I recently listened to an interview with Kenny Aronoff that was incredibly enlightening. This may not be a house hold name for you (it definitely wasn’t someone I had heard of), but Kenny is one of the most sought after drummers in the world, and has played drums for Elton John, Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart, Sting, Smashing Pumpkins, The Rolling Stones…just to name a few. Kenny is also 61 years old and in incredible physical shape. Most impressive is the fact that he has spent a career maintaining optimal health and fitness in arguably the most unhealthy work environment (i.e. travelling constantly and hanging around partying rock stars).
Here are the eight key ingredients Kenny attributes to his health and ability to maintain a high level of energy and productivity: (I have summarized some of the details he shares after each one.)
- Lifting Weights: It doesn’t have to be big weights, just some weights. Lifting weights keeps your hormone levels up, witch fights off the big three: cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Resistance training becomes more and more important as we get older.
- Cardio: Cardio is obvious, but it is good for stamina and every part of your body.
- Stretching: To improve and maintain flexibility to go along with building muscle. Stretching can open up blood flow.
- Diet: No processed foods, no sodas, and spend a little extra for high quality food. As Kenny says, “Pay now, or pay later”. Pay for good quality food now or pay the doctor later for poor health. He eats lots of fruit for antioxidants. He eats meat, but buys high quality meats from Whole Foods. And as he says…vegetables, vegetables, vegetables!
- Supplements: Rather than a flu shot, he takes lots of Vitamin D. He consumes fish oils, antioxidants, chlorophyll additives, multiple vitamins with massive amounts of vitamin B and C to boost his immune system.
- Water: Water is the number one nutrient for people. An ounce per half of your body weight
- Sleep: I am horrible at this personally, but we need 8+ hours per night. This is where your body repairs and he discusses the importance of sleep in preventing heart disease and cancer. Kenny shares how now when he wakes up after only 4 or 5 hours, he forces himself to go back to sleep by reading, rather than getting up.
- Meditation: While you do not see or feel the immediate benefits like you do with lifting weights or cardio workouts, meditation is becoming a proven and super beneficial practice for long-term health.
While none of these are earth-shattering revelations, I found these eight ingredients laid out in this order were terrific reminders for me. I know that I tend to go through spurts of greatness in a few areas, but neglect areas. For example, I will make a concerted effort to hit the gym 4-5 times per week, and drink lots of water throughout my day…only to stay up too late or eat a bunch of bad food at the end of my day.
But the truth is, if we don’t have our health, we don’t have anything. If we do not take care of ourselves now in every way possible, we won’t be able to spend active years with our kids, grandkids, and even great grandkids.
Health is a building block in which we cannot wait too long to begin taking care of ourselves. It must become a way of living. We owe it to our families, our friends, our employees, and ourselves!
Please share how you are being healthy, or new plans to be healthier, in the comments below!