Maintain Your Independence As You Age

GC Complete Circles

When you think of the Fourth of July what comes to mind? The American flag? Fireworks? Barbecues? Probably not your tennis shoes or a trip to the gym. This Independence Day celebrate maintaining your independence as you age. As our Founder and Chairman Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper says, “squaring off the curve.” What does this mean? Live a long, healthy life to its fullest, then die suddenly.

Yes, you read that correctly. And it may be shocking. But think about it for a  minute. Wouldn’t you rather live like Dr. Cooper—traveling to the North Pole at 82, playing with the grandkids, lecturing around the globe—and feeling great in the process. The alternative is worse, called “deficient survival,” where you slowly decline the last 10 years of life, losing quality of life.

To live a long healthy life to the fullest Dr. Cooper created the Get Cooperized™ 8 Health Steps.

Get Cooperized is the heart of our mission. It’s the sum of our eight entities. And it’s a set of eight general guidelines to achieve and maintain health. Each one can be and should be customized to fit you—your body, your health, your interests, your life.

1. Maintain a healthy weight. 

Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do to prevent illness and disease, enjoy a higher quality of life and live longer. One method to determine if you’re at a healthy weight is to measure your Body Mass Index or BMI. You are considered normal weight if your BMI is 18.5-24.9, overweight at 25-29.9 and obese if it’s 30 or higher.

2. Eat healthy most of the time. 

We like to say it’s about moderation, not deprivation. What’s the first step to build healthy nutrition habits? We’d say eat more fruits and vegetables daily. There is an adage, “Five is fine, but nine is divine.” That’s talking about servings (one serving is half a cup) of fruits and veggies to consume every day.

3. Exercise most days of the week.

This health guideline is how Cooper got started. It’s our claim to fame. Drum roll, please… Participate in moderate physical activity a collective 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

4. Take the right supplements for you.

Supplements are just that, they are supplements and not replacements. You have to start with a good, balanced diet and then think of vitamins and supplements as an insurance policy.

5. Stop smoking.

We all know that smoking is “bad” for you, and a leading cause of lung cancer. But all tobacco products, not just cigarettes, can threaten your health. We strongly recommend not using any form of tobacco. Research shows that if you smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, you have a 20-fold increased risk of developing lung cancer. And it doubles the risk for heart attacks compared to a nonsmoker.

6. Control alcohol.

Among other things, excessive alcohol can cause weight gain, damage your liver and your heart and increase the risk of developing some types of cancer. But if you do enjoy alcohol, moderation is key. Men should have no more than 10 drinks per week and women should have no more than six drinks per week.

7. Manage your stress.

We all get “stressed out” at some point. It’s part of life. Yet you may not realize how dangerous it can be to your heath – both physically and emotionally. Stress can raise blood pressure and resting heart rate and lead to weight gain. The best way to control stress? Exercise.

8. Get a regular, comprehensive physical exam.

Our philosophy is simple: It’s easier to maintain good health than to regain it once it’s lost. The only way you can improve your health is if you have a comprehensive, in-depth picture of the current state of your health. And that starts with a preventive physical exam. At a minimum you should “know your numbers” including your cholesterol and triglycerides, blood sugar and blood pressure.

Happy Independence Day—now and for years to come! For more health tips on how to Get Cooperized, sign up for our free e-newsletter.

  1. November 7, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    Hello Dr. Cooper, I am still practicing to extend the curve. 81 this November and am planning on running a 50K next spring. I ran 80 miles on my 80 birthday in 2012.
    But will need an operation to fix a vericocele repair in a few days so have not been jogging but just walking instead.
    God bless,
    Chuck

    • November 13, 2013 at 10:48 am

      Hi, Charles! We shared your comments with Dr. Cooper and he said, “Tell him how very proud I am and envious of his accomplishments. I’m 82 and can’t come close to his amazing level of fitness. Keep it up!”

      Thank you for sharing your story–you are truly an inspiration!

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