The basic idea is this -- we have a chronological age and we have the age which our body feels. For example, two people might be 60 years old, but one smokes, drinks, and doesn't exercise so that person acts and feels like 75 yrs old, while the other does a lot of the right things and feels 45 yrs old. So a person has a calendar age and a 'real' age. The nice thing is the real age can be moved up or down by doing various things. Some of the things are simple, such as take an aspirin a day, while others are more challenging, such as removing stress by completing most of those nagging little tasks a person avoids.
So, the first step is to take the RealAge test. It's in the books and it's on line at www.sharecare.com (You have to register to take the test, but it is free... except for the additional emails they will send.) The online version takes about 30 minutes to do and is... interesting. It's very easy to see what you should be doing but if it's going to help you, you have to answer honestly.
Despite a lot of indifference to my health, I'm 1.8 years younger. To me this is shocking because I really don't take very good care of myself.
The next step is to pick out things to work on and change. The website gives a lot of ideas and things to do, but honestly, it was confusing and on dial-up would be a challenge. I'll stick with the book, which gives you a list of things to do, rated from "Quick Fix" to "Extremely Challenging". It suggests picking out 3-6 items to do for 3 months, then adding another 3 or so items for 3 more months, and so on.
What I picked out was:
- An aspirin per day
- Folic acid tablet per day
- B6 tablet per day
- 1 drink, preferably red wine, per day
- Fish 3 times per week
- Tomatoes about 3 times per week (for lycopene)
Okay, these are not terribly hard and really there should be some exercising in there too, but I am doing something positive for me. And that is hard to do -- I will work my butt off to help a cat, but ignore myself. I know part of this is from my childhood, but part of it is from being depressed. So, I'm giving myself credit for trying.
Now, people might be wondering why and some have suggested this is because I'm having a mid-life crisis because I turned 50 or because my husband is dying. The former, no. The latter, sort of. It's not because I see him dying and so I'm inspired to improve my health. That would be a noble reason. No, my reason is much more practical -- I have all these cats depending on me and once he dies, if I should get sick, I don't know what will happen to my cats. But in the grand scheme of things, even if my reason is for the cats, the end result of improved health is all that really matters.
So, off to take my vitamins!