“I run 4 miles every day,” writes msnbc.com reader Marvin Day from Springfield, Ohio. “Even though I am retired, i get involved in coaching sport activities to help kids.”
"I ride my bicycle daily," says Larry Ciampa of Pittsburgh, adding that he studies the Bible every morning and is actively involved in his church.
Msnbc.com asked readers to share how they manage to hold off the annoying and inevitable hands of time. While many rank exercise high, as Ciampa and Day do, others see a positive mental attitude as helpful as a strict diet.
Maybe mere mortals can't age as gracefully as Meryl Streep (age 60), or compete with as much athleticism as astronaut Buzz Aldrin (age 70) on “Dancing with the Stars,” but there's plenty of advice out there on how to keep their bodies running smoothly and brains alert as we head around the block for the, oh, 50th time or more.
For doctors, it's all about the sweat. A text message survey of 100 U.S. family physicians, conducted by Truth On Call for msnbc.com found that 39 percent of doctors said exercise is the most important step someone can take for healthy aging. In fact, regular aerobic exercise helps lower blood pressure, fights diabetes, reduces stress and sharpens the brain , research shows.
For 26 percent of the doctors polled, not smoking is crucial for a healthy old age. Twenty-one percent said a healthy diet is key. While just 9 percent of doctors credited staying social as a way to age well, research has found that by delaying retirement, people can at least briefly slow down the effects of Alzheimer's.
When it comes to being social, one reader offers an unexpected take.
“Toga!” writes Pat Mack, Boston.
Well, now. As long as Mack isn't smoking or drinking as heavily as the hard-partying group of frat boy misfits in “Animal House,” he's got the right frame of mind. Studies have shown that optimistic people tend to live longer , with fewer chronic diseases.
Reader Julia Reed of Los Angeles defies aging by "walking everywhere," along with regular check-ups, vitamins and herbal teas. “I don't think about it,” she writes. “I just carry on with my usual everyday routine and I don't think about getting old. Life is to be lived and to be thankful for every day that you are alive so just live and don't worry about getting old.”
Read on for more. Some comments have been edited for length.
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Hang out with young people and only and happy people. Drama queens and kings and people who wallow in their agedness, their depressions and illnesses bring YOU down as well. Stay out of the sun and forget about tanning salons. Eat 90% whole foods, as they come from nature, minimal cooking and processing. Don't just try and "avoid" processed foods, make a concerted effort to treat them as once-a-month specialties.
Interactive: How the body agesI'm careful about my diet and I walk a lot. This feeling of being somewhat in control of my health gives me a quiet confidence. I have always looked at life with regard to others and their troubles. Things for me could always be worse and I'm thankful there not!
David Hughes, Rock Hill, S.C.
No, doubt about it, exercise has been my ticket to feeling and looking younger than my years — I began aerobics at 29 thanks, to Ms. Fonda, like so many women did then, but never stopped. Cardio, including spinning classes, weight training, ballroom dancing, all help me fit.
Show them you still got it!The most important part of my strategy to stay young, is to remember how to have fun and keep a positive attitude. Humor is key!
1. Have some goals. I ran a half marathon or two for the first time at 47.
2. Hang out and be involved with Younger people.
3. Get outside, be active.
4. Fitness, stay away from refined sugars i.e. donuts and other fat bombs to keep the weight off.
5. Try some new stuff, what ever that may be for you.
Strict diet and exercise. Do not hang around negative people. Do not hang around people over 45 who complain about aging, kick to the curve. Be around young vibrant people who welcome your knowledge. If your in a job you hate be thankful but start taking steps to doing something you love. Watch the news but do not let whats going on consume you. Stay prayerful and develop a strong spiritual foundation. If single, date mentally stable likeminded individuals.
When I crossed the threshhold of 50, my life began changing for the better, and today at 58, life just gets better and better. In my 39th consecutive year of professional employment, I plan to work 'til at least 75. I work a LOT of overtime, so when I have "me" time, I take long walks, cook new recipes from all over the world (working in a truly global company has many underrated benefits!), read voraciously, network actively with friends AND business colleagues, write fiction and non-fiction (some HAS been published!), and travel (near, far, farther). Every day I drink 6 to 8 oz of wine, lots of water, some coffee, green tea, and such. Last fall, I walked away from a wreck with an 18-wheeler in which my car was totaled and I should have been, but wasn't even scratched. That day, my perspective on life changed greatly, and I now enjoy much more internal peace. I am all about planning! Every day I have a plan. Plans can change 100 times, but without a plan, I am lost. Always wanted to take French. Now I do that. Always wanted to go to Morocco. Trip planned for this fall. Life is good!
Ellen Moore, Houston
I'm 50 and have (hereditary) severe degenerative arthritis. I exercise as much as I can, try not to beat myself up for things beyond my control, eat lighter than I used to, and value my sleep and relaxation time.
Mary Wolf, Hartford, Conn.
Working out, eating right and getting ample rest are three tried and true ways to stay young. I do all three (as consistently as I can) and don't smoke or drink. In addition to traditional weights and a lot of running, I also work out my face (don't laugh...there are muscles in the face, so why not be consistent), as well as consume foods rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, such as green tea, fish (or fish oil), orange juice and fresh strawberries. Genetics may play a part in my case too. My parents both smoked and neither exercised or ate particularly well, yet they never really started to look old until they got into their 60s. I'm 36 and many of my classmates are starting to gray and develop ponches. Aside from minor crows feet on either side of my eyes, I look and feel like a 20-something year old.
Mike Quatro, Hubbard, Ohio
I am a man of 60 years who is also a yoga teacher. I have been practicing for 26 years and teaching for 14 years. I teach aproximately 15 classes a week and do private sessions, and corporate classes as well. I am not a strict vegetarian although I do not eat red meat. I eat fish and occasionally chicken. I eat salads every day, take supplements and drink pure pomegranite juice daily. During the day I always have water with me and drink an average of two litres a day. I enjoy the ocasional cold beer or glass of wine but in the bigger picture do not enjoy the after affects of alcohol in my system. I quite enjoy waking up with a lucid mind. The expression goes that age is just a number and a state of mind; these can be tiresome cliches as we all know that there are aspects of aging that are absolutes. That said however, one's state of mind plays a huge role in how life is perceived and experienced; the only thing we can really change in our lives is how we perceive it. Live large!
Henri Ferguson, Edmonton, Alberta
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