What does my 80 year old father do to stay healthy - David Sinclair

At talks I give, I’m often surprised by members of the audience who admit they don’t want to live longer than 80. This does make sense. They have seen what many 80 year-olds look like, and it is not appealing.

But when I ask, “What if you could be healthy at 80?” just about everyone’s hands go up.

When I wrote about my father in Lifespan, I was in awe of the way that, late into his 70s, he had completely transformed his life. A man who had made it quite clear that he didn’t like the idea of becoming frail had started a new career, was adventuring, exercising, traveling, and socializing in ways that would exhaust a lot of 30-year-olds.

But here’s the thing: I hadn’t seen nothin’ yet.

The final edits for Lifespan were written more than a year ago. In that time, my father has kicked life into an even higher gear.

When he was in Boston this summer, for instance, he proved to my trainer that he is stronger than me, despite being 30 years older, at an age when most men are not in a good state of health.

And this fall, in Africa, I got to see him in action again. Over 16 days of “go, go, go,” my dad, who’s now 80, always seemed to be at the head of the pack. On most days we started at 6 a.m., crisscrossing the dry Serengeti, or climbing rugged rainforest terrain for hours before returning to our home base, where we ate and drank late into the night. We climbed mountains, crossed rivers, and traversed deserts. Dad was right there the whole time, pushing us all to our limits.

Dad has no patience for those who say your healthspan is predetermined. At 80 he has no memory issues, no aches, no pains, no depression. He feels the way he did when he was 30 or 40.


Let’s be clear: This isn’t a clinical trial and the answer is NOT one molecule. Yes, my father takes NMN, metformin and a little resveratrol, but there is still no way to know what effect those medications and supplements are having on him. We need more clinical evidence with double-blind placebo controls on dozens, if not hundreds, of people his age and demographic.

And, even if the molecules he is taking are helping, it would be very disrespectful not to note the tremendous WORK dad has put into staying healthy.

So, what does that work look like? Here is it, from my father himself, who kindly let us know his routine:

“I usually workout twice a week for 70 to 90 minutes. I start with warming up on the rowing machine for 15 minutes, going about 2,500 meters, followed by stretches and weights.”

He does three sets of 10 reps at the following weights:
  • Bench presses: 40 kg (88 lbs)
  • Leg presses: 130 kg (286 lbs)
  • Stomach curls: 50 kg (110 lbs)
  • Peckdeck: 40 kg (88 lbs)
  • Deadlift: 50 kg (110 lbs)
  • Knee-ups: 50 kg (110 lbs)
“I also do anything that I feel like doing,” he said. “Sometimes that’s just chatting with friends.”

He also does pilates for an hour each week to help with flexibility and walks from five to seven kilometers on most days.

“Sometimes I walk on a stair climber,” he added. “My recent record is 40 floors in under 15 minutes. It almost killed me, but I did it.”

His resting heart rate is just below 60 beats per minute. The steps pushed it up to 155 beats per minute. (His maximum heart rate should be 220 minus his age, 80. That’s only 140 beats per minute — far below what he is capable of!)

“I checked with my doctor,” he explained. “She said if you can do it, then do it. So I did!”

Of course, exercise alone doesn’t keep anyone healthy, let alone someone who is 80, so my father watches what he eats, too. No junk food. All home-cooked or healthy restaurant-cooked meals. Lots of vegetables, with a bit of chicken or seafood and, on more rare occasions, beef. He has a small breakfast of cereal and often skips lunch because he’s too busy painting the house or something.

He drinks, but not a lot. A few times a week, that’s all, and not to excess. He’ll have a sweet every now and then, too, but doesn’t overdo that either. No sugary soft drinks.

“I also eat lots of fruit but don’t drink enough water, though I’m trying to drink more,” he said.

Besides that, there are supplements and medications:

Metformin, also known as glucophage (2 x 500 mg/d for borderline high blood sugar).

Exforge to lower blood pressure (a combo of angiotensin II receptor antagonist and a calcium channel blocker)

Lipitor, a statin to lower cholesterol (20 mg/d)

An NAD booster called NMN (500 mg/d) and a “pinch” of resveratrol with breakfast.

Vitamin D “when I think of it,” he said.

Other than that?

“Lots of good luck,” he told me.

That said, none of Dad’s recent ancestors lived a life like his. At his age, they were housebound or in nursing homes, if they were alive at all.

Dad’s been generous to share what he does each day with us all. But let me be clear: all of the standard caveats apply to his approach. This is NOT necessarily a prescription for a healthy life. This is what one person has done. It seems to be working for him, though, and I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. I want my father to be around for a long time to come — as healthy and happy as he is right now.

Anyone who’s read Lifespan will know how in 2018 my father flew from Australia to join my wife Sandra and our three kids in Washington, D.C., for a special event where I was getting an award. Having him there ensured it was one of the best days of my life. As I looked at Dad, standing with my family, I thought, “this is what longer life is all about—having your parents there for life’s important moments.”

And as he stood there, he later told me, he thought, “this is what longer life is all about—being around for your children’s important moments.”

We are moving to a world where it will be quite normal for 80-year-olds to hike mountains with their grandkids and start new careers. We are not there yet, though, and way too many people are moving in the wrong direction. But the more people who seem to be getting it right share what they've learned along the way, the easier it will be for more of us to walk that same path.

And for that, among so many other things, I am so very proud of my dad.

*Once more, because there are a lot of people who are confused by this: I do not work for, nor do I receive any money from, supplement companies. I do not endorse or promote any brand of supplements. If I tell you I’m taking something, or someone I know is taking something, it’s because they’re taking it, not because I’m getting money for it — because I’m not.

@antiagingsolutions Do you know your epigenetic age? #davidsinclair #antiaging #centenarian #resveratrol #nmn #longevity #longevity #lifespan #sirtuins #tonyrobbins #impaulsive ♬ original sound - A C


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