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Health Tips From An Octogenarian

January 21, 2014 3 min read

This week my husband's grandparents are visiting from California and I've had a few days off so that I can spend time with them. Not only has it been a great opportunity to get to know them, but it has also been an enlightening experience in regards to health. My husband's grandparents are in their eighties, they live on their own, and they are both sharp as a tack. So, what's their secret? Is it simply good genes? My conversations with them as well as my observations of their habits may help shed some light on how they continue to stay so healthy.

Healthy octogenarian habits

Read the newspaper every day

Grandma B reads the newspaper every single day. We were at our favorite vacation spot and she hadn't had the paper in a couple of days, so she walked to the nearest store and picked one up. Studies have shown that reading keeps your brain active and prevents mental decline... probably the reason Grandma B is still so sharp!


My recent articles regarding desk jobs should have you familiar by now with the fact that sitting for long periods of time is not good for you. Grandma and Grandpa B must have figured this out long ago, and do not like to sit for very long. Even when we are all just hanging out and talking, they're usually up on their feet standing.


Getting out and walking is a huge benefit. It helps keep your muscles and joints lose, and provides fresh air and exercise. Grandma and Grandpa B walk every single day. And they don't just go for a short walk, they go exploring and will be gone for an hour or more. I think they like to challenge themselves and see just how far they can get before turning around.

Real food

Grandma B and I have been talking a lot this week about cooking, recipes, food etc. The one thing I have noticed is that she's not the least bit taken aback when I tell her we drink whole milk and save our bacon grease to make lard etc. She's totally on board with the real food movement and is probably wondering what's taken everyone so long to ditch the science experiment that is "food like" products and get back to real food.

Two meals a day

Now, this one is a little tricky. I'm not sure if it's the two meals a day versus the 3 or 5 that everyone else seems to eat, or if it's the fact that they don't eat unless they're hungry. But Grandma and Grandpa B usually only have two meals a day and try to make one of them some sort of green smoothie (they swear by their NutriBullet).

Load up on vegetables

When we all sit down to eat and I glance over at Grandma B's plate, it usually looks like a little forest. She loads her plate with mostly green vegetables and will usually go back for seconds too. She does eat meat and other food groups, but she's always trying to get the most veggies she can and doesn't cut out any of the food groups completely. These are all  great ways to make sure we stay fit and healthy long into our golden years, and the fact that both Grandma and Grandpa B are octogenarians just goes to show that these things work. So, try to incorporate these little changes into your life to live a long healthful one and maybe even be around to see your great-grandchildren.

How many of these healthy habits do you already incorporate into your life?

  Photo by MarioMancuso is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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