I always dread the arrival of the monthly AARP magazine. My wife picks through it and confronts me with ways we need to amend our current financial and medical approaches to life in our senior years.
“Listen to this, Dick. Men over 50 — that’s you since 1997 — who eat fish just once a month are 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack and will live 10 years longer.”
“Wow, now that is amazing! So, what’s for dinner?”
“Turkey burgers. I don’t want to stink up the house.”
This month’s issue had a list of medical questions, including one that caused some distress in our house. One reader was concerned that after she climbed a flight of stairs, she couldn’t catch her breath.
“Is this a symptom of heart disease?” she asked. Apparently, she was just out of shape, but then the article’s author offered this: “Here’s a better test. Can you sit on the ground and get up without using your hands? An inability to do this is linked to mortality in adults over 50.”
Mary Ellen and I got down on the floor in a sitting position, which for me was already way harder than I remembered. We squirmed, rolled around on the rug, grunted, banged into each other and started laughing (which is good for your heart, so we accomplished something).
“I’m sorry, Mary Ellen, there’s no way I can get off the ground without using my hands. It’s impossible.”
“I saw it in a movie once. This guy sat on his carpet and did it easily.”
“You were watching ‘Arabian Nights.’”
On YouTube, there were lots of videos of people doing this very exercise. What really unnerved me is that there is a 10-point scale and you lose points for using your arms to get up onto your feet. Loss of four points means your chances of living the next five years are reduced. The next time Mary Ellen and I tried the move, I only lost one point. To get to a standing position, I didn’t require my forearms, my elbows, or my hands.
I required my wife.