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Running For Your Long, Healthy Life

Can you imagine anyone competing in more than 900 marathons during their lifetime? The math sounds impossible: To do so, one would have to run 26.2 miles at least 18 times a year for 50 years.

That is, until you learn more about the remarkable lives of 79-year-young Norm Frank, who has completed 965 marathons since 1967, more than anyone in North America, and 90-year-young Don McNelly who has finished 744, including record-setting marks in his 70s (295) and 80s (177). Or, 63-year-old Baby Boomer Denny Fryman who, at 833 marathons and counting, will likely break some of their records, barring health problems and life getting in the way.

Physically competitive longer than almost all of us believe to be humanly possible, these athletes are wonderful examples of how important lifestyle habits can be for your life, especially once you hit 65, according to health experts interviewed by USA Today at a recent Gerontological Society of America meeting in New Orleans.

Until you reach 65, experts at the Stanford Center on Longevity believe your health is governed, for the most part, by your genes. I'm not so convinced bad genes can be blamed entirely for one's poor health choices (or no choices at all), but I do agree with the experts, however, that lifestyle habits -- your diet and exercise habits -- will help you live a longer, healthier life.

For those of you who would never consider running a marathon, particularly in your golden years, Don McNelly makes a convincing case to do in this short and very awesome video.

USA Today November 21, 2010

MSNBC November 22, 2010

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