I was told that I would never get better,
that I would be on medication for the rest of my life,
and that I’ll have a shorter life span. Well, being a
stubborn person, I didn’t take that sitting down,
and I did everything I could to improve my health.
– Fran German, Healthy-Aging Advocate, Author, and Speaker.
We have a lot more control over aging well than most people think. Successful aging can be attributed to a wide range of habits that are modifiable – meaning if you have don’t have healthy diet or don’t exercise, you can begin to make small changes over time that will improve your overall health. It’s never too late to get started.
In this episode of Dr. Melissa Batchelor’s This Is Getting Old: Moving Towards An Age-Friendly World, powerhouse healthy-aging advocates, authors, and speakers Bob and Fran German share their healthy-aging journey and discoveries.
They share their Top Five Strategies to be young at any age and live your best life—full of excellent health, energy, and boost your own happiness.
Part One of ‘Five Tips For Aging Well.’
Bob and Fran’s Stories.
Fran’s Story …
Bob and Fran were a typical couple until 1992, when Fran was 52 years old. She was diagnosed with a severe autoimmune disease called Myasthenia Gravis— an illness that causes severe muscle weakness.
They went to 11 different neurologists to try to find a way to cure the incurable disease. Every doctor gave her that same pitch, and she’d never get better on it.
But Fran was stubborn, and she wanted to find a way to get better.
“I took excellent care of myself. Changed to a whole foods plant-based diet, and cut out all animal products. Within a short period, I was off all medication, and I was symptom-free. Fifteen years later, the incurable disease that was supposed to shorten my life never reared its ugly head again.” shared Fran.
Bob’s Story …
Bob always tries to keep his body in good shape. He’s slim and enjoys walking, running, and keeping fit. Until one day, he started to develop discomfort in his groin. Bob went to a urologist, and they found a tumor outside his left kidney.
Bob and Fran traveled to the Duke University Medical Center and had the tumor removed. Post-operation, the doctor told them that it was a cancerous growth—kidney cancer, renal cell carcinoma.
According to Bob, “The one thing the doctor had mentioned was even though he got the tumor, he said this type of cancer is known to return. That also was an impetus for me to change.”
After we both have that devastating, life-threatening illness, we changed our lifestyle to a much more healthy one.
– Bob German, Healthy-Aging Advocate, Author, and Speaker
How Their Lives Got Better By Making a Few Changes …
Bob and Fran changed their eating and sleep habits. They also do their best to develop techniques to lower stress, which is often a precursor to illness. On top of that, they did a different type of exercise regimen and learned some strategies for building and strengthening their energy.
“Now, here we are in our 80s, and honestly, we feel better than we ever have in our life. We do have endless energy. It is fun.” says Fran and Bob.
Bob and Fran are in their 80’s but they …
- Have more energy than their 22-year old granddaughter.
- Hike mountains in North Carolina.
- Authored a book, “101 Ways To Be Young At Any Age!”
- Lived in Thailand part-time for nine years & Fran cooks fabulous Thai dishes.
- Taught at the Buddhist University for six years.
- Founded an anti-child trafficking organization.
- The oldest-newest YouTubers ever in their 80’s!
Part Two of ‘Five Tips For Aging Well.’
With all those rough and rocky roads Bob and Fran have been through, not to mention the devastating, life-threatening illness, they’ve made it a goal in life to die young as late as possible. In line with that, their mission is to get people to come on this journey with them. For starters, here are the Five Tips for Aging Well from Bob and Fran …
Five Tips For Aging Well:
(1) EAT LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT!
Every bite of food that you take either feeds illness or fights it!
Eat as your life depends on food—because it does. We believe that we should use the power of food to make the right choices. We encourage people to increase the whole foods they consume and reduce processed foods and animal products. Not only is it suitable for people, but it’s ideal for the planet.
(2) KEEP MOVING!
Sitting is the new smoking!
People don’t get out, and they watch TV way too much. Bob says that you have to get off your “butt” and your “buts.” You have to change your mindset on exercise and do exercise every day, preferably in the morning.
We advocate even designing a little regimen that we call “The Hour of Power.” So every morning, this would include some easy stretching and aerobic exercise, like walking briskly and walking for maybe 20 to 30 minutes. Moving is so essential not only to your physical well-being but also to your emotional well-being.
Without the right mindset about ageism, you can shorten your lifespan for an average of seven years or more.
– Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, FGSA, FAAN
(3) REDUCE STRESS!
Do anything possible to reduce stress levels that you may be experiencing. That means considering taking on some mindfulness practice.
Your mind should be on the present moment; it’s focused on the attention of what you are doing right now. Too many times, our mind drifts away. It glides into the past, where we think about things that have happened that aggravates us or gets us angry. Other times we think about things in the future that we worry about. That’s human nature, but those are stressors: anger and worry. They immobilize you, and they stress you out—very unhealthy.
Take on meditation every day. Sit quietly for 5 to 10 minutes, at least once a day, and focus on your breath. Just breathe easily. You can sit in a comfortable place. No electronics, no TVs going. Just sit in a quiet room and relax your body and clear your mind. It will do wonders for you and lower your stress.
(4) PRACTICE QIGONG FOR ENDLESS ENERGY!
Qigong is an ancient Chinese system of wellness. You can Google it or go to our YouTube channel—” Young At Any Age.” We have 40 different Qigong lessons that you can follow along. There’s nothing to memorize, and it’s effortless. Anybody could do it, and you could do it either sitting or standing, simple movements that help energize you and lower stress at the same time.
(5) MAKE SLEEP A PRIORITY!
It’s often said that as you get older, you don’t need as much sleep—that’s not true. It’s beneficial to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night because this is when your cells regenerate, and it helps your mood, mental sharpness, and physical well-being.
Your bedroom should be used only for two things—sleep or sex. It should be dark, calm, quiet, and no TV or computers in the bedroom. It’s also advisable to avoid things that would prevent you from sleeping, like caffeine or alcohol, or sugary foods before bedtime.
Connect with Bob and Fran through these useful links:
Bob and Fran’s Healthy-aging YouTube Channel:
Buy Bob and Fran’s book, “101 WAYS TO BE YOUNG AT ANY AGE!” at:
Visit Bob and Fran’s website:
Email Bob and Fran at:
Visit Bob and Fran’s ACT Project Website: https://bobnfran.wixsite.com/actproject
ABOUT BOB and FRAN GERMAN:
Healthy-Aging Advocates, Authors, and Speakers.
Bob and Fran are now both in their 80’s and say that they feel Better Than Ever! They have enjoyed an incredible life together, a wonderful family, successful careers, worldwide travel, and countless adventures. And thankfully, they both overcame life-threatening diseases (kidney cancer and Myasthenia Gravis).
For years they have spent most of their time inspiring others to join them in their life goal to “Die Young, As Late As Possible” by making the right lifestyle choices to get them to that goal.
I earned my Bachelor of Science in Nursing (‘96) and Master of Science in Nursing (‘00) as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) from the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) School of Nursing (SON). I truly enjoy working with the complex medical needs of older adults. I worked full-time for five years as FNP in geriatric primary care across many long-term care settings (skilled nursing homes, assisted living, home and office visits) then transitioned into academic nursing in 2005, joining the faculty at UNCW SON as a lecturer.
I obtained my PhD in Nursing and a post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing Education from the Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing (2011) ) and then joined the faculty at Duke University School of Nursing as an Assistant Professor. My family moved to northern Virginia in 2015 and led to me joining the faculty at George Washington University (GW) School of Nursing in 2018 as a (tenured) Associate Professor where I am also the Director of the GW Center for Aging, Health and Humanities.
Find out more about her work HERE.