Count down your age

“One evening at his office, cardiologist Frederic Vagnini was reading through lab results of a patient. ‘Oh my,’ he thought. ‘This patient is in serious trouble.’
“Wondering who it was, he looked up the name, and was shocked. He was reading his own test results.”
Thus begins a press release announcing the book “Count Down Your Age: Look, Feel, and Live Better than You Ever Have Before,” co-authored by Vagnini.
At about the same time, Dave Bunnell, who founded the computer magazines PC, PC World, and Macworld, was diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
He also was 60 pounds overweight. The result of too many 16-ounce porterhouse steaks, whole pints of Haagen Dazs, and his high-pressure job.
After their wake-up calls, both Vagnini and Bunnell decided to take action. They are now fit and healthy. And together the well-known doctor and the magazine mogul have written “Count Down Your Age.”
“How would you like to take five, 10, even 20 years off your age?” they ask.
Who wouldn’t say yes to that question?
And according to Bunnell’s son, their plan really works. “It’s inspiring to see how a man approaching 60 can knock off 15 years,” he commented about his father.
“Count Down Your Age” begins with an anti-aging test. By taking the test, you can determine your “functional” age.
The test has 78 soul-searching questions? Like “how much more do you weigh today than you did at age 20?”
You get 100 points if you weigh about the same as you did at 20. And zero points if you weigh more than 50 pounds more.
Another important question is “How often, during an average week, do you exercise?”
Every day nets 100 points. One-two days equals only 40 points. You get the idea.
I did the test and tried to be honest. I admitted I rarely go to strength training class and that cost me 100 points, but on the other hand I got 100 points for eating yogurt every day.
In all, my score was 4,000—enough to “count down my age” by one year!
I wasn’t satisfied with that, so I counted up all the things I mean to do every day for my health, like eating lots of veggies and fruits, drinking eight glasses of water, and exercising my eyes.
Then I counted all the things I could train myself to do, like balance on one foot, touch the floor with my fingers (or at least touch my shins), do chair yoga, and take up a new activity to stimulate my brain.
Those things netted 2,000 more points. Enough to make me 11 years younger than I really am!
So if you want to have the body of a 70-year-old when you are 80 or the body of a 50-year-old when you’re 65, why not read this book and take the quiz.
Or at least start doing all the things you already know you should be doing! Exercise. Eat less sugar. Get together with friends and family often.
Play games like bridge or Scrabble. And most important of all—laugh a lot.
Counting down your age takes work, but it’s worth it. So why not begin today?
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at or visit

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