The Alameda Seven

Last week, I had a chance to look on my running library (actual books, not on the Internet) and I selected the book “Running To Win” by George Sheehan to bring in my “out of town” trips for my training and races to direct. In the early pages of the book, I came upon an article about The Alameda Seven. It is a set of rules made by researchers on their study of the people living in the Alameda County, California who had been found to be extraordinarily lived longer, happier and more productive to the community than the average people living in California and other parts of the US.

It appears that the following rules had been followed by the people living in Alameda, thus, their reason for their extraordinary longevity in life:

  1. Exercise regularly.
  2. Eat a good breakfast.
  3. Don’t eat between meals.
  4. Maintain weight.
  5. Don’t smoke.
  6. Drink moderately.
  7. Get a good night’s sleep.

Morever, it appeared that those who followed these rules had aged successfully, which means that they remained independent, healthy, and free of serious diseases.

On hindsight, I have been following these rules without me knowing them since I retired from the military and started my love in running and other outdoor sports. Let me discuss them one by one.

Exercise regularly. I have been running almost everyday for at least one hour a day. Since I started training for my ultras and trail runs, I would make it a point to have Mondays as my OFF days and I never missed doing that. However, in my training program, I see to it that that I don’t have to do a successive two-day “hard” workout. I usually do a “light” workout after a “hard” day workout to allow my body to recover from the additional stress I put on my body.

Eat a good breakfast. I really don’t know if my daily breakfast is good based from a “nutritionist” point of view. For the past years, I’ve been eating two soft-boiled eggs and one cup of rice with coffee and it became a habit already if I am at home. Lately, I have added “instant” oatmeal because of my ultra running training.

Don’t eat between meals. I really don’t eat in between meals. I just simply drink water or if there is fruit around like banana, I only eat one piece.

Maintain weight. My weight ranges from 135 pounds to 145 pounds. It may not be based on my height but that is what I’ve observed for the past eight years. My racing weight (Race ready weight) is 135 pounds; my average weight during training is 140 pounds; and my “holiday” weight is maxed to 145 pounds. I guess, most of the weight I put in to my body are liquids/water keep me hydrated. However, my diet had been balanced with more vegetables and fish. I only take meat, at least, one or twice a week.

Don’t smoke. I never smoked in my entire life and never allowed myself to be exposed near “smokers” or “skaggers”. A simple smell of cigarette/cigar smoke would make me cough!

Drink moderately. I am not sure on the correct meaning of “moderately”. I usually drink ice-cold beer after a race and I find it very refreshing and makes me recover fast because it gives me the tendency to doze off and sleep. Since I don’t have the chance or fond of attending parties, I have never tasted alcoholic drinks outside from my daily runs.

Get a good night’s sleep. I think this is the MOST important rule that an active person should follow. I always make it a point to sleep 7-8 hours every night. Nothing substitutes a good night’s sleep even if you take a nap after lunch. I don’t have the habit to take a nap after my lunch because it would give me a hard time to get my sleep during nighttime.

Aside from these rules, I take at least one multi-vitamin & mineral tablet a day and been drinking “turmeric” tea everyday for the past so many years.

Bottomline, I don’t have to buy any “maintenance” drugs and completely enjoy my retirement life. “Stress-free” life is a healthy life.

A Trail Runner

Reference: “Running To Win” By George Sheehan


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