AGING
December 24, 2013

Santa: How A 550-Year-Old Stays Healthy

How healthy is Santa Claus? He surely has some belly fat. But he's actually in pretty good shape.

The tests have come back and they all agree: Santa's doing just fine for a man of his age. He is a senior citizen, however, with a fair amount of belly fat, so here are some tips from a geriatrician designed for his unique lifestyle and vocation.

“Because Santa is probably more than 550 years old, a lot of people would say that growing older hasn't been a problem for him,” said Dr. Thomas Cavalieri, dean of the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine and founder of the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging in a press release. “But aging successfully means more than adding years to your life. Successful aging means you are adding life to your years.”

Santa gave up smoking. Gone is the pipe that most people remember.

Santa could lose a few pounds. Chubby and rosy cheeked, he's putting a lot of stress on his heart; and it could catch up with him sooner or later. All those Christmas cookies people leave out don't help.

Santa might be trimmer if he walked a bit more and rode his sleigh less, but on Christmas Eve, he's got a schedule to keep. It's tough to criticize him for that unless you've walked in his boots.

Santa's Personal Commitment to Better Health

Santa has successfully tackled other health issues, so there's no reason he shouldn't be able to work off some of his excess weight. After all, Cavalieri says, he gave up smoking. Gone is the pipe trailing clouds of smoke that most people of a certain age remember.

Only someone who maintained a serious fitness schedule could go down and up so many chimneys in one night.

That major health change is probably the best single thing Santa could have done to keep him around for another 500 years. But he appears to have a number of other healthy behaviors we would all do well to imitate.

When it comes to fitness, Santa must be doing something during the year, or he wouldn't be able to deliver all those toys on Christmas Eve. His exact exercise program, like so much else about the man, remains a well kept secret, but according to Cavalieri, its effects are obvious. Toting around all those sacks of toys takes muscle.

There is little published research on the cardiovascular demands of climbing up and down chimneys, but it is pretty clear it requires a lot more stamina and nimbleness than even climbing stairs does. Only someone who maintained a serious fitness schedule could go down and up so many chimneys in one night.

Santa's Psyche: Checking His List Twice?

Santa's use of a list and the need to check it twice could be seen as a sign of memory problems, but most executives rely on lists (and administrative assistants) to keep track of all they have to do. So here, too, he appears to be in good shape.

Keeping active — by making toys with the elves year round — will also help keep his memory sharp. Regular exercise improves heart health and a healthy heart means a healthy brain.

Staying up all night, having a tight schedule and being responsible for the happiness of so many children on Christmas Eve could be intensely stressful for some people.

Psychologically, Santa is doing fine. He's been happily married to Mrs. Claus, for as long as anyone can remember. Being in a good marriage has benefited both Santa's body and mind..

Santa's relationship with the elves and reindeer is another sign of good physical and mental health.

Staying up all night, having a tight schedule and being responsible for the happiness of so many children on Christmas Eve could be intensely stressful for some people. But Santa seems to have no trouble coping with the heavy demands of his job.

“When you add it all together, Santa's health habits definitely put him on a successful aging path that others can follow,” Cavalieri said. “He appears to be in pretty good shape and should be able to continue filling Christmas wishes for many years to come.”

COMMENTS
NOTE: We regret that we cannot answer personal medical questions.
 
FOLLOW US
© 2016 interMDnet Corporation.