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Getting A 'RealAge Makeover'

Makeovers are all the rage these days, from new hair to new bodies. But how would you like a makeover that promises to add years to your life?

Dr. Michael Roizen, a gerontologist and the author of "The RealAge Makeover," tells The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm your real age is not the one on your birth certificate.

He says, "The real age is the actual age of your body as opposed to the calendar age, which is just the number of birthdays you've celebrated. So your real age could be many years older or younger than your calendar age. I'm 58 calendar years of age, but my real age is 40. And how to do it is what the book is about. That is, how to get younger."

Dr. Roizen notes by the time we reach 50, 90 percent of our health is due to the choices that we actually make.

He says, "If you will, our genes are about 25 percent overall. But the older we get, the more our choices make a difference. And there are easy choices everyone can make."

Dr. Roizen offers practical advice like walking or eating a cup of tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce once a week. And he invites people to take a test at www.RealAge.com to see how they can get younger.

One of the categories of the test is health in which he says the most important thing to know is your blood pressure.

He explains, "The ideal is 115/75. If it's over that, it makes you a lot older." Storm took the test and found out she is about a year and-a-half younger according to her blood pressure.

Another category is genetics, by looking at your parents. Secondhand smoke is also important. Dr. Roizen says, "Any tobacco exposure makes you older. Secondhand smoke is the same as you smoking four cigarettes yourself. It would make you 1.4 years older."

As for exercise, Storm says she does some weight training and aerobics twice a week, which is not bad according to Dr. Roizen. He tells her, "You get about a year-and-a-half younger because of that." And he encourages women to take the time and set an example for their children. Down the line, parents won't have to be taken care of by their kids; instead, they will be able to take care of their grandkids, he notes.

Up to a point, he says the more exercise you do, the younger you get. He says, "The right amount is in the book or on the Web site."

Obviously, nutrition is important. And he notes breakfast actually takes years off your life. He says, "We don't know why breakfast does it, whether it's the healthy food, the healthy juices like orange juice, etc., or whether it's the vitamins one tends to take, but whatever it is, it tends to make you younger."

Talking about food, he notes fresh foods and vegetables are a big plus, as well as nuts, particularly walnuts, while red meat can actually subtract years.

He says, "You want to move away from four-legged to things like fish. You get a subtraction of half a year."

Lifestyle also plays a big role. Dr. Roizen says having friends and being happily married with a good sex life can make a person younger, while stressful events, and letting unpleasant things hang over your head can take away years from you.

Finally, exercising your brain also keeps people young. In Storm's case, she has to learn all the scripts every day and read the books, so she is getting younger.

After taking the test and tabulating the answers she went from 41 to 32. Find out your RealAge by answering the questions on the RealAge Web site at www.RealAge.com.

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