If you are one of the roughly 60 million Americans who may have already taken the “Live Longer & Better” quiz from Parade magazine on Sunday, January 27, you already know this. If not, read on.
The quiz’s subtitle asks, “Do you know what it takes to enjoy a healthy old age?” You’re probably thinking regular medical check-ups, screenings, vitamin supplements, etc. Right?
The surprising thing was that all 10 “tips” for living longer and better were non-medical. Not one of them said anything about expensive visits to the doctor, medical screenings or interventions, drugs, surgery or even vitamin supplements.
All 10 tips were free, common sense, plausible changes that most of us can make without any cost at all. That’s right. Live longer and better.....for free.
Unfortunately for all of us, our health care system has become more of a disease management system. Research from as far back as 2009 shows that 95% of every health care dollar is spent to treat disease after it has already occurred. As it turns out, prevention may be the most effective and affordable kind of health care. The “Live Longer and Better” quiz seems based on Benjamin Franklin’s timeless advice, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
By the way, Parade Magazine didn’t get to be the most widely read magazine (63 million readers) in magazine history by pushing its own agenda or pandering to special interests. It’s a classic magazine of the people. If you want cutting edge cultural/political commentary and humor you’ve got the The New Yorker. If you want practical and free (with your Sunday paper) Parade delivers.
Ok, so here are 5 of the 10 tips that will help you live longer and better:
- Want to improve...or just maintain...your memory? Stay physically active, even if it’s just doing puzzles. Move around. Walk the dog.
- Speaking of dogs. What's the best way to motivate yourself to be physically active after age 40? Adopt a dog.
- Best remedy for controlling pain and improving physical function? Tai-chi.
- Cut the cable. One hour of TV watching cuts 22 minutes off your life span. Get up. Get out.
- Just being active and sociable can add over 5 years to your life!
For the other 5 tips you’ll have to take the quiz.
But here’s the larger point, and I think it’s an important one for all of us, since we’re all in this health care business together, whether we like it or not. Doing the small, sensible things that we can all do to live a healthier and longer life is good for all of us. Everyone lives longer and everyone lives better......together.