Foundation, NJ  U. S. A


the Message Continues ... 9/98


Newsletter for October 2009


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Beating the Odds at 102

By Melanie Segala
Managing Editor, Total Health Breakthroughs

Courtesy: Total Health Breakthroughs

Last week there was a health scare in the Segala family.  My husband’s grandmother, 102-year-old Minnie, known to all as Gram, fainted at her assisted living facility.  When the staff had difficulty reviving her, they called an ambulance and had her taken to a nearby hospital. 

The problem had to do with a weak heartbeat.  Doctors considered implanting a pacemaker, but thought she wasn’t strong enough.  They stabilized her with medications but held out little hope for her recovery.  She was sent home with around the clock hospice care. 

Then to the amazement of her caretakers, two days later her appetite was back and she was sitting up in bed watching TV and chatting with the staff.   The hospice worker took her leave because it was apparent that the patient would not be meeting her maker any time soon.    

Gram’s “miraculous” recovery surprised everyone but the people that knew her best — her family and friends.  We could reflect on countless stories from her incredible 102 years on this earth that are a testament to her resilience, intelligence and love of life. 

Gram didn’t spend her life chasing the fountain of youth like most of us do now. In fact, media-savvy anti-aging gurus weren’t even around when she started getting old.   She just seemed to know instinctively how to get the most out of life, including good health.

Here’s a little story I’d like to share with you.  Fifty years ago, Gram decided to take up golf, and a lack of money for clubs didn’t deter her plans.  She simply saved her S&H Green Stamps until she had enough of them to redeem for a set of clubs.  Her son, an experienced golfer, gave her lessons and she practiced and played until she had a respectable game.  She enjoyed getting out on the golf course well into her 80s.

This is certainly not a remarkable story.  Yet this one small decision made a half century ago was a contributing factor to her robust health and longevity.   

Researchers have been telling us for years that exercise is one of the best things we can do for ourselves as we age.   According to the American Cancer Society, a sedentary lifestyle is a risk factor for heart disease, cancer, and the physical disabilities that accompany aging.1 Exercise lowers those odds while creating healthy new red blood cells and boosting the immune system. 

Your exercise of choice does not even need to be vigorous (although vigorous is also good!).  Walking the equivalent of only five to eleven blocks per week was shown to reduce the likelihood of atrial fibrillation in the elderly by 22%.2 

When you get your exercise outdoors on a beautiful summer day, the benefits multiply even more because your skin is synthesizing much-needed vitamin D.  The elderly are one of the highest risk groups for vitamin D deficiency.    That’s one of the reasons they are prone to fractures, falls, and osteoporosis.  In order for bone-building calcium to be properly absorbed in the gut and bones, adequate levels of vitamin D are needed.

While you may decide that golf is a great way to get regular exercise and benefit from the healing power of the sun, there are certainly many other outdoor activities you can choose from.  I recently noticed a walking club in my neighborhood.  Four middle-aged friends can be seen every morning happily walking their dogs and enjoying the fresh air and good company.

The goal is simply to move.  Whatever your pleasure, just do it.  You’ll be glad you did — 10, 20 or even 50 years from now.   Just ask Gram.  She’s living proof that exercise can help you live a long and healthy life — and maybe even outsmart the doctors and Father Time.









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