When Trisha and I wrote The Best of Our Lives, we included lots of research and suggestions concerning nutrition and exercise for seniors. While eveything we wrote about is certainly valuable for leading a healthy and happy retired life, there is one suggetion that is by far the most important for every senior. We call it the Thirty-Minute Rule, which simply means you need to get thirty minutes of aerobic exercise each day.

If you already are getting in your thirty minutes, you are dismissed. If not, you need to begin today. I know this kind of advice can be annoying, especially since we live in a society filled with goody two-shoes who are forever telling us how to live every aspect of our lives. For seniors, however, following this rule can truly be a life saver.

The problem is as most people get older, they attribute every ache and pain to old age. Truth be known, recent research reports eighty-five percent of seniors don’t exercise at all. As a result, they rapidly get out of shape and their bodies “age” more quickly. If seniors exercised and followed the Thirty-Minute Rule, some research indicates they could turn the aging clock back ten to fifteen years.

When my father turned sixty-five, he had become so sedentary he would fall asleep every time he sat down. Having just given up a four pack a day smoking habit, his weight ballooned to 330 pounds. He later learned his doctor had predicted he wouldn’t live another month. Knowing he had to change his life, he began to walk each morning, gradually increasing his time and distance. Over the next six months he lost more than 130 pounds. Recently, surrounded by kids, grandkids and great grandkids, he celebrated his eighty-seventh birthday be throwing out the first pitch at a Dodger game.

If you don’t do anything else for yourself in retirement, follow the Thirty-Minute Rule. It almost certainly will make your retired life healthier and happier.