Gurus vs rock stars

One of the unquestioned assumptions behind the various health and fitness philosophies that are being peddled everywhere is the idea that we all want to live to a ripe old age. And even more than that, we want this to be “quality aging”, i.e. with only the smallest amount of physical and mental decline, bright as buttons, still running half-marathons in our eighties.

Whether or not this is a worthy goal is a question I’ll leave for another day, but the obsessive focus on life extension gave me an idea. Why not get a little competitive with this? Let’s pair a team of health gurus with a team of people who’ve had perhaps a slightly less healthy life but a whole lot more fun, like rock stars.¬†Obviously we’d have to wait a few more decades to see how this entirely unscientific experiment plays out.

But in the meantime, let’s do some retrospective pairing:

Health and fitness gurus

Jack LaLanne (exercise and diet guru) died at 96

Roy Walford (Caloric Restriction guru) died at 79

Barry Groves (low carb guru) died at 77

Robert Atkins (low carb guru) died at 72

George Ohsawa (macrobiotic guru) died at 72

Jerome Irving Rodale (organics and Prevention guru) died at 72

Adelle Davis (supplement and health food guru) diet at 70

Nathan Pritikin (low fat guru) died at 69

James Fixx (fitness guru) died at 52

Rock stars

“Fats” Domino (not really a rock star, but you know what I mean) – 86, still living

Chuck Berry – 87, still living

Little Richard – 81, still living

Willie Nelson, 80, still living

Leonard Cohen, 79 – still living

Bill Wyman, 77 – still living

Jerry Lee Lewis, 77 – still living

Keith Richards – 70, still living

Mick Jagger – 70, still living

Patti Smith – 68, still living

Iggy Pop – 66, still living

Lou Reed  Рdied at 71

Would you take lifestyle advice from this man?

Or this man?

I know it’s not a fair comparison. But still, let’s ask ourselves the question: should we eat only coconut oil for breakfast every day and spend precious minutes obsessing over whether that bit of canola oil on our toasted seaweed will throw off our omega 3 balance, or should we stay up late, get a little drunk, sing out of tune, say things we shouldn’t say, wear pants that are too tight and lipstick that’s a little too bright?

David Johansen/Buster Pointdexter, ex New York Dolls, still chipper at 64