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How to Feel Good As You Age
A Voice of Experience
by John Barnett

Page 117
We get scared by what the media tell us is dangerous. A Harvard study says that 40 percent of Americans are worried about getting cancer from electrical power lines or cellular phones. Yes, for some this may be a serious risk, but is it a realistic thing to worry about? By comparison, the experts are half as concerned as the general public about this risk but are more concerned about the dangers of routine X-ray tests.
Risk analysis is the science that tells us, for example, that mile for mile it is safer to fly in an airplane than to drive a car, or that an 18-year-old is at higher risk of dying in a car accident than from cancer, and vice versa for a 50-year-old. We know that eight of the top ten leading causes of death are results of our own conduct. Professor John Graham, the former president of the Professional Society for Risk Analysis, says: "By changing personal behavior, people could reduce their risk of dying early by 70 to 80 percent." The lesson: Stay focused on exercise, health knowledge, nutrition, keeping weight off, health exams, and avoiding bad health habits. Don't sweat the small stuff. Put your health efforts where the payoff is big. Make the decision today on the major changes in your life that will keep you functional and enjoying this world longer.

Page 20
It does not take much exercise to protect people against a premature death. The February 11, 1998, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association reported a study by Dr. Urho Kujala of the University of Helsinki. Sixteen thousand healthy men and women in a national registry of twins were tracked for an average of 19 years. This is the first large-scale study to separate out mortality due to genetics from mortality due to lack of fitness. Those who took brisk, half-hour walks just six times a month cut the risk of premature death by 44 percent. Even those who walked less often but still walked were 30 percent less likely to die prematurely than their sedentary twins.

Treat yourself to a new pair of good walking shoes designed to protect against shock. An exercise shoe loses half its shock-absorbing ability after about 300 miles of running or 300 hours of aerobics classes. Not only that, because of their chemical composition, new shoes deteriorate simply sitting in the store. Be sure the ones you buy are fresh. Serious walkers and joggers should replace their shoes every six months. You will feel the difference. Your knees and feet will thank you.

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This category concerns your attitudes toward the people and events in your life. It includes your thoughts when you are alone, your interactions with others, depression, mental stress affecting your health, and dealing with old anger, sadness, and regrets, as well as your current activities, work, and hobbies. This is where you will set goals such as traveling to see new places, staying connected to old friends and family, joining a support group, improving your mind, learning to play bridge, volunteering in worthwhile activities, having more contact with people of the opposite or the same sex, teaching, and mixing with younger people.

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