CNBC – When I was born in 1922, the average life expectancy in the U.S. was 58 years old for men, and 61 years old for women.
So as a 100-year-old practicing medical doctor and neurologist, patients often ask me for tips on how to stay healthy, happy and mentally sharp.
Good genes and a bit of luck can give you a head start, but here are some lifestyle rules I have lived by over the past century:
1. I don’t spend my days retired.
I’ve been working for more than 75 years, and was even named as the world’s oldest practicing doctor by the Guinness World Records. Sara, my wife of 65 years, also still practices psychoanalysis and psychiatry at age 89.
During the pandemic, I treated patients for five or six days a week. Then I switched to teaching medical residents for up to three days a week.
If you’re blessed to have a career you enjoy and are still able to work, consider delaying retirement. Many people who retire and become inactive in their day-to-day routine are at an increased risk of cognitive decline.
2. I don’t let myself get out of shape.
Swimming, jogging, hiking and skiing well into my late-80s has kept me strong and healthy.
While I no longer ski and am not quite as active as I once was, I try to get in at least three miles on my treadmill at a brisk pace most days of the week. Watching Turner Classic Movies in the background helps curb some of the boredom.
Studies have found that something as simple as a 15-minute walk outside could lower your risk of premature death by almost 25%.
3. I don’t smoke.
When I was in high school in the 1930s, I told my father that I wanted to take up smoking. He said, “That’s alright with me. But why would anyone want to put anything but fresh air into his lungs when life is so short as it is?”
That immediately took the fun and excitement out of tobacco for me …