A Great Example for How to Live Well Into Old Age

By | February 7, 2012

A few months ago, I interviewed a man by the name of Mike DiCerbo.

It’s likely you haven’t heard of him, until now.

I met Mike in 2007 when I joined the Scottsdalian Toastmasters club. He immediately impressed me as someone with an iron will and a sure sense of who he was.

I interviewed Mike because he is what I call a successful ager. He’s 88 years old. He’s self-reliant, self-sufficient, healthy, and vital. The kind of guy you say, “Wow, I want that when I’m his age.”

Mike doesn’t exercise. This might come as a shock. Healthy, vital, and he doesn’t exercise? Exercise isn’t what you think it is—listen up.

Mike doesn’t exercise, but he stays active. He walks, outside or on a treadmill. He does all his own gardening, trims trees, climbs up on the roof.

Some weeks, he works 40 hours. He volunteers with kids teaching them Toastmasters speaking principles.

What does Mike say about activity?

“I’ve always tried to stay active, even while working. I got involved in things, volunteered for whatever was coming up outside my job.”

What about Mike’s habits?

  • He quit smoking in the 1970’s. He’d been smoking since he was 16 years old (he’s 88 now, you do the math!). He quit cold turkey.
  • One day he looked at his coffee mug. He’d been drinking close to three pots of coffee per day. The mug was stained. He wondered, “What is that doing to my body?” So he quit. Cold turkey. Now he drinks two cups of tea at breakfast.
  • He eats two vegetables at every meal. At lunch he eats light. Once a week he has some ice cream—two scoops. He has dark chocolate once per day, a portion that’s a bit bigger than a Hershey Kiss.

Notice a trend here? Sensible. Simple. Self-discipline pouring through.

I’m a big believer in exercise. I think our modern life makes us soft, fat, and weak if we don’t intentionally do something to stay active. It doesn’t have to be exercising, though. Too many people get caught up thinking they have to exercise. For some people, it’s perfectly acceptable to just be like Mike.