With advancing age I've developed increasing anxiety about going for my annual physical with Dr. Bruce Yaffe, who's been my primary care physician for 23 years. What will he discover in doing his detective work of lab tests and screenings? Are there any silent diseases like high blood pressure or osteoporosis waiting to manifest? Will I still measure up to my full height and normal bone density?
This year I needn't have worried. Not only was I current with all of my screenings – mammogram, bone density and colonoscopy - but I got good scores on all the tests for blood pressure, cholesterol, Vitamin D level, etc.. My lifestyle practices also bode well, including the fact that I use seat belts in taxi cabs (which Dr. Yaffe always asks – he's very savvy!)
But best of all was the praise I got for my resting heart rate. Dr. Yaffe was impressed that at the age of 65, my resting heart rate was 61 beats per minute. Apparently it's rare for someone over 60 to have a heart rate that low. I credit my daily habit of walking to all of my appointments, which usually adds up to the recommended 10,000 steps per day, and challenging myself on the weekends with half-hour runs. The consistency of maintaining a steady level of physical activity really does pay off!