Don’t go down the stairs sideways and other advice from Dick Van Dyke

Dick Van Dyke

Dick Van Dyke turns 90 this December, and he’s celebrating with a new book, Keep Moving,and Other Tips and Truths About Aging. Equal parts memoir and how-to manual, the book is bristling with Van Dyke’s enthusiasm and optimism as he offers up tips on how to think and feel young well into your senior years. A sampling of:

His number one tip? “Keep moving! “ Van Dyke credits dancing with keeping him young and vital at nearly 90. But it’s not just dancing, he says. “Every morning, I get up and drink a cup of coffee and go to the gym before I can talk myself out of it.”

Number two: “Don’t start going down the stairs sideways. It feels good on the knees, but it throws the hips out and the back starts to go out, and the next thing you know, you’ve fallen down and broken your hip …”

Number three: “Dance and sing. Everybody can sing; that you do it badly is no reason not to.”

Four: “Don’t fear death. You have to realize you have a terminal condition. But I live in the present and I really don’t worry much about it.”

Other tips include: Be curious. Travel. Eat light, but also treat yourself to dessert at the end of every day.

The hardest part of getting old, Van Dyke says, “is giving up things you enjoy doing.” He’s had to give up tennis, but insists “almost anyone can find that one immersing hobby or pastime that they love to do. That, and dancing, will keep you young at heart and happy.

To read and listen to Van Dyke’s interview on NPR, click here.