Monthly Archives: January 2014

Dr. David Katz in Vail

katz2Last night we were privileged to have Dr. David Katz present his “Sense, Science and Supplementation” talk here in Vail, Colorado.

We heard a similar talk at our last Juice Plus+ Conference in Orlando, but somehow in a smaller room – more intimate, to an over-packed room – his message was even more powerful.

David L. Katz, M.D. is a forward-thinking doctor, who specializes in the areas of food, diet and nutrition. He is a renowned expert on the power of lifestyle medicine and is considered the poet laureate of medical doctors. His oratory, though, only elevates the substantive content of his passion, which is America’s collective health and individual enduring vitality.

Dr. Katz has a big heart: he is dedicated turning the tide of obesity, especially in children; to helping people better understand nutrition, and his method hits home thanks to universal analogies and a true passion for improving health across all segments of society.

“Realistically, we must invoke both environmental reform and personal responsibility to promote health,” Katz said. “After all, if in our enthusiasm for environmental determinism we renounce personal responsibility altogether, we risk both ineffectiveness and irrelevance for failing to consider that you can lead people to carrot juice but you can’t make them drink, any more than you can make them use stairs instead of elevators, rakes instead of leaf blowers or soccer balls rather than video games.”

Dr. Katz told us: “The blend of science and sense is fundamentally important to the future of mankind and to the solvency of our nation.” There are Inevitable gaps in science; these need to be filled with good sense.

“Mostly plant-based diets add years to your life and life to your years.” He quoted Michael Pollen: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

He asked “How do we get from here to there?”

Katz_Vail“Here” is a place of sickness. We cannot stay “Here”: we are on path to destruction and our health-care system is doing nothing to change that. Some examples are these:

  • 1½% of us eat the daily recommended fruits and vegetables each day (9-13 servings for adults).
  • More than one-third of U.S. adults are obese.
  • More than one third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese.
  • There are 27 million diabetics  in the US today. It is predicted that 1 in 3 will be diabetic by the middle of the century, that is 100 million people!
  • There has been a 35% increase of strokes in 11-14 year olds.

I could keep going, but you already get the picture.

We all need to work together to get from “Here” to “There” – a place of real health. There are practical, hands-on ways to get there; they can even reverse your genetic destiny; “DNA is not your destiny … dinner is your destiny.”

“You can reshuffle the genetic deck in your favor with healthful behaviors — enough to reduce the likelihood of a bad outcome by 80%. No medicine or medical intervention can even come close to delivering results like that. Not even close.”

The changes needed are ones we can all make:

  • eat well
  • be physically active
  • stop smoking (if you do)
  • maintain a healthy weight

disease proofWith some very simple lifestyle changes we CAN make a difference in our health and our longevity. In his new book, DISEASE PROOF, Dr. Katz shows that 80% of disease can be prevented; he shares the very skill set on which he and his family rely, to enjoy lifestyle as medicine.

Dr. Katz is a strong advocate for whole food supplementation. He stressed that Juice Plus+ can make a big difference;  “Juice Plus+ is a blend of good science and good sense.  It’s like a (good) gateway drug to a healthier lifestyle!” He added that the

Here are more articles by Dr. Katz:

Founding Director of Yale University’s Preventative Cancer Center and Associate Professor (adjunct) at the Yale University School of Medicine, David Katz, M.D. is a two-time diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine. He is board-certified in Preventative Medicine/Public Health. Dr. Katz is a clinical instructor on medicine at the Yale School of Medicine, editor-in-Chief of the journal Childhood Obesity and President Elect of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. He is also Founder and President of the non-profit, Turning the Tide Foundation, and Medical Director for the Integrative Medicine Center at Griffin Hospital. Dr. Katz has published over 150 scientific articles, 1,000 newspaper articles and authored or co-authored 15 books. He has also worked with media outlets such as ABC News, Good Morning America, The New York Times, O the Oprah Magazine, The Huffington Post, and US News and World Report. Dr. Katz and his wife Catherine live in CT; they have 5 children.

“Symphony of Life” in The Human Body

“The cellular system is just amazing. You can think of a cell as a little machine that does lots of different things—it senses, it makes more of itself, it reads and replicates DNA, and for all of these things to occur, proteins have to vibrate and interact with one another.”

The human body is a miracle and modern science is demonstrating yet again just how big, yet ‘tiny’, that miracle is.

Not all of you, my readers will agree, I know. However, I believe that almost every advance (like this one)  in micro-biology and other related sciences demonstrates every more clearly evidence of God (‘Intelligent Design’ as some scientists prefer to call him) at work.

Recently researchers discovered that, like the strings on a violin or the pipes of an organ, the proteins in the human body vibrate in different patterns. Scientists have long suspected this, now they know it to be true.

A new study provided what researchers say is the first conclusive evidence for this.

Scientists from the University at Buffalo and Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute (HWI) have for the first time observed in detail the vibrations of lysozyme, an antibacterial protein found in many animals.

The team found that the vibrations, which were previously thought to dissipate quickly, actually persist in molecules like the “ringing of a bell,” said UB physics professor Andrea Markelz, PhD, who led the study.

graphic showing a vibrating protein, which has many spring-like protrusions“These tiny motions enable proteins to change shape quickly so they can readily bind to other proteins, a process that is necessary for the body to perform critical biological functions like absorbing oxygen, repairing cells and replicating DNA”, Markelz said.

The research opens the door to a whole new way of studying the basic cellular processes that enable life.

“People have been trying to measure these vibrations in proteins for many, many years, since the 1960s,” Markelz said. “In the past, to look at these large-scale, correlated motions in proteins was a challenge that required extremely dry and cold environments and expensive facilities.”

“Our technique is easier and much faster,” she said. “You don’t need to cool the proteins to below freezing or use a synchrotron light source or a nuclear reactor—all things people have used previously to try and examine these vibrations.”

The findings appeared in Nature Communications on Jan. 16, 2013.

To observe the protein vibrations, Markelz’ team relied on an interesting characteristic of proteins: the fact that they vibrate at the same frequency as the light they absorb.

This is analogous to the way wine glasses tremble and shatter when a singer hits exactly the right note. Markelz explained: “Wine glasses vibrate because they are absorbing the energy of sound waves, and the shape of a glass determines what pitches of sound it can absorb. Similarly, proteins with different structures will absorb and vibrate in response to light of different frequencies.”

So, to study vibrations in lysozyme, Markelz and her colleagues exposed a sample to light of different frequencies and polarizations, and measured the types of light the protein absorbed.

This technique, developed with Edward Snell, a senior research scientist at HWI and assistant professor of structural biology at UB, allowed the team to identify which sections of the protein vibrated under normal biological conditions. The researchers were also able to see that the vibrations endured over time, challenging existing assumptions.

“If you tap on a bell, it rings for some time, and with a sound that is specific to the bell. This is how the proteins behave,” Markelz said. “Many scientists have previously thought a protein is more like a wet sponge than a bell: If you tap on a wet sponge, you don’t get any sustained sound.”

Markelz said the team’s technique for studying vibrations could be used in the future to document how natural and artificial inhibitors stop proteins from performing vital functions by blocking desired vibrations.

“We can now try to understand the actual structural mechanisms behind these biological processes and how they are controlled,” Markelz said.

“The cellular system is just amazing,” she said. “You can think of a cell as a little machine that does lots of different things—it senses, it makes more of itself, it reads and replicates DNA, and for all of these things to occur, proteins have to vibrate and interact with one another.”

Eating Fruits and Vegetables Prevents Asthma

In a recent post I mentioned that, years ago, I was always getting sick: cold, cough, bronchitis, etc… that was my pattern 3-4 times a year; I needed antibiotics every time. But for the last 20 years, it’s been completely different – I’ve needed antibiotics only 3 times in those 20 years; I haven’t had bronchitis once and my formerly chronic asthma is virtually gone.

I was always grateful for the invention of the Ventolin inhaler in the late 60’s – it allowed me to enjoy sports and live life to the full. But I was concerned about the long-term effects of daily use. So needing them very little in the past 20 years is a huge blessing.

Why? What has made the difference? Fruits and Vegetables! You see I would not eat my veggies, especially the greens; now I eat them all and lots of them.

Research now shows that eating lots of fruit and vegetables protects against asthma. That is my experience, exactly.

Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, ab Australian study divided adults into two groups. One ate a low-antioxidant diet, while the other ate a high-antioxidant diet, including five servings of vegetables and two fruit portions each day for two weeks. At the end of the testing period, people in the high-antioxidant group had better lung function and less breathing problems than those in the other group.

Orlando Conference Overview-80The researchers concluded: “Improvements were evident only after increased fruit and vegetable intake, which suggests that whole-food interventions are most effective.” Earlier studies have found that entire populations with less prevalence of asthma tend to eat diets high in fruits and vegetables.

Another study found that eating a Mediterranean diet — one low in saturated fats and high in fruits, vegetables and fish — is associated with a reduced occurrence of asthma in populations of children. Both raw and cooked vegetables have been shown to provide beneficial nutrients.

As part of its tips for dealing with asthma, the Mayo Clinic recommends eating more fruits and vegetables, because “they’re a good source of antioxidants such as beta carotene and vitamins C and E, which may help reduce lung swelling and irritation (inflammation) caused by cell-damaging chemicals known as free radicals.”

In the past, other than making sure that patients avoid food triggers, overall dietary recommendations have typically not been part of asthma treatment plans. But hopefully, this new research will change that for the better.

20131022-180921.jpg“There’s a lot of data to show that fruits and vegetables are good for your weight and your heart and lots of other things. I think that’s a good general recommendation but we really haven’t used that specifically for patients with asthma, up to this point,” says Dr. Riedl. “Maybe that should be a piece of the lifestyle changes that are recommended for people with asthma.”

In the Daily Mail ( 07/01/2013 ) Dr. Benjamin Marsland from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland said that over the past few decades , asthma and allergies have increased in developing countries, while consumption of  fruits and vegetables has declined.

The greatest change in my wellness and in my eating habits came about as a direct result of starting Juice Plus+ more than 20 years ago. I have never looked back since, except to thank God that I am a different man today. Juice Plus+ metabolically reprogrammed me to love veggies, so now I get them in my Juice Plus+ and off my plate!

Things We Learned About Tower Garden in 2013

418170_10150662195742976_621352975_9016215_825980200_nTower Garden by Juice Plus+ is now sweeping the nation. We have been gardening with this wonderful aeroponic gardening system now for over 2 years and love it.

Tower Garden is a plug and play, state-of-the-art, vertical, aeroponic growing system.

It is easy to assemble and fun for the whole family to watch your food grow from seed to an abundant harvest in just a few weeks, ready to eat.

Tower Garden fits easily on sunny patios, decks or rooftop gardens.

Using aeroponics and our specially formulated Tower Tonic plant food, the Tower Garden grows almost any vegetable, herb, or flower – and many fruits – in much less time than it takes in soil.

Tower Garden gives you more control of your and your family’s wellness by making it easy to grow nutritious, great-tasting vegetables and fruits at home.

And it’s a smart choice, both environmentally and economically.

We have learned a lot ourselves and from our customers and other Tower Gardeners; here are eight things we learned about Tower Garden in 2013:

1. Tower Gardeners love to share.

From growing tips and photos to recipes and even excess product, our customers have impressed us with their enthusiasm for sharing Tower Garden.

Future Growing2. The Farm-to-table movement is going strong.

Tower Garden fits nearly anywhere, including backyards, porches, balconies and rooftops.

This benefit has inspired many people to start farms and restaurants that utilize Tower Garden’s high level of efficiency to deliver more fresh produce to customers. See examples of commercial applications of Tower Garden here »

3. People around the country are discovering Tower Garden.

With new Tower Gardeners in Colorado, Massachusetts, Florida, Oklahoma, Montana, Arizona, Hawaii and more (just about every state in fact), the number of people growing the fun and simple way is steadily increasing throughout the US.

We expect to see that steady pace increase as the word spreads and more people see what is possible with Tower Garden.

High Output LED Lighting Kit4. Gardening year-round is getting easier.

With the help of small greenhouses and/or Tower Garden Grow Lights, year-round growing has become possible for many of us living in areas with cold climates. We live in Colorado and last winter we had two Tower Gardens giving us a harvest while living in our garage.

5. Tower Garden can change lives.

We were moved and inspired by the many Tower Garden stories. It’s been amazing to see all the positive effects Tower Garden has had on families nation-wide.

harvest6. Tower Gardens produce A LOT.

We knew Tower Garden is capable of producing big yields faster than is possible with a soil garden. But the photos of massive Tower Garden harvests shared on Facebook impressed us on a regular basis.

A study last summer by the University of Mississippi will be published soon, showing a 30% greater yield from the Tower Garden compared to traditional growing methods, together with significant increases in the nutritional value of the produce grown.

7. Tower Garden is still a garden.

While Tower Garden makes gardening much simpler, it’s difficult to completely eliminate some growing troubles, such as pests and pollination. But natural pest control and simple hand-pollination techniques take care of many issues growers might encounter. Help is also available through our Tower Talk Forum and our Facebook Page.

children8. Growing with Tower Garden is often a family affair.

Through our Family Photo Contest, we found that Tower Garden plays an important role in bringing families together and encouraging kids to eat healthy.

A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics concluded: “Children who participate in gardening activities are more interested in eating fruits and vegetables.”

We are also excited that many kindergartens and elementary schools are Tower Gardening to give their students an invaluable early gardening experience.

Let us know if you are interested in learning more about Tower Garden.

More Exercise Means Less Sickness

Once again the dreaded cold and flu season is among us in full force. It seems like no matter where you go there is someone coughing or sneezing. And while your first inclination is to stock up on vitamin C, you may be better off going for a jog instead.

NY 85 2In fact, many years ago I started taking 1000mg or more of C a day to try to stop getting sick: cold, cough, bronchitis, etc… that was my pattern 3-4 times a year. Did it help? No!

In fact, the amount of exercise I was getting was a contributor to my sickness. Poor immune system + marathon training = sickness! (That’s me in the NYC Marathon in 1985).

So, I was interested to read this: researchers recently found that a daily dose of exercise may help keep you healthy. When 1,000 volunteers were asked to log their daily exercise activities and instances of illness throughout the cold and flu season, those who exercised regularly experienced fewer colds over the three-month period.

But before you think one or two sweat sessions will keep the germs at bay, think again. Scientists found that in order for your body to build immunity, you need to exercise consistently. Of the volunteers in the study, those who strapped on their sneakers five days a week experienced 40 percent fewer illnesses or symptoms compared with those who only logged one day of exercise weekly.

trailsAnother study found similar results when examining the occurrence of upper respiratory infections in adults. That was me! Researchers determined that those who exercised consistently experienced fewer infections than those who didn’t.

Researchers aren’t entirely clear why exercisers enjoy better health, but one theory is that increased blood flow allows white blood cells and antibodies to circulate throughout the body more quickly and efficiently.

relaymick2There are many other theories, but – without doubt – exercise is often the stepping stone to other immunity-boosting benefits such as better sleeping habits and stress relief. People who exercise on a routine basis often log more sleep or experience a better quality of sleep. And exercise of any kind will help reduce stress, which can hit the immune system hard.

Ah, now we get to it – the immune system! But those researchers are still missing the most important question: “what kind of exercise helps vs. hinders immunity?”

Walking or jogging 45 minutes a day 5-6 days a week (or equivalent) will certainly help and not hinder. Running 60+ miles a week in marathon training – that was me – (or equivalent) will make you fit, but not necessary healthy.

I was so Fit but not Healthy that my friends and co-workers called me “the fittest sick guy they knew” or “the sickest fit guy they knew” – I exercised like a fiend, but was ‘sick as a dog’!

antioxidantWhat was I (and what are those researchers) missing? The exercise/nutrition connection.

Hard exercise (for me, the best kind) causes free radical damage in our bodies. We need antioxidants to combat those free radicals, and the best antioxidants come from whole food; fruits, vegetables, berries, etc.

By eating those foods, it’s possible to prevent that free radical damage, lower our risk of many diseases, enhance our immune system and reduce the physical effects of aging.

You can read more on antioxidants and watch my webinar Fueling For Peak Performance.

One of the most powerful, proven sources of antioxidants is Juice Plus+ – proven time and time again to significantly reduce free radical damage. I know because my immune system is radically improved compared to my “fittest sick guy” past.

Lose weight by eating fruits and vegetables

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese and more than one third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese.

Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors. Obesity is defined as having excess body fat.

Overweight and obesity are the result of ‘caloric imbalance’ – too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed – and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.”

8740_354896057940769_1151490325_nMedical science shows that being obese increases a person’s risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis and some cancers. “If you are obese, losing even 5 percent to 10 percent of your weight can delay or prevent some of these diseases” claims the NIH.

As as well as exercise, another way to lose weight is by eating fruits and vegetables.  The United States Department of Agriculture and the American Heart Association have long promoted the nutritional virtues of fruits and vegetables, but newer research finds that fruits and vegetables also possess potential for aiding weight loss.

According to the CDC, most fruits and vegetables are “low-energy density foods”; they leave you fuller longer than foods that take up the same room in your stomach, but have higher calorie and fat counts. Colorful produce is the best.

Fruits and vegetables offer several benefits when you’re trying to lose weight. “If you compare various foods that all contain 100 calories, you get a greater amount of food when you eat vegetables than when you consume almost any other product” notes Bev Bennett, co-author of The Dictionary of Healthful Food Terms.

Fruits are packed with vitamins; they are a natural, healthy way to get your sweet fix.  Apples are especially good for weight loss, because they are loaded with fiber. The fiber makes you feel fuller, so you eat less. All fruits can help get you through those rough times when you’re craving something sweet but don’t want to blow your diet.

Health experts say fruits and vegetables are delicious low-calorie replacements for more fattening foods. If you cut out vegetables because they’re high in carbohydrates you are making a big mistake.

There’s a difference between the carbs that come in soft drinks and snacks with little or no other nutrients and the carbs that come in fruits and vegetables; these are low in calories and high in nutrients.  You deny your body important micro-nutrients while you’re trying to lose weight if you eliminate fruits and vegetables.

Don’t forget to eat root vegetables too, such as beets, carrots, radishes and potatoes. Though some dieters shy away from them because of their high starch content, root vegetables deliver high doses of fiber and folate that help you feel full.

Many are now using our new Transform2014 program to achieve their goal of eating more fruits and vegetables and clean eating.

Let us know if you would like to join us on this exciting journey to wonderful wellness.

Clean Eating Combats Inflammation

According to Fooducate  one of the hottest new food trends for 2014 is “Clean Eating”.

Clean eating is all about eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes, and less processed foods, sugar, salt and alcohol. This has been our eating philosophy for almost 20 years, so we hope it sticks around beyond 2014!

But why is this so important to all of us?

Because clean eating is the best way to feel great, look great, prevent disease and combat inflammation; and inflammation plagues a vast majority of our population.

silentkillerInflammation isn’t all bad; it’s the way our immune system responds to an injury, whether it’s a blow to your body or an infection in your blood. You often see it in the red ‘inflamed’ area around a cut. Inflammation signals the release of leukocytes—white blood cells that help clean and heal the injury.

Too often, however, inflammation can spread out of control and cause pain and swelling even when there is no immediate injury. Chronic systemic inflammation (a “secret killer”) is invisible; it’s at the root of chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

So how does our inflammatory system get triggered by a “false alarm,” so to speak? One major contributor is eating the wrong kinds of foods and too little of the right foods. The wrong foods can send out the inflammatory cavalry when there’s no invader or injury in sight. Too much sugar and saturated fat can make the immune system over-active. The right foods have a calming effect, as explained by Dr. Andrew Weil:

 

Here are seven tips for fighting inflammation naturally:

1. Improve your balance of omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids. Throughout human history we have eaten a diet with the proper proportions of omega fatty acids, until now. Today we get far to many omega-6s. Eating fish like salmon instead of meat is a great way to improve this balance.

2. Eat plant or fish sources of protein. Eating too much red meat has been shown to trigger inflammation. Replacing red meat with fatty fish and plant protein sources has been shown to help reduce arthritis symptoms. Fish also provide good fats.

3. Consume only healthy oils. Olive (extra virgin), flax, fish, wheat germ, or hemp oil are the best.

4. Add flaxseed to your meals. Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help to keep inflammation from spreading needlessly throughout the body. We add ground flax seeds to cereal and  smoothies.

5. Choose whole grains over processed wheat flour. It’s time to boost your intake of anti-inflammatory whole grains such as oats, barley, quinoa, millet, brown rice, couscous and kaniwa (similar to red quinoa, but about half the size).

6. Eat lots of fruits and veggies. These foods are good for helping to prevent just about every disease out there, including those most linked to inflammation. Fruits and vegetables contain both antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances. Enjoy these tasty foods every day!

7. Take a whole-food supplement like Juice Plus+ to ‘bridge the gap‘. Juice Plus+ has been clinically proven to reduce inflammation.

A clinical investigation of the impact of Juice Plus+ on systemic inflammation by researchers at the University of South Carolina was published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. The researchers studied the effects of Juice Plus+ (Orchard and Garden Blend, taken alone and in conjunction with Juice Plus+ Vineyard Blend) on levels of important free radical-fighting antioxidants in the blood; on levels of superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant enzyme that helps rid the body of free radicals; and on levels of several key biomarkers of systemic inflammation. They saw significant improvements in all markers.

Here’s a great article with more on the 10 Top Foods that Prevent Inflammation in Your Body.

We have begun this new year with a new program that helps us with our ‘clean eating’ goals: Transform2014. Let us know if you would like to join us on this exciting journey to wonderful wellness.

Lesson #6 on Living Longer and Staying Sharp

This article in Parade Magazine (Dec. 28, 2013)  both humbled me and inspired me. So much so that I am serializing her lessons here in my blog. This is the last one.

Ninety-four-year-old Olga Kotelko, a retired schoolteacher from West Vancouver, Canada, could be the poster child for late bloomers. Seventeen years ago, at 77, she entered her first “masters” track and field competition, for participants age 35 and over. At 85, she knocked off nearly 20 world records in a single year. Today, she is the only woman in the world over 90 still long-jumping and high-jumping competitively.

Now for the final of six smart habits of super agers. Here Olga’s Lesson #5.

Lesson #6: Lighten Up

People get stressed out over the smallest things,” Olga says. The fact that she doesn’t is as much a matter of choice as temperament. “Honestly, I don’t have the time.”

Not long ago, at an Illinois airport, as Olga moved toward security, other passengers ­began removing their shoes. But Olga didn’t. A sign said that you didn’t have to if you were over 75.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” a security agent asked Olga. “How old are you?”

“Ninety-three,” she replied.

The agent gaped at her. “You’re joking,” she said.

“I’m sorry, ma’am. You’re … how old?”

“Ninety-three.”

“What’s your secret?” she ­finally asked.

“Enjoy life!” Olga replied.

The agent nodded as a grin infiltrated her face. Then she turned to her supervisor, somewhere behind the barrier, and announced, “I quit!”

Here is Olga herself – be inspired!

 Olga’s Lesson #5.

Lesson #5 on Living Longer and Staying Sharp

This article in Parade Magazine (Dec. 28, 2013)  both humbled me and inspired me. So much so that I am serializing her lessons here in my blog.

Ninety-four-year-old Olga Kotelko, a retired schoolteacher from West Vancouver, Canada, could be the poster child for late bloomers. Seventeen years ago, at 77, she entered her first “masters” track and field competition, for participants age 35 and over. At 85, she knocked off nearly 20 world records in a single year. Today, she is the only woman in the world over 90 still long-jumping and high-jumping competitively.

Now for the fifth of six smart habits of super agers. Here Olga’s Lesson #4.

Lesson #5: Cultivate a Sense of Progress

We all need the feeling that in some small ways we’re improving—or at least not backsliding—whether at the gym, at our jobs, or in our relationships. Without periodic doses of what psychologist Teresa Amabile, Ph.D., calls “small wins,” our morale craters.

The Legacy: A competitive volleyball player, Olga’s granddaughter Alesa Rabson, 23, enjoys a lush genetic inheritance. “Grandma has taught me there’s no excuse to be lazy,” she says.

Trouble is, chalking up wins becomes more difficult from midlife on, when it’s easy to feel like you’re getting slower and weaker by the day. Fortunately, there’s a remedy. The trick is to ­reframe progress so that it becomes a relative measure, not an absolute one. In other words, to move the yardsticks as you age.

This is something that masters track does ingeniously. Olga’s results are “age-graded,” meaning they are adjusted to account for the expected decline of the human body. And Olga applies the “move the yardsticks” strategy off the track as well. For instance, she still says yes to many social requests but not to all— increasing her fulfillment by cherry-picking the best life has to offer.

Here is Olga herself – be inspired!

Olga’s Lesson #4. Return tomorrow for Olga’s Lesson #6.

Lesson #4 on Living Longer and Staying Sharp

This article in Parade Magazine (Dec. 28, 2013) both humbled me and inspired me. So much so that I am serializing her lessons here in my blog.

Ninety-four-year-old Olga Kotelko, a retired schoolteacher from West Vancouver, Canada, could be the poster child for late bloomers. Seventeen years ago, at 77, she entered her first “masters” track and field competition, for participants age 35 and over. At 85, she knocked off nearly 20 world records in a single year. Today, she is the only woman in the world over 90 still long-jumping and high-jumping competitively.

Now for the fourth of six smart habits of super agers. Here is Olga’s Lesson #3.

Lesson #4: Be a Creature of Habit

Olga’s running buddy, Christa Bortignon, 76, has set seven world records this year en route to the 2013 World Female Masters Athlete award. Without Olga as a mentor, she says, “I wouldn’t have even known masters track existed.”

There is no book, you will notice, called The Seven Ephemeral Whims of Highly Successful People. The reason: Habits work.

“What you have to do is just get yourself to the track,” says Christa . There, she’ll dial up Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 on the iPod, circle the track twice, then jog it once.

It’s as if Christa is turning the tumblers on a lock: Those small familiar actions cue the body that it’s showtime. “Your muscles have a memory,” she says. “They know.”

Under stress, people tend to fall back on routines—whether healthy or unhealthy. In a recent experiment, University of Southern California psychologist Wendy Wood, Ph.D., one of the world’s top experts in habit formation, found that students around exam time slipped into autopilot. It was habits—not cravings, as you might expect—that determined their food choices, for better or worse.

Olga’s own weekly calendar is ­anchored in rituals. Her mornings typically include a stretching routine; she adheres to a predictable bedtime. If it’s Tuesday, she is out bowling; if it’s Thursday, she is likely making pierogi in the basement of her church.

Here is Olga herself – be inspired!

Olga’s Lesson #3. Return tomorrow for Olga’s Lesson #5.