Health and Wellness

6 daily practices this 82-year-old triathlete and neurosurgeon uses to lengthen his healthspan

Courtesy of Dr. Joseph Maroon

Living to 90 is a feat in itself, but imagine being able to compete in triathlons even as you near that distinguished age. 

This is the reality for Dr. Joseph Maroon, an 82-year-old triathlete who also works as a consultant neurosurgeon for the Pittsburgh Steelers and medical director of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

"I tell people my goal in life is to die young as late as possible," Maroon says. "I'm focused on my healthspan, not so much my lifespan."

Maroon credits his value of mind and body connection for his ability to compete in eight Ironman Triathlons, nine marathons and over 70 Olympic-distance triathlon events. 

He experienced a "lifequake," as he describes it, when his dad passed; it both led him to his lowest point of quitting neurosurgery and flipping burgers at age 40, and his purpose, when the banker who held the mortgage of the burger joint, invited him to go running.

"I noticed coincidentally with my physical activity, my depression was slowly lifting, my 15-pound weight loss was coming down, my brain was starting to function again and eventually, I was able to get back to neurosurgery," Maroon says. "The physical activity literally saved my life."

From that point forward, Maroon made some serious changes to his daily habits, which he believes added extra years to both his "healthspan" and his lifespan.

Daily practices of an 82-year-old triathlete and neurosurgeon

These are six daily practices that Maroon implemented in his life after age 40, and he still does them everyday:

  1. Eat a Mediterranean diet. Maroon's diet consists of mostly fruits and vegetables with chicken and fish occasionally. He rarely eats red meat.
  2. Exercise regularly. Maroon dedicates an hour per day to his exercise routine, six days a week.
  3. Abstain from smoking, drinking and taking non-prescription drugs.
  4. Keep your stress levels low. One way Maroon reduces stress is by balancing his values. He makes sure that he spends equal time on work, family/friends, spirituality and physical activity each day.
  5. Get adequate sleep. Maroon sleeps 6 and half to 7 and half hours each night.
  6. Takes supplements like Omega 3 fatty acids which Maroon takes for brain health and reduced inflammation. He also takes magnesium to balance his workouts and glyteine, which he believes may reduce chances of developing Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's. You should consult with your doctor and do extensive research before adding any supplements to your diet.

"I figured any year beyond 60 was going to be a bonus for me," says Maroon.

"I'm now 82, and still functioning at a very good level."

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