A few months ago, I wrote an article on the Low Density Lifestyle site about Mimi Kirk, and today I present the first part of an exclusive three-part interview I did with her.
Mimi was voted in 2009 by PETA as the sexiest vegetarian female over 50, which is an honor of and by itself. What makes it even more amazing is that Mimi was 70 years old at the time! (She’s now 71.)
You may want to read the article again before watching the above video on Mimi Kirk, the sexiest vegetarian over 50.
Mimi and I conducted the interview over skype, and I recorded the video. I will give you the three-part interview one installment at a time, in order to give it to you in bite size chunks.
As you watch the above video, you’ll hear Mimi talk about:
***how she won the award
***why she became a vegetarian
***why she’s now a raw food vegan and how eating that way has made a dramatic improvement in her health
***a typical food day for her
***what she does if she goes out to dinner or travels
***her 52-year-old boyfriend’s eating habits and how she got him to change his ways
***her personal nutritional philosophy
Mimi is truly an inspiration, not only because she won the award, but because she is so healthy and vibrant. She’s a true model of longevity, and a model of someone living a Low Density Lifestyle.
Don’t forget to tune in next time for installment number two…
George Leonard was 86 years old when he passed away on Jan. 6, 2010 after a long illness at his home in Mill Valley, CA.
Although Leonard didn’t live as long as some of the other masters of longevity featured in this series on longevity, he still lived a long, vital and rich life, for George Leonard was a cultural icon who left a lasting mark on the world.
He was also an icon of a Low Density Lifestyle world.
I can’t say I knew him, although he did endorse my book, Quantum-Integral Medicine: Towards a New Science of Healing and Human Potential. I had been a long-time admirer of his work, so I sent him my book in galley form, and he was kind enough to write a ringing endorsement. After that, we had some email contact, and I spoke to him once on the phone when I was in L.A. while I was on a book tour.
But for the most part, my admiration of George Leonard was from a distance.
He was a writer, editor, and educator who wrote extensively about education and human potential. He was President Emeritus (and one of the founders) of the Esalen Institute, past-president of the Association for Humanistic Psychology, President of ITP International, and a former editor of Look Magazine.
He also was an aikido sensei, held a fifth degree black belt in aikido, and co-founded the Aikido of Tamalpais dojo in Corte Madera, California.
His specialty was human potential, and in that vein he authored many books on the subject, including The Way of Aikido: Life Lessons from an American Sensei, Education and Ecstasy, The Transformation, The Silent Pulse, The End of Sex, Walking on the Edge of the World, Mastery, and The Life We Are Given.
Anybody who has an interest in personal growth, be it the development of physical health, emotional well-being or spiritual development, has George Leonard to thank for helping to bring the human potential movement to the forefront of consciousness.
In fact, George Leonard is considered, along with his good friend Michael Murphy, as one of the founders of the human potential movement.
Born and raised in the deep south, after graduating college and then serving in the Air Force as an intelligence officer, Leonard got a job as an editor at Look magazine in 1953. He became the first to predict the tumult and idealism of the ’60s when he wrote a January 1961 cover article called “Youth of the Sixties: The Explosive Generation.” A year later he predicted, accurately, that the youth movements would first manifest themselves in California.
At the same time, he found himself wanting to become a part of the changes he had foretold. Shedding the conventions of objectivity in his reporting, he became a voice for an emerging new consciousness.
In 1965 Leonard met Michael Murphy, a co-founder of Esalen, in San Francisco, where Esalen was opening a learning center. Soon Leonard was visiting Esalen’s main campus, a seaside complex in the redwood-studded area of central California known as Big Sur.
“Explosion, catharsis, adventure” were the words Mr. Leonard used to describe his first impressions in an interview with U.S. News & World Report in 1992.
He went on to become the president of the institute’s trustees for many years and was an important figure in expanding its concerns to include issues of social justice.
Because Leonard was raised in the deep south in the 1920’s and 1930’s, he had seen firsthand the horrors of racism, and wanted to make sure that the fledgling human potential movement that he was spearheading also had a place for social awareness and justice.
Because he brought a certain degree of intellectual rigor and gravitas to his work, Leonard made sure that this burgeoning movement had focus, purpose and a deeper meaning to it.
Jeffrey J. Kripal, a biographer of Leonard and a historian of the human potential movement, said that the human potential movement that was significantly shaped by Esalen was more intellectually grounded than the hippie culture of a few years later. Dr. Kripal called Esalen “a high-end movement that helped generate the counterculture.”
We can thank George Leonard for this: he had a depth and breadth of mind that allowed him to help shape the human potential movement in a forceful way, and with it bring a new renaissance that spurred a blossoming of culture.
And with this, it helped plant the seeds for the development of a new consciousness, one that we see coming to fruition in this day and age.
Being a visionary and a pioneer, George Leonard was also at the forefront of this new consciousness and awareness. In recent times, he and Michael Murphy started a program called Integral Transformative Practice, which on their website, www.itp-life.com, they define as:
Integral Transformative Practice (ITP) calls us to a high adventure:
Through the positive transformation of ourselves,
our relationships, our society.
It is integral in that it integrates body, mind, heart, and soul.
It is transformative in that it produces positive change.
It is a practice that involves a long-term, well researched program.
So goodbye George Leonard, you were indeed a master of longevity. It is people like you, visionaries who are far-reaching in the lasting effect they have on others - and may I add, people who live a Low Density Lifestyle – that have made this world an incredibly beautiful place to live.
It is time for each one of us to step up and fill his shoes.
Last year I wrote an article about Jerry Thill, who at the time was 91 years old and rocking away. I thought I would reprise it and add some more info about Jerry, since the article I wrote was short on background information about her. Jerry is truly a longevity role model.
Jerry Thill, now 92, lives in L.A. and has been in the music scene since her teens. Over the last 60 years she has been leading all-female bands, from big-band and swing bands to jazz ensembles. She’s been on the Tonight show and on TV shows such as The Golden Girls and Married With Children.
But it was the above video, Hey Jerry, shot and produced by her musician/filmmaker friend Allee Willis last year, that gave Jerry Thill massive exposure. After all, how many nonagenarians are out doing drumming gigs on a regular basis, as Jerry still does?
Jerry currently gigs in Hollywood, CA at the El Cid restaurant. See the video below of her performing the song“Oh Yeah” at the El Cid in 2008. The song begins at the 1 minute mark of the video.
Since the Hey Jerry video first appeared on YouTube, Jerry has appeared on the cover of Modern Drummer magazine, and has been featured in other articles. Along with that she has received thousands of letters and emails, with people telling Jerry what an inspiration and role model she is.
Jerry says that, “I’ve gotten a lot of emails from people who say, ‘I’m 45, and I’m at a point in my life where I don’t know what to do, and your video inspired me, and I’m going to get off my ass and do something.’ ”
The oxygen tank Jerry has with her (you see it in the above video) is something only recent, in the last year. I assume the oxygen tank is from the occupational hazard of years of gigging in clubs and all the cigarettes that people used to smoke while listening to the music.
Jerry Thill is still going strong at 92 and is a remarkable model of longevity. We should all be rocking away when we hit her age.
Here’s Jerry’s website: http://jerriethill.com/
And don’t forget, next time you’re in Hollywood stop by the El Cid to see her.
Below is the video of her performing in 2008 at the El Cid. The music starts at the 1 minute mark of the video.
In today’s article on Longevity, meet Evelyn Blackburn: She’s a 98-year-old grandmother who is Britain’s oldest massage therapist, with 60 years in the profession.
Evelyn Blackburn was first granted her license to operate in 1949 and recently renewed it.
Mrs. Blackburn, of Pinner, north London, has treated tens of thousands of people since a friend’s sore neck prompted her to learn the techniques of massage six decades ago.
But she has kept abreast of developments, embracing alternative treatments such as cupping – made famous by celebrity enthusiast Gwyneth Paltrow – and radiesthesia, which treats people’s energy or auras.
Mrs Blackburn said, “I have massaged thousands of people over the years – from mothers and grandmothers to builders and scientists. Back when I started, I used iodine-based oil called Dragon’s Blood. Nowadays, I use the modern substitutes. You have to move with the times.
“I still maintain the best treatment is a pair of hands.
“I don’t think anything can replace massage. I have used lots of therapies and machines, but nothing is quite as effective.
“A massage is much better than all these advertised creams to put on your face and body, although the companies making the cream wouldn’t like to hear that – but it’s the truth.”
Mrs. Blackburn used to treat up to eight people a day at the clinic where she worked in Nower Hill, Harrow, but for the past 24 years has worked from home in a room adapted into a studio.
She stated that, “I started in 1949 and now I’m 98. It has been a long time but I enjoy my work because I help people feel better. I love the contact with people and sharing their problems.
“Now I take on work as it comes. I’m available seven days a week.”
Explaining how she has kept so active, she said: “While you cannot determine how long you live, I have been a vegetarian since I was 20 and never get angry and depressed. When you feel down in the dumps, you must pick yourself up.”
Evelyn Blackburn, the 98-year-old massage therapist grandmother, is another model of longevity, and a model of someone living a Low Density Lifestyle.
One of the common threads you may have noticed amongst all the people featured so far in these articles on longevity is diet: they have all either proclaimed that they are (or in the case of Joe Rollino, was) a vegetarian, or that they ate very little animal foods.
That really is a very important part of it, as eating an animal-food based diet will shorten your life, as the article I wrote not too long ago on The China Study pointed out.
Another thing all of these people have is a sense of purpose, and having a sense of purpose is something that has been shown to help contribute to longevity.
For Evelyn Blackburn, her sense of purpose is in helping people feel better, and she truly loves to be able to do so. As she said above, she’s available seven days a week.
So next time you find yourself in Pinner, in north London, give Evelyn Blackburn a call and make an appointment for a massage from her. You’ll learn a thing or two about longevity along the way.
Winifred Pristell is 70 years old and lives in the Seattle, WA area. Three days a week she gets up at 3:30am in order to be at the gym by 5am.
Winifred has a reputation to uphold. She’s a great-grandmother who they call “Heavy Metal” because she’s a competitive weightlifter with two world records and aspirations for more.
When you watch the above video, you’ll learn more about Winifred and see her in action.
But she wasn’t born into a fitness type of lifestyle, nor was she on the Longevity track. Winifred was living quite the High Density Lifestyle, and things were looking pretty bleak.
At 47, the 5-foot-5-inch-tall woman was dangerously obese, weighing 235 pounds, with a body mass index of about 40. A body mass index of 25 is considered overweight; obesity starts at 30.
Since then, she’s dropped five dress sizes. The weight just crept up on her, she says. She was working long hours, eating poorly and drinking and smoking too much.
One day while taking a bath, Pristell remembers feeling as though she was dying. She asked her daughter, Cynthia, if she would walk with her.
“I couldn’t walk but a block that first time,” she said.
Every morning the two walked together, a little farther each day. Within a year, Pristell was up to three miles, five days a week, she said. That’s about the point she walked into a gym for the first time in her life. She tried aerobic exercises, stationary bikes, and other machines and contraptions.
Years would pass before she tried free weights and more than a decade before she began lifting weights competitively at the age of 60.
At 68, Pristell set world records for her age in bench press, 176.2 pounds, and in dead lift, 270 pounds, for her age group and weight class, according to World Association of Bench Pressers & Deadlifters. And she’s set scores of other state and national records.
Because of her unhealthy background and where she is now, sometimes Winifred can be a bit blunt. On a recent day at the gym she told a teenage boy who works there that he is too fat. She’s not trying to be mean, she says. Sometimes she just says things without thinking first.
After all, she is a retired barber who was blessed with the gift of gab, so she just likes to talk it up. And she figures if she can do it, anyone can.
After all, she’s a world record holder.
“Sometimes they call me a freak,” Winifred Pristell says. “That’s OK. I like being called a freak sometimes. It’s kind of unheard of, a person being my age doing what I can do. For me, the older I’m getting, the stronger I’m becoming.”
How was it possible for Winifred to so drastically change her life? What lessons can be learned from Winifred that can help you lead a long and vital life?
- Her incredibly positive attitude: Her trainer, Andrew “Bull” Stewart says of her, “She has no limitations. Mentally, physically, she just has a spirit about her, an attitude that she can do anything.”
- Her perseverance: Three days every week she is up at 5:30am and goes to the gym to lift weights. She has integrated exercise and healthy eating habits into her normal routine of life.
- Her belief in herself: Even though she has arthritis in her hands, feet, and back, Winifred believes she can overcome her challenges. “We are all dealing with something. If you let whatever you’re dealing with control your life, you have no quality of life.”
These life lessons from Winifred Pristell are lessons that can help anybody live a long, vital and happy life. These are also the longevity lessons that we can learn from Joe Rollino, who just passed away at age 104; 95-year-old Jack Lalanne; 83-year-old Bette Calman; and 98-year-old Shigeaki Hinohara.
Dr. Hinohara is another prime example of someone living a Low Density Lifestyle.
This article comes courtesy of the Japan Times.
At the age of 98, Shigeaki Hinohara is one of the world’s longest-serving physicians and educators. Hinohara’s magic touch is legendary: Since 1941 he has been healing patients at St. Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo and teaching at St. Luke’s College of Nursing.
After World War II, he envisioned a world-class hospital and college springing from the ruins of Tokyo; thanks to his pioneering spirit and business savvy, the doctor turned these institutions into the nation’s top medical facility and nursing school. Today he serves as chairman of the board of trustees at both organizations.
Always willing to try new things, he has published around 150 books since his 75th birthday, including one Living Long, Living Good that has sold more than 1.2 million copies. As the founder of the New Elderly Movement, Hinohara encourages others to live a long and happy life, a quest in which no role model is better than the doctor himself.
Here now, in his own words, is advice on this doctor of long life on how to live a long life.
Energy comes from feeling good, not from eating well or sleeping a lot. We all remember how as children, when we were having fun, we often forgot to eat or sleep. I believe that we can keep that attitude as adults, too. It’s best not to tire the body with too many rules such as lunchtime and bedtime.
All people who live long – regardless of nationality, race or gender — share one thing in common: None are overweight. For breakfast I drink coffee, a glass of milk and some orange juice with a tablespoon of olive oil in it. Olive oil is great for the arteries and keeps my skin healthy. Lunch is milk and a few cookies, or nothing when I am too busy to eat. I never get hungry because I focus on my work. Dinner is veggies, a bit of fish and rice, and, twice a week, 100 grams of lean meat.
Always plan ahead. My schedule book is already full until 2014, with lectures and my usual hospital work. In 2016 I’ll have some fun, though: I plan to attend the Tokyo Olympics!
There is no need to ever retire, but if one must, it should be a lot later than 65. The current retirement age was set at 65 half a century ago, when the average life-expectancy in Japan was 68 years and only 125 Japanese were over 100 years old. Today, Japanese women live to be around 86 and men 80, and we have 36,000 centenarians in our country. In 20 years we will have about 50,000 people over the age of 100.
Share what you know. I give 150 lectures a year, some for 100 elementary-school children, others for 4,500 business people. I usually speak for 60 to 90 minutes, standing, to stay strong.
When a doctor recommends you take a test or have some surgery, ask whether the doctor would suggest that his or her spouse or children go through such a procedure. Contrary to popular belief, doctors can’t cure everyone. So why cause unnecessary pain with surgery? I think music and animal therapy can help more than most doctors imagine.
To stay healthy, always take the stairs and carry your own stuff. I take two stairs at a time, to get my muscles moving.
My inspiration is Robert Browning’s poem “Abt Vogler.” My father used to read it to me. It encourages us to make big art, not small scribbles. It says to try to draw a circle so huge that there is no way we can finish it while we are alive. All we see is an arch; the rest is beyond our vision but it is there in the distance.
Pain is mysterious, and having fun is the best way to forget it. If a child has a toothache, and you start playing a game together, he or she immediately forgets the pain. Hospitals must cater to the basic need of patients: We all want to have fun. At St. Luke’s we have music and animal therapies, and art classes.
Don’t be crazy about amassing material things. Remember: You don’t know when your number is up, and you can’t take it with you to the next place.
Hospitals must be designed and prepared for major disasters, and they must accept every patient who appears at their doors. We designed St. Luke’s so we can operate anywhere: in the basement, in the corridors, in the chapel. Most people thought I was crazy to prepare for a catastrophe, but on March 20, 1995, I was unfortunately proven right when members of the Aum Shinrikyu religious cult launched a terrorist attack in the Tokyo subway. We accepted 740 victims and in two hours figured out that it was sarin gas that had hit them. Sadly we lost one person, but we saved 739 lives.
Science alone can’t cure or help people. Science lumps us all together, but illness is individual. Each person is unique, and diseases are connected to their hearts. To know the illness and help people, we need liberal and visual arts, not just medical ones.
Life is filled with incidents. On March 31, 1970, when I was 59 years old, I boarded the Yodogo, a flight from Tokyo to Fukuoka. It was a beautiful sunny morning, and as Mount Fuji came into sight, the plane was hijacked by the Japanese Communist League-Red Army Faction. I spent the next four days handcuffed to my seat in 40-degree heat. As a doctor, I looked at it all as an experiment and was amazed at how the body slowed down in a crisis.
Find a role model and aim to achieve even more than they could ever do. My father went to the United States in 1900 to study at Duke University in North Carolina. He was a pioneer and one of my heroes. Later I found a few more life guides, and when I am stuck, I ask myself how they would deal with the problem.
It’s wonderful to live long. Until one is 60 years old, it is easy to work for one’s family and to achieve one’s goals. But in our later years, we should strive to contribute to society. Since the age of 65, I have worked as a volunteer. I still put in 18 hours seven days a week and love every minute of it.
Over the last few days in this series on Longevity, I’ve told you about two amazing masters of longevity. One was Joe Rollino, who unfortunately passed away on Jan. 11, 2009 (having been hit by a car) at the young age of 104; and then I told you about the amazing Jack Lalanne, who at 95 has proclaimed that he plans to live to 150.
So let’s look today at another person who is an amazing example of someone who is experiencing a long and vital life, and has not allowed age to slow her down.
This person is the Yogi Grandma, 83-year-old Australian yoga instructor and grandmother Bette Calman, who is still bending over backwards to spread the benefits of the ancient Indian discipline.
Bette has been teaching yoga for 40 years, and still is extremely flexible. She’s the author of three yoga books, including one called Yoga for Arthritis.
She can do all the difficult moves including the agonizing “peacock” where the body is held in a horizontal position by the strength of the arms alone; she can also pull off a tricky raised “lotus,” “bridge,” and a headstand with ease.
She can also put her head between her knees and hold her ankles, putting her inflexible grandchildren to shame.
On top of all that, she still teaches up to 11 yoga classes a week
“I’m proof that if you keep at it, you’ll get there. I can do more now than I could 50 years ago,” Bette Calman said.
And she has no plans to give up and retire anytime soon. “You’re never too old. The body is a remarkable instrument. It can stretch and stretch, and get better all the time. Forget age,” she says. “Even a basic posture, or just going to a window and breathing deeply, can have big benefits.”
It’s that spirit that has made Bette Calman a legend in her native Australia.
She was a pioneer of yoga in the 1950’s, ran yoga centers for 33 years, and made regular TV appearances in the 1970’s.
She then thought she would retire, and moved to be closer to her daughter, but the call of yoga was just too much for her to ignore, and here she is now, teaching 11 yoga classes a week, and looking like she’s not planning on stopping anytime soon.
Living a Low Density Lifestyle – especially as a longtime yogi/yoga teacher – has made Bette Calman a model of longevity. As she says, “Yoga keeps you young.
“Never have I gone to a yoga class and wished I was somewhere else, because I know I’m going to come out feeling on the top of the world. There’ll always be yoga.”
If you read the article, you will recall that Joe was hit by a car on Jan. 11, 2010, and passed away shortly thereafter. Otherwise, Joe would still be going strong. His daily routine was to get up very early, walk 5 miles, and then possibly go for a swim in the icy, frigid Atlantic ocean by Coney Island, in Brooklyn, NY.
Jack Lalanne, born in 1914, is now 95. He is considered the “godfather of fitness,” and is well-known for the many books he has written, the fitness television show he hosted from 1951-1985, and for the juicer that bears his name that he sells on TV.
But Jack LaLanne is no hawker of questionable goods. He is the real deal – a model for how to live a healthy, vital and long life, a Low Density Lifestyle life.
His passion is living a healthy and fit life, and he is recognized for his success as a bodybuilder and for his prodigious feats of strength.
But it wasn’t always that way for Jack – he was a sickly child who was addicted to sugar and junk food. At age 15 he heard a lecture on health and nutrition that had a profound impact on him, and from there decided to focus on his health.
He changed his diet and started exercising regularly. He made these lifelong habits, and he blames overly processed foods for many of today’s health problems. He advocates an organic, vegetarian diet as the best type of diet to eat, and his simple rules of nutrition are, “if man made it, don’t eat it”; and “if it tastes good, spit it out.”
His interest in health led Jack to take pre-med courses in college, and to attend and graduate from a chiropractic college. Yet his newfound interest in personal health steered him away from the idea of treating disease for a living, and instead, his focus became helping people to avoid disease by achieving optimal health and fitness.
In 1936 in Oakland, CA, he opened up the first health spa/gym way before it was fashionable, and at the gym he preached the benefits of weightlifting. Meat and potatoes was the standard fare back then, yet LaLanne, far ahead of his time, opened a combination gym, juice bar and health-food store.
In the 1950s, on his TV show, LaLanne suggested that daily calisthenics rather than girdles would keep housewives trim. “My whole career, doctors and so-called experts called me a crackpot and charlatan,” he says. “But I was right.”
He celebrated his recent 95th birthday with the publication of his new book, Live Young Forever. In the book, Jack teaches you how to achieve a vibrant, motivated, stress-free, sexually active life that will make waking up a joy for decades to come.
That sounds to me just like a Low Density Lifestyle life.
Even at age 95, Jack LaLanne continues to work out daily, exercising for two hours every morning. He spends an hour and a half in the weight room, and then a half hour either swimming or walking.
And for various prior birthdays, he has done all kinds of prolific activities to show off his fitness. For example:
***in 1976, at age 62: To commemorate the “Spirit of ‘76″, United States Bicentennial, he swam one mile in Long Beach Harbor in Southern California. He was handcuffed and shackled, and he towed 13 boats (representing the 13 original colonies) containing 76 people.
***in 1979, at age 65: Towed 65 boats in Lake Ashinoko, near Tokyo, Japan. He was handcuffed and shackled, and the boats were filled with 6,500 pounds of Louisiana Pacific wood pulp.
***in 1980, at age 66: Towed 10 boats in North Miami, Florida. The boats carried 77 people, and he towed them for over one mile in less than one hour.
***in 1984, at age 70: Once again handcuffed and shackled, he fought strong winds and currents as he swam 1.5 miles while towing 70 boats with 70 people from the Queensway Bay Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary.
And what is the key to longevity, according to Jack Lalanne, the master of longevity? Let’s hear it from Jack, in his own words:
“You have to work at longevity. Exercise is king and nutrition is queen: together, you have a kingdom. My ‘secret’ is that you have to plan for your life. Some older people are now starting to exercise, but there are too many fat people. They spend time watching TV and drinking at the bar, then they say they don’t have time to exercise. People need to get their priorities straight.
“To live a long life, you have to work at living. Most Americans work at dying. You wouldn’t give your dog a donut and coffee for breakfast. Yet people fill their bodies with junk and then wonder where their physical health has gone.
“Life is like planting seeds. Put junk in, junk comes out. Exercise is also essential. Exercise increases your life expectancy and gives you a reason to get up in the morning. With a sound program of physical fitness, everyone can lead healthy and productive lives in their golden years.
“You control your life. My dad died at 50, but your genetics don’t control your longevity. Do the things that are under your control. Man can live to be 150. Common diseases like diabetes can be controlled by diet and exercise. Stay away from animal fats and processed foods. Read every food label, and if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, don’t buy it. Buying nutrient-empty foods is like putting water in the gas tank of your car. But good food by itself is not enough. You need a healthy lifestyle as well.
“Nutrition and exercise should be an important part of everyone’s life. Life should be a happy adventure, and to be happy you need to be healthy. Just take things one step at a time, and remember that everything you do takes energy to achieve. You need to plant the seeds and cultivate them well. Then you will reap the bountiful harvest of health and longevity!”
Thank you Jack LaLanne. You are a true visionary and pioneer. Listen to his words well, and you too can live a long and vital life.
As I continue with this series on Longevity, I want to tell you about Joe Rollino.
Sadly, Joe Rollino died this past Monday morning, Jan. 11, 2010. He was out walking near his home in Brooklyn, NY when he was struck by a van.
The above video has the news report. There’s a 15 second commercial at the beginning, so be patient, as it’s worth the wait.
Joe had his morning routine. He would go out early, while it was still dark, and buy the newspaper and a lottery ticket. Then he would walk 5 miles. After his walk, depending on his mood, he might go for a swim. In the ocean. The Atlantic ocean. No matter what the temperature was.
Joe Rollino was 104 when he died, and his 105th birthday would have been in March.
Joe was a lifelong vegetarian – his mother was a vegetarian, which was unusual in that time – who still had all of his own teeth, and ate oatmeal every morning. He never smoked or drank alcohol, he walked five miles every morning, rain or shine, and he also exercised everyday.
People called him the Great Joe Rollino, the Mighty Joe Rollino and even the World’s Strongest Man, for he was a man of extraordinary strength.
Joe Rollino once lifted 475 pounds, using neither his arms nor his legs but instead, his teeth. With just one finger he raised up 635 pounds; with his back he moved 3,200. He bit down on quarters to bend them with his thumb.
At his 103rd birthday party, he put a quarter in his teeth and then bent it. He apologized for his act, saying he used to be able to do it with dimes.
At this same party, retired NYPD detective Arthur Perry met Rollino for the first time, and didn’t believe Rollino was the celebrant – he looked too good for a centenarian.
“It was astonishing, how he was smiled upon by nature,” Perry said. “If you would’ve said to me he was 80, I’d have said he looked younger. And when he started shadow boxing, I couldn’t believe my eyes.”
He was a member of the Coney Island swimming society, the Iceberg Athletic Club. Members of the club swam into the icy waters of the Atlantic in Coney Island. But Joe was the leader of the pack: he holds the record for swimming everyday for 8 straight years.
The Iceberg members actually swim in the ocean three or four times a week, and attribute the habit to enduring good health. It is called “winter bathing.”
The water temperature, they insist, is often warmer than the air temperature. If they stay in for 5 or 10 minutes, they believe the cold water kills germs that fester inside one’s body. All the members of the club have attested to the fact that since they started winter bathing, they have not been sick.
When asked at his 103rd birthday party, Joe Rollino couldn’t recall the last time he was sick.
One winter, the police asked Joe Rollino to see if he could find the bodies of two people who drowned in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, because the police did not have the necessary protective equipment and it was too cold for anyone else to jump in and bring them to the surface. Joe went in and recovered the bodies.
If it wasn’t for the car striking him down, Joe would still be with us. Even at 104 years young, Joe left us too soon.
Joe Rollino was a role model for what longevity is all about. We all have a lot to learn from Joe Rollino.
Today begins the first series of the year – on Longevity.
Why longevity? By living a Low Density Lifestyle and experiencing exceptional health, it increases the odds of living long many times over.
Experiencing longevity is also about living a vital life well into your later years. It’s one thing to live a long life, it’s another thing to live a long life well.
It can be done, and many have done it and are doing it in this day and age. We’ll meet some of them over the course of this series.
As Mr. Spock always said, “Live Long and Prosper.” Right below is a video of Mr. Spock stating his famous Vulcan salute.
Studies of cultures that are known for longevity have found certain common attributes, and many of these traits are the lifestyle characteristics of a Low Density Lifestyle.
These characteristics are such things as:
***Eating a simple, whole foods, plant-based diet
***Eating less, not more
***Being active, and moving in ways that accentuate flow
***Making quiet time and also making time to relax, unwind,
destress and decompress
***Being happy and having a joyful approach to life
***Exercising your mind and having a purpose in life
***Maintaining a connection to the spiritual dimension of life
At the top of the page is a video from CBS News. When you watch it (there’s a short 15 second commercial for Ford at the very beginning, so please be patient), you’ll understand why longevity isn’t something you experience only if you’re lucky enough to have the right genes. There’s a common denominator that is found with people who live long lives, as the two experts on the CBS program state. These common denominators are the ones listed above.
And they are the common denominators of living a Low Density Lifestyle.
So I say to you, as all Vulcans say to one another, Live Long and Prosper! And remember, you don’t have to be a Vulcan to give the Vulcan salute.
Live a long life, and live it well…
I’ll be back tomorrow with the story of a man who just passed away the other day at the age of 104, and lived an incredibly vital life, well into his later years.