July 11, 2018

by Robert Gazzola, MD

At age 73, explorer Will Steger of Minnesota completed a solo 1,000-mile, 72-day trek by ski and canoe in the Canadian Arctic. This isn’t realistic for the vast majority of us, but it’s an inspiring example of how people are staying active and adventurous throughout life.

By doing what we love and being active, we can feel better as we age. I often talk with patients about where they want to be physically in 10 years. This leads to discussing the path they are on and how they can accomplish their health goals.  

Many Americans want to play with their grandchildren and travel. They want to head to the lake, hike, bike, golf, garden, hunt, fish, ride their motorcycle.  

To keep doing what you love, it may take small, daily changes. Healthy eating, physical activity and maintaining your weight are key to leading an active life. They also help lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.


Metabolism slows in each decade. To maintain a healthy weight, choose nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats like chicken and fish. Try adding more beans to your meals. They are low-fat but high in fiber and protein which helps you feel fuller longer.


The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of aerobic activity at least five days a week and strengthening activities at least two days a week. Find a few activities you enjoy like walking, swimming, biking and dancing. Regular exercise helps build strong bones, boosts mood, relieves stress, improves memory and helps you sleep better. Talk to your provider before beginning an exercise program.

Know Your Numbers:

Your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and body mass index (BMI) provide a snapshot of your health and risk for heart disease, diabetes and other conditions. By knowing your numbers, you can take steps to improve your numbers.

Family History:

High cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, certain cancers and osteoporosis run in families. Make sure your provider knows your family history because you may need screenings earlier and more often.

The calendar will turn one day at a time, but our own aging doesn’t have to move at the same pace. Wellness choices we make can significantly slow our own aging. Make those great choices!