Meet “Fred.” He’s one of many patients in my practice that I’ve cared for over the years. In this case, Fred is a wonderful man with a loving family, steady job, wealth and … several health issues. I see Fred a few times a year, and we have the same conversation about why he’s not following through with my recommendations. He continues to put off until tomorrow what I asked him to do months ago. In fact, the “Freds” of my practice are one of the many inspirations for my latest book “The Power of 5: The Ultimate Formula for Longevity & Remaining Youthful.”

Divided into five categories – Sweets, Sweat, Stress, Sleep, and Sex – the Power of 5 details the ways you can take control of your own lasting youthfulness and vigor.

I try to encourage everyone I meet to start now while you’re young – meaning as early as your 30s. As a geriatrician, by the time I meet a new patient in the “back nine” of their life, it’s sometimes challenging to get a person to change their habits. It can be done, but it’s certainly easier to manage their healthcare when they already incorporate these habits into their lifestyle.

What are some things you can do today?

  • Follow a healthy diet – Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, teas and spices are all proven to have a role in cancer prevention. Reduction in the consumption of red meat has also been shown to limit the amount of carcinogens in our body.
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Quit smoking (including e-cigarettes)
  • Stay physically active – Whether it’s golf or tennis, walking, jogging, yoga, or a full workout at the local gym, find an activity that fits into your lifestyle.
  • Manage stress – Find a mental exercise like reading, soduko or meditation where you can put your focus somewhere else. Social support like friends, family, and religious organizations can provide an emotional outlet as well.

I’m not giving up on Fred. Every time I see a “Fred” in my office, I’m still going to care for him or her and keep offering my advice on how they can turn things around. It’s never too late – or too early – to make the most of your years.

To a long and healthy life!

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