In September Montana's Walter Bruening became the verified World's Oldest Man. Through his recent interviews, the speech he gave at his 113th birthday bash, and articles written about Walter, we can now piece together the "secrets" to his longevity and amazingly good health.
While many, if not most, super centenarians appear to be painfully holding onto the ledge of life by their crippled arthritic fingertips, unable to even begin to explain why they've survived so long, Walter enjoys robust health and superior mental clarity. His mind is sharp, his memory is accurate and he still derives pleasure from his daily strolls through the halls of his assisted-living home. He never gets sick and takes no medication other than a daily baby aspirin, whereas it's unusual for folks half his age not to be on daily medications and nearly half of Americans 65 and older require three or more prescription drugs, according to the CDC. Walter's only concessions to his advanced age seem to be his giving up his job as manager/secretary of the local Shriners' Club at age 99; the addition of hearing aids at 111; no longer being able to see well enough to read; and the use of a walker and scooter to help him get around.
Many would be quick to attribute Walter's longevity and good health to luck and a good roll of the genetic dice. This, however, appears not to be the case, as his mother passed away at age 46, his father at age 50, and his two brothers and two sisters died in their seventies.
Here are the "secrets" to Walter's still enjoying life when all his peers and family have long since left the scene:
- A Good Diet -- Walter believes that his diet and maintaining a constant weight over the last three-plus decades (125 pounds on a 5-foot 8-inch frame) are main contributors to his long and healthy life. For the last 35 years he's maintained the habit of eating just two meals a day -- a hearty breakfast regularly consisting of eggs and toast or pancakes, and a nutritionally-balanced lunch. One of his lunch-time favorites is liver and onions. His diet includes plenty of a variety of fruit, one of his favorite foods. He savors a cup and a half of coffee with breakfast and another cup at lunch, along with drinking plenty of water throughout the day. An advocate of pushing away from the dinner table while still hungry, he feels that this would help with the obesity epidemic.
- Stay Active -- Walter is a big believer in staying active in body and mind. He keeps his body in shape with his daily walks around the home and his mind sharp by listening to the news on the radio and regular conversations with those who live and work at the home and with the many visitors who come to meet the World's Oldest Man (one of only 13 men EVER who have been documented to have reached age 113). Walter worked for the Great Northern Railway for 50 years and then the Shriner's Club for 15 more. He believes that "work doesn't hurt anybody."
- Moderation -- Moderation in everything is one of the factors to which Walter attributes his longevity. Along this line of thinking, he embraces change and is very adaptable. Walter is good at rolling with life's punches -- emotionally, he never gets too high or too low.
- Learn Something New -- Walter likes to learn something new each day. In his birthday speech he stated, "Life is a school to learn, not to unlearn" and that "the world is neither a prison nor a palace of ease, but rather for instruction and discipline."
- A Belief In God -- A strong belief in God is one of the underpinnings of Walter's exemplary life. This is made clear by his several references to God in his presentation at his latest birthday party. As would be expected from this belief, he is very tolerant of others, as is pointed out when he says, "What is truth to one is not truth to another. What is true for one country may be false in another."
It would appear that these five truths of Walter's life, rather than dumb luck of great genetics, have led to his super-long and ultra-enjoyable life experience. The Question for us is: Are there any of these five revelations that we can adopt into our lives (your life/my life) for a better life quality (and maybe some additional years) now and in the years and decades surely to come? A look at the typical obituary page in your local newspaper will show that most everyone is living to his/her 80s and better. The only real concern is our quality of life in those later years. Here's a VIDEO if you'd like to judge for yourself Walter's quality of life at age 112 (shortly before turning 113).
Ed Mayhew is a leading authority on slowing and reversing aging, who through his speaking engagements, books, CDs and newsletters, helps Boomers thrive! His age-redefining books include: Fitter After 50, Fitter for Life and AGE BLASTERS: 3 Steps to a Younger You Visit him at: www.YouCanGrowYounger.com www.FitterForLife.com AND Ask for your F*R*E*E** Fitter After 50 e-newsletter