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The 70s

Elaine Green is a registered nurse, pianist, violinist, music teacher, award-winning photographer, wife and mother. Though only 40, she responded to this question posted in Quora Digest: “What three things should a person avoid when over 70 years old?” Green’s answer draws on her experience as an operating room nurse treating hip replacements, broken ankles, gallbladder and kidney stone removals and talking with many patients and their family members about other age-related illnesses. Her answer:

1. Do not stop moving. “Maintain mobility! Whatever you do, just keep walking. It’s so essential for your cardiovascular system and bone health and not too strenuous on your joints. No need to win marathons, rather just get up and move.”

2. Do not stop learning. “If you don’t use it, you lose it,” which is exactly what happens to your brain. You need to keep making new neural connections and sharpen your brain’s ability, aka neuroplasticity (ever-changing brain). You can learn a new instrument online. You can take up a new hobby like photography or woodwork. Learn how on YouTube.

3. Do not stop caring about your health. Limit sugar and processed foods. Take care of your gut microorganisms with fermented foods, fiber and probiotics. Wear sunscreen. How is your weight? Many diseases are exacerbated by a high body mass index. Men, if you have urinary retention, do you need to check your prostate? Women, do you need to take more D-mannose to decrease urinary tract infections?

Seeing 70 at some distance now, dimly, in my rear-view mirror, I would add a fourth.

4. Do not pray for longevity. Pray for three things: a cheerful disposition, at least one loving companion and a relatively clear mind, to the end. I have known many people who, sadly, outlived all three.