The Investment Scientist

Health Is Wealth 1: My 90 Year Old Dad Can Do This, Can You?

Posted on: January 26, 2023

My dad turned 90 recently and he can still do this move: He can sit down on the floor with his legs crossed and can stand up again without using his hands to assist him. Try it yourself and see if you can do that. It turns out that this simple test predicts your longevity. People who can get up unassisted will live many years longer than people who can not. 

My mother is five years younger than my dad. In contrast to my dad, she can barely walk on a flat floor. Usually, she shuffles and she is so unstable that I am afraid a tiny coin on the floor could trip her up. 

Judging by the way they walk, my dad looks like he is 60, and my mom 90. 

I invited them to stay with me for the last few weeks and I observed their living habits. My mom is chair-bound. All through her waking hours, she sits on a chair and scrolls through Youtube videos on her Tablet. My dad is quite the opposite – he barely sits down. He went out for an hour-long walk every day. Even when he is at home, he moves around non-stop, fixing this and that. 

My dad hasn’t always been like that. He used to be a desk-bound workaholic. Then in his mid-50s, his health failed so badly that he had a near-death experience. Since then he has become super health-conscious. Throughout the years, he has formed many healthy habits, including always moving around. I can easily see him living and going strong to 100 or more! 

Through their own examples, my parents taught me that little habits can make big differences. What little habits can you change so that you will live years longer and healthier? It’s never too late, whether you are in your 50s, or 60s or 70s. For me, I bought a standing desk and a sitting ball. I plan to stop sitting on a chair through my working hours. Feel free to share the little change you will make, since sharing solidifies your intention.

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Michael Zhuang is principal of MZ Capital, a fee-only independent advisory firm based in Washington, DC.

Twitter: @mzhuang

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