene expression could be amplified by lifestyle choices. Eggleston appears to be a counter example.

Not only was Eggleston remarkably fortunate to be born into a wealthy family, he also inherited the genetic disposition to enjoy healthy old age.

The book "younger next year" is the best argument for exercise I have read. At 81, I still have a good outlook on life, which I think is the secret to a peaceful mind, that being the ultimate goal.

Ha! I work part-time as a Guinea pig at a cellular research centre, and I am genetically programmed not to age. Peter Pan, eat my shorts!

Based on your Thanksgiving post, it looks like you are also trying out one of the better things anyone can do for health, socialize with friends and neighbors. I'm involved with the social-justice community in Duluth, mostly through one organization, and at 51 I'm on the young side. We have many people over 70 and some in their upper eighties. Even had a very elderly woman in a walker show up to our potluck fundraiser. So eat well, sleep well, exercise, and as importantly, do fun and/or volunteer activities with others on a regular basis. The last part makes everything else worth the work.

I try to eat healthy, often fail but I do eat more good stuff than I use to and try swallow my share of those so called "Superfoods".

It's scary because at age 63 I am starting to admit I am older. I still work too hard and at the end of the day I hurt. Good news is semi-retirement starts Jan 1.

Oh I highly recommend checking out nutrition/fitness expert Dr Rhonda Patrick on YouTube. You can find her on her own show or with tough talking Joe Rogan. She's is so respected Joe won't even throw the eff word around when she is on.

I live by the motto, "if you haven't grown up by the time you turn 50, you don't have to."


Ha! Letterman's pithy statement: "The train only goes one way," is on the mark. Especially now as my 59th birthday is just around the bend.

The flip side of the coin (rattling off clichés today) is that as I age, I become mellower and less judgmental of friends, family, and myself.

I "get" what you say about cognitive decline. Conversely wisdom compensates for loss of short term memoery, diminished ability to do calculations without pencil and paper, and lacking the mental agility/nimbleness we enjoyed (unknowingly) in our youth.

I've discovered how important it is to get out everyday, no matter the temp, to soak in the sun. Nice thing about living in the high plains on the edge of the front range of the Rockies is that it's so damn beautiful. And luckily, I've got a canine companion whose main interests are: 1) food; 2) sleep; 3) walkies.

I've stopped eating wheat, corn, soy, and I only eat beef and chicken a few times a month. I miss fresh seafood (Lafayette, Colorado ain't Boston nor Florida). Good thing I like sardines.

I'm not on a diet, I've merely adjusted my lifestyle. It's worth it. I eat less, don't have acid reflux, have more energy (which helps to counter the symptoms of having a cluster of autoimmune disorders). Being a guy of small stature, having lost 30 pounds and now maintaining a steady weight, has improved my quality of life.

I've always been somewhat absent minded. And when I'd misplace something, I'd get angry and into a tizzy. Now I let it go: things eventually turn up.

I wish I had the time to continue blabbing, but my 18-year old daughter is chomping at the bit to head up to the mountains.

Peace to you, Mike, and your readership.

Diet seems all over the board. From Paleo to Vegetarian. I think one has to find the diet that works for them personally. I've always had an inclination for a fat, meat and lettuce/green vegetable diet. I found that whole grains and some root vegetables were causing me serious digestive issues. With a little bit a of research I came across the Fast Track Diet. The diet is based on fermentation potetential of food in your digestive system. Based on good fats, protein and greens with fermentable foods thrown in to create a healthier gut culture. I now have more energy and feel much better.The Fast Track Diet can be found here: https://www.amazon.com/IBS-Irritable-Bowel-Syndrome-Antibiotics-ebook/dp/B00CBP2S1Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1511469304&sr=8-1&keywords=the+fast+track+diet

Don't nap ?

Are you kidding? I live to just take naps in the afternoons ;-)
and I'm as healthy as any 60 year old (granted I'm not 60 yet ;-)

Like you, Mike, I am aging. Thank you for the information and tips. Bill Wheeler

Struck a chord with me, I've been 'me' for the past decades. Until earlier this year, when I noticed that.. I'm not me anymore. I kept ignoring it for a while, blaming lack of sleep, or a cold - you get the idea. But truth is, my body is changing, and I cannot ignore it.

Irony is, I never thought of myself as becoming an old man, ever. Turns out, I've been right all the time. I was diagnosed with a disease. Expectation is that there's high probability for me to be alive in 5 years, but it's almost certain I won't be around 10 years from now.

Not ready yet to wrap my head around it. But at least I won't have to deal with raging..

[My sympathies to you Jerome. You might have an excuse to do some raging...or did you mean that last word to be "aging"? I wish you well for your remaining years, but then I wish us all well for our remaining years.... --Mike]

Dear Mike,
Just hit 73, your article really struck home as if you’d stolen some of my thoughts though surprisingly I thought I was the only one having them.
I truly appreciate your personal web site have done so for a long time and realized that I’ve taken it for granted. As it’s Thanksgiving its appropriate to take the opportunity to say Thank You for all you do:
Thank you with much appreciation.
Keith Trumbo

Mike, it's good to pause and think about this. I'm 54, have always been relatively healthy, with no weight problems or need for medications. This week, I learned that I have prostate cancer. It's purely luck of the draw. I suppose if one has to contract cancer, this is the one to have, as it's slow-acting and generally treatable. In any case, it makes me realize that there's much that we can't control (time, hereditary health events, etc.), and it's wise to appreciate all the good things we have. In my case, that includes close family and living in a beautiful part of the world (Reno/Tahoe, Nevada). We all age and inch toward decline; all we can do is take care of ourselves with common sense and enjoy the ride. In the grand scheme of things, life's short, so why sweat the stupid stuff?


I am 55. I just did my annual medical and somehow managed to bring down my cholesterol to 195. As soon as I was out of the clinic, I drove to the supermarket and bought a 450gr Rib Eye steak and a bag of baby potatoes, had them with red wine and a Cuban Bolivar as dessert.
Back to normal today.

Mike, there is hope. Some interesting links I saved:




It doesn't have to be extreme. You don't need special clothing. You don't need a gym membership (exercising outdoors is better in a number of ways, for mental and emotional wellbeing, provided that outdoors doesn't mean a New York street choked with traffic and shoppers).

Incorporate a range of types of activity into your day, don't restrict yourself to one type of exercise: brisk walking, cycling to the shops or in a park, a bit of soccer, trotting up stairs (or even just lifting your leg higher and walking up more briskly than usual), resistance training (chopping & lifting logs?), bouncing on a trampoline, maybe go for a swim twice a week. These things will help prevent mental as well as degradation and will benefit your sense of wellbeing, particularly if done in a green space, woodland or other natural setting.

It's very important to reduce the amounty of time spent sitting. Our bodies weren't designed for spending long sat on a chair or sofa. Don't drive somewhere if you can possibly cycle or walk. Do some of your browsing and writing stood at a high worksurface instead of sitting down, the more you do it the more it will become natural. There are lots of ways to reduce the time spent sat down.

Flexibility declines with age and that decline can only be stopped/reduced by working the body. Yoga, pilates or even a 10-minute gentle stretching routine (best done later in the day when you've been using those muscles and they're nicely warmed up).

Make these things a part of your day and you'll feel the benefit, both now and in the years to come. I started cycling to work 12 years ago and wouldn't stop now. It wakes me up in the morning, I arrive at work alert and feeling so good, even when the weather isn't great. The ride home clears my mind, I can leave the office routine and issues behind. I know you can't do this but you could go for a brisk walk with the dog first thing in the morning, run errands on a bike at lunchtime, throw/kick balls before dinner...

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