CARVILLE: Keys to aging well |

CARVILLE: Keys to aging well

The other day, Halloween, I was talking with Travis Bagwell, a club member who is well into his 80s but works out almost every weekday.

We chatted while I was in my pirate costume and he on an exercise machine. We talked about how he was staying in shape and it was just part of his daily life.

The next day, Travis came in with a Halloween picture of him at age 56 in a Tarzan costume. He was a “stud:” strong, powerful muscles and very much a civilized Tarzan — except for the wig he was wearing. Since then he has lost two inches in height and several pounds of muscle. He is now a smaller Tarzan in his 80s.

We will all lose some height and some muscle mass, but we can still stay active and healthy like Travis. The question has always been — How? Recently, the New York Times published an excellent article on the subject. I have shortened it into a checklist for you.


Small changes in your eating habits can lower your risk of age-related disease.

1. If you are slightly overweight, losing just 5 percent of your body weight yield huge benefits.

2. Avoid processed meat.

3. Eat vegetables.

4. Skip packaged foods.


Exercise with some intensity, then rest. This is not really intimidating. Spend a few minutes on a machine that measures your activity. Remember your “activity” is relative you and to no one else.

Exercise scientists have found that interval training leads to muscle improvement at the cellular level. Just 15 minutes, including warmup and cool-down, yields tremendous benefits. This includes lifting weights: one minute of lifting — which is eight to 10 repetitions — is the key. Lift until you grow tired, then stop.


You must admit that I really shortened the Times article. But it really is that simple: eat well and move. The problem is that we don’t always take the time to follow these common-sense guidelines.

Often it takes “a scare” to shock us into action. Sometimes the “scare” is fatal or disabling and then it is too late to change our ways.


Try to make those “eating” changes today. When shopping in the supermarket, purchase the items on the perimeter. Supermarket layout has the “best stuff” (fruits, vegetables, fresh meat/fish, dairy) on the perimeter. The candy, canned food, chips are all in the interior aisles. Try shopping only on the perimeter for a month to see if you don’t lose some weight and feel better.

Try to make those “movement” changes tomorrow. Whatever you decide to do … just do it. If you need some help, consult a personal trainer who can assess your physical condition and set up an exercise plan that is tailored to your particular needs and limitations.

After you get your individual plan, you can continue to workout with a trainer or go own your own while changing your workout every month or two.

I want to re-emphasize that this is all quite simple. It just requires some action on your part. In a couple of months, you could be working out with Travis … and living a healthy lift into your 80s and beyond.

Phil Carville is a co-owner of the South Yuba Club. You can reach him at

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