Why air guitar can save your life

John Taylor: August 06, 20070 Comments

"It's not the responsibility of the federal government to provide womb-to-tomb health care for America. " -- Republican presidential candidate Tom Tancredo, Aug. 5, 2007 debate in Des Moines.

Which reminded me of what an Irish tour guide told me when I asked why taxes there were so high (currently a 20% rate on the first roughly $47k earned by a single person, and 41% on anything earned above that).

The only way to gauge whether an olde pensioner in a remote shack was still in the land of the living, he said, was to ensure a postman would bring mail right to his/her door.

Which makes me suggest that even those who aren't at AARP age or beyond check out the June 2007 edition of the AARP Bulletin. The print version has a dandy graphic on Page 39 showing how life expectancy has changed -- and how little the top 10 causes of death haven't -- from 1907 to 2007.  There's also a very stimulating Q/A among professors and docs about living longer vs. living healthier longer that's available at http://www.aarp.org/bulletin/yourhealth/power_of_50

A few nifty thoughts:

Obesity: "When it becomes as socially embarrassing to sell soda pop on TV and in schools as it is to give free cigarettes to teenagers, then we'll have a chance to reverse this disastrous trend."

Disease vs aging: "The biological processes of aging make a person more susceptible to disease, but such diseases are best thought of as manifestations of aging rather than aging itself."

Environmentalism: "... if we continue to do terrible things to the planet, in 50 or 100 years its health may be so awful that the health of any individual inhabitant may be virtually irrelevant."

You probably won't want to hear about the national shortage of gerontologists or how few docs can manage the multiple illnesses that accompany aging.  But taking the dog for a long walk, stretch yoga, swimming with your kids or rejecting a 500-calorie venti Starbuck's Mocha Frappuccino, well, simple remedies are within reach.