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Dr. Zorba Paster: Don’t let age limit life

April 6, 2018 GMT

Do you feel your age? What does that mean when we say it? Usually it’s a pejorative expression meaning you can’t do a certain activity anymore.

A new study of 500,000 people out of Michigan State University shows how our perception of aging changes as we get older. The world’s 20-somethings think being 50 is old while the 50-somethings think it’s more like 75. And so on.

What’s interesting here is that how we age has changed during my lifetime. Since John F. Kennedy was president, we have gained roughly 10 years on the average lifespan. When I was a kid, if someone died in their 60s we’d say they had a good life. Not now. These days we’d wonder what happened. That’s good news.

There are fewer nursing home beds per capita today than there were when Ronald Reagan was president. We’re living longer and we’re less likely to have a disability. We have good meds like blood pressure pills that prevent strokes and statins that prevent premature heart attacks. We also have artificial joints – knee and hips – better food and more exercise. And we’re working to get rid of the biggest poison in our environment – tobacco. All of this has made us more robust.

My spin: Take the saying “I’m too old to do that” and toss it. I don’t mean you should throw yourself down double black diamond ski hills the way you might have in your 20s, but just try to make some changes in your perception of aging.