ZOOMERS: Keys to aging gracefully

Exercise, nutrition and social engagement secrets to long life


ou have all heard the latest adage that 60 is the new 40.

Well here is a newer one… 80 is the new 60.

As baby boomers, we listened to The Who sing, “I hope I die before I get old.”

And who was that pot-smoking hippie who exclaimed “Never trust anyone over 30?”

Well orange may be the new black, but 80 is the new age to rejoice.

Eighty is hip. Eighty is in. Eighty is dynamic.

There are three female octogenarians who are gracing the stages around Vancouver this spring who ought to know – Jane Goodall, Nana Mouskouri and Joan Rivers.

Goodall is a world-renowned primatologist, environmental activist and anthropologist, who, having just celebrated her 80th birthday last week, still loves to frolic with her chimpanzees.

Greek chanteuse Mouskouri, with her signature dark-rimmed glasses, is celebrating her 80th birthday this fall by coming out of retirement for a global concert tour.

She spent more than 50 years on the road touring and chose to retire. It lasted six years. She found retirement more tiring than travelling, so she has decided to share this milestone year when she turns 80, performing for her fans.

And then there is our gal Rivers who, when she is not flogging her jewelry on the Shopping Channel, is hosting TV’s Fashion Police with her acerbic, sardonic and often-inappropriate wit.

In their best-selling book, Younger Next Year for Women by Chris Crowley and Dr. Henry S. Lodge, we are told how we can “live strong, fit and sexy lives until we are 80 and beyond.”

Here are two fellas giving women advice. One is a 47-year-old doctor, the other is 71-year-old lawyer.

They posit the question, “Do you want the 30 years after menopause to be good years or not?” They tell us “You may have to age but you don’t have to rot.”

You may not like what I am going to tell you – I will just get it over with – but the No. 1 way to become “functionally younger” is exercise, exercise and more exercise. They recommend cardiovascular activity six days a week and go on to say, “in 20 years, failure to exercise six days a week will seem as self-destructive as smoking two packs of cigarettes a day.”

The other two key factors are nutrition and maintaining social connections with others.

So let me help you with all three of the above.

Please join your local CARP chapter in welcoming Graham Kerr, The Galloping Gourmet, who comes to Crescent Gardens on Thursday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m.

You can walk there… exercise.

You can nibble on the appies… nutrition.

You can bring a friend… social connection.

RSVP to Denice at 604-538-5778.

Graham Kerr is 80, and he looks younger than ever.

April Lewis is the local communications director for CARP, a national group committed to a ‘New Vision of Aging for Canada.’ She writes monthly.