Chuck Gaidica – Sitting Is the New Smoking. Stand Up for Your Health!


For years, we’ve been told that smoking is bad for our health. We know it increases our risk of lung cancer, heart disease, and other serious illnesses.

But what about sitting? According to experts, sitting is the new smoking. And like smoking, it can have a negative impact on our health. Studies have linked extended periods of sitting with an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Sitting for long periods of time can also lead to back and neck pain. In fact, some researchers believe that the negative health effects of sitting are so significant that they may even outweigh the dangers of smoking.

So what can we do to reduce the risks associated with sitting?
For starters, WE CAN STAND UP!

For many seniors, the latter third of life can be a time of great uncertainty. With retirement often marking the end of a career, and declining health making it difficult to remain active, it can be easy to feel like life has lost its purpose. Many people retire from their careers and find themselves with more free time than they know what to do with. Others may no longer have the same hobbies or interests that they once did. But research has shown that having a sense of purpose can greatly improve your health and well-being, no matter your age.

There are many ways for seniors to achieve a longer health span AND FINDING PURPOSE is often central to this goal.


Chuck Gaidica, is a familiar face in Detroit, where he has worked as a TV anchor and host for over 30 years. Chuck is one of the most trusted figures in Michigan. He’s also won multiple Emmy awards and the prestigious Silver Circle Award for broadcast excellence. Chuck has a mission. He wants to help people enjoy their “second half of life.” The author and wellness coach encourages people to build on sound health, wealth, strength, and relationships. Chuck believes it’s never too late to be who God intended us to be!

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Hanh Brown


Hanh Brown / Chuck Gaidica

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Episode Transcript


Hanh Brown: Hi, I’m Hanh Brown, the host of the Boomer Living broadcast. As baby boomers age, they are increasingly focused on maintaining their health and wellbeing. 

Hanh Brown: However, they face many challenges, including senior healthcare, dementia care, caregiving technology for seniors, affordable senior living options, and financial insecurity. 

Hanh Brown: These issues can be very difficult to navigate alone, which is why the Boomer Living Podcast was created. On the show, industry leaders share information, inspiration, and advice for those who care for seniors. Our expert panelists discuss all aspects of senior care, from healthcare to dementia to affordable senior living options for seniors. So thank you so much for joining us today. 

Hanh Brown: The aging process is different for everyone and we can learn a lot from each other, that’s why we love to hear from you. If you have any questions or comments about your own aging journey, please don’t hesitate to share them with us. By sharing our stories, we can help others understand the aging process and feel more confident about the future. 

Hanh Brown: So thank you for tuning in, and we hope that you find the conversation informative and helpful. 

Hanh Brown: Today’s topic is “Sitting is the New Smoking: Stand Up for Your Health.” 

Hanh Brown: For many years, we’ve been told that smoking is bad for our health, and we know that it increases the risk of lung cancer, heart disease, and other serious illnesses. 

Hanh Brown: But what about sitting? 

Hanh Brown: Well, according to experts, sitting is the new smoking. Like smoking, it can have a negative impact on your health. 

Hanh Brown: Studies have linked extended periods of sitting with an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. 

Hanh Brown: Sitting for long periods of time can also lead to back and neck pain. In fact, some researchers believe that the negative health effects of sitting are so significant that they may even outweigh the dangers of smoking. So, what can we do to reduce the risk associated with sitting? 

Hanh Brown: Well, for starters, we can stand up. 

Hanh Brown: For many seniors, the latter third of life can be a time of great uncertainty. 

Hanh Brown: With retirement often marking the end of a career and declining health making it difficult to remain active, it can be easy to feel life has lost its purpose. Many people retire from their careers and find themselves with more time than they know what to do with it. 

Hanh Brown: Others may no longer have the same hobbies or interests that they once did. 

Hanh Brown: Research has shown that having a sense of purpose can greatly improve your health and wellbeing, no matter your age. 

Hanh Brown: There are many ways for seniors to achieve a longer lifespan, and finding purpose is often central to this goal. So, my guest today is Chuck Gaidica. He is a familiar face in Detroit, where he has worked as a TV anchor and host for over thirty years. Chuck is one of the most trusted figures in Michigan. 

Hanh Brown: He’s also won multiple Emmy Awards and the prestigious Silver Circle Award for Broadcast Excellence. 

Hanh Brown: Chuck has a mission. He wants to help people enjoy the second half of life. 

Hanh Brown: He’s also the author and a bonus coach, encouraging people to build and maintain their health, wealth, strength, and relationships. 

Hanh Brown: He believes it’s never too late to be who God intended you to be. So Chuck, welcome to the show, it’s good to be with you. 
Chuck Gaidica: Nice to see you, Hanh. Yeah, thank you. I am honored. 

Hanh Brown: I should point out the irony here is that I’m sitting, I think you’re sitting too, so I’m going to make a note to move in a minute so we’re not contradicting our topic. 

Hanh Brown: Could you please share with us something personal or professional about yourself that maybe some people may not know? 
Chuck Gaidica: Yeah, you know, I left the television news and broadcasting when I was in my mid to late fifties and I went on a journey. That journey included what I would call my second half. I don’t think the math works out that I’d have another half, you know, coming along, but it resonates really well.

Chuck Gaidica:And it’s been good for me. I went through a program at the Half Time Institute, which is based in Dallas, but I went to the program in Malibu, California. I ended up with a certificate in second-half significance. 

Chuck Gaidica: Which is intriguing. I was coached and I have coached others. I’m not in a professional sense for money, but I find it a joy to walk alongside people, that’s part of my journey. And just last year, I became a Mayo Clinic trained wellness coach. It’s a great adventure. For me, I’m kind of a health nut. 

Chuck Gaidica: So if nothing else, it’s going to underscore that part of the information structure for my brain, the growth, you know? 

Hanh Brown: Well, thank you and congratulations. You’ve got a fan here. I’ve been in Michigan over forty years and I watched you on television. I’m a fan. 

Hanh Brown: So, what do you think are the benefits of having a longer lifespan? 

Chuck Gaidica: Yeah, I think that’s a word that not everybody is hearing yet. We’ve always heard the word lifespan. We’re always trying to expand our lifespan, and I think it comes back to the other question: what’s your why? I have a picture frame here with all of our kids and grandkids’ pictures cycling through there. That’s my why, my wife, kids, grandkids. 

Chuck Gaidica: My why is I want to extend my lifespan. But now, I think all of us, regardless of age, need to consider how do we get our healthspan to catch up to our lifespan so that, I guess Betty White would be a good example. Until the last two weeks of her life or so, she had major health crises issues and she almost made it to one hundred. 

Chuck Gaidica: I look at her and I admire her for her entire career and for so many great reasons, and I just thought to myself, “Wow, isn’t that a new goal now? We want to go as long as we can, meaning lifespan, but we also want our healthspan to catch up so we don’t have ten or fifteen crummy years, you know, before we get to the end of the road.” I think that’s what we’re shooting for now. To get those two things, healthspan to equal lifespan. Absolutely, yeah.

Hanh Brown: Live longer, but also increase quality as well, yeah, right.

Chuck Gaidica: And I’m going to go back to the situation that I can relate to, you know, for the folks like myself. And I know you share a similar story with folks with dementia. Yeah, it’s a long decline and I hate that word, but it’s just the opposite of what you and I are talking about. They’re still living, but it’s not the best quality. 

Chuck Gaidica: And I think I meet a lot of people who are really hyper-focused on their brain health with good reason, but there are so many simple things we should look at so that we, as we age, you know, my mom had Alzheimer’s by diagnoses, my father-in-law passed with dementia, so it’s a real thing. I work with the Alzheimer’s Association as a volunteer and so I know a lot of the statistics, but you know movement is key.

Chuck Gaidica: Getting up and moving is a critical part of this role. I think it’s a good way to always look after our brain health, because it might sound kind of wild. We’ve always thought about cardio, going for a bike ride, going for walks, taking ten thousand steps and all the stuff we think about. Like taking the stairs. All that is going to help your brain as you age and that can increase your health span. So, these little micro or baby steps we can employ can have some of the greatest impact. It’s not heavy lifting, really.

Hanh Brown: One of the reasons why I love talking to folks like yourself is because I feel like I’m learning. It’s enough for me to open my mind and listen. We haven’t met, so it’s almost like an opportunity to learn from someone like yourself, who has thirty or forty plus years in broadcasting, is also a wellness coach, but also living the life and implementing your knowledge. So, I think that’s awesome. Now, how do you think we can achieve longevity and health?

Chuck Gaidica: So, if we start thinking about some of the big things we’ve heard about a lot during COVID and even before that, like employing gratitude and slowing down our life. How many of us have had the time to think deeply, pray, connect horizontally with people, not only during the pandemic but also vertically with God, and think about faith? There’s so much here, so many different circles. This idea of sitting has become a thing, and it’s not just because of COVID, and it’s not just because of working from home. This started with streaming. But this idea, this question that you raised about sitting being the new smoking, I think this is one of the things we have to think about. It’s not really as bad as smoking, by the way. All the studies show it’s bad, but it illustrates well when you say that to try to get people’s attention right away.

Chuck Gaidica: Honest to goodness, we need to move more. We used to move more. Our parents and grandparents did, and all of a sudden, we’re not doing that. It’s a complicated mix in a way. But you said something before we started, off-mic for your broadcast, which was trying to find these different pearls in life. The Japanese have coined the phrase “Ikigai” which means finding your joy, finding your happiness. Well, that sounds kind of easy and not everybody I meet every day is joyful, frankly.

Hanh Brown: I agree with you. I’m dealing personally with family members who have gone through loss. In the midst of loss, how do you find joy and gratitude? It’s very necessary. Everybody has their unique journey in dealing with that, but ultimately, to live a flourishing and abundant life, you’ve got to find a place where you can appreciate even loss, which is tough. We’re talking about baby boomers and beyond who have gone through a lot. Whether it’s loss and decline of mobility, loss of a spouse, or a job, at some point, you find yourself alone. So, what would you do with an extra ten, twenty, or thirty years of healthy living?

Chuck Gaidica: You know, that’s a great question because I’m going for it. I think for me, this journey of finding purpose is a key ingredient to a lot of this. Whether you’re going into retirement, thinking about it, or you’re retired, or maybe you’re half of our age and you’re

 not quite there, the world has shifted for even my kids, your kids, everybody’s kids, and our grandkids. What are you gonna do? I’ll take myself back and maybe you can relate to this, Hanh. When I was about ten, my favorite uncle, who lived upstairs in inner city Chicago, passed away suddenly from a cerebral hemorrhage, from a stroke. And he was only thirty-nine years old. This was my buddy who took me to James Bond movies and had snowball fights with me. He was my uncle that I related to him, and after that passing, I remember going outside and wondering why am I here? Is there a God? What am I gonna do when I grow up? Who will I marry? All those questions.

Chuck Gaidica: Now, fast forward to being forty years old, fifty years old, sixty, even ninety. You start asking similar questions. Why am I here? Is this all there is? Maybe not so much, do I believe in God, but maybe you do now. Who will I marry next? That’s more of a commentary on society than anything else, but you’re asking similar gargantuan questions. It’s almost as if you went back to your childhood. From the people that I learn from and the people I’ve been able to walk alongside, I find joy in that because I hear them saying that they’re finding purpose in multiple different ways. There’s no one secret sauce. But I have a quote that I want to make sure I get right. A cousin of my son-in-law’s grandfather told her, “Find something to care about and give a damn.” And I find that to be so intriguing. What do you care about deep down?

Hanh Brown: Wow, I love that. I am in a similar phase. I think we’re all at some point in life, whether in your thirties, forties, or fifties. You ask these questions about what you would do in life for free, what you care about, what do you give a damn about. It’s really good to check in with yourself, even in your twenties or thirties, because it brings out your long-term thinking and your purpose on this earth.

Hanh Brown: I think it’s wonderful. Losing a sense of purpose can be a debilitating experience. It can bring about feelings of depression and worthlessness as well as loss of motivation. What are some common reasons you think people lose their sense of purpose?

Chuck Gaidica: I’ll tell you what I see around me, and so this will be anecdotal, but I think the research would support it. Some people could experience it due to the loss of a spouse. I think also the loss of your career or a job. It took me a while, I’ve been away from full-time work, although I went back and I’m still doing things that you would consider broadcasting. We don’t need a TV station, I love them all, but we can do what you’re doing.

Chuck Gaidica: I think a huge one that I see for men and women is this identity crisis. I used to be somebody who did something and it doesn’t have to be big. Some people I’ve met ran companies or divisions, had five hundred people answer to me, and I ran multi-million dollar budgets and now I’m just A.

Hanh Brown: And I used to be a garbage man, and now I’m just A. I used to be a doctor, I mean, when you get to Florida, and I’m only here for part of the year, you know, one of the first questions people ask is, what did you use to do? It’s like talking to the village people, everybody’s got a different past, and I’m just A. 

Chuck Gaidica: Detaching from who you were and getting that could caboose to detach healthfully can take time and so I want to encourage anybody going through that that’s even young people there were something yesterday and they’re have become something tomorrow with a new job.

Chuck Gaidica: It takes a minute to detach from that old identity healthily and trust me it’ll happen and you can do it healthfully, but if it’s not helpful, and you’re not talking it out with friends, getting your own little a kitchen cabinet, you know. No one would run for the U.S. Senator or President or any office if they didn’t have a little group of people, maybe your spouse.

Chuck Gaidica: Maybe your friends, maybe your pastor, your priest, a rabbi whatever it is.

Chuck Gaidica: You talk to those people, where you can speak truth, and they can say, oh yeah, I relate to that or, that’s a dumb idea. You need people like that.

Chuck Gaidica: And so, I think detaching from who you were to who you want to become is a place where I see people get stuck.

Chuck Gaidica: And I think it’s unfortunate because it’s just a matter of time and I think patience is part of this process of reinvention. The word ‘reinvention’ is so chill, you know, the word ‘used to’ implies that it was a window of your life behind you.

Chuck Gaidica: It’s close and at least that’s my thinking when I hear the word ‘used to’.

Chuck Gaidica: And it’s very heavy and in a negative way, but why not look at it as this is the window or the milestone that I was in and I’m going to take that and I’m going to continue to flourish or use those skills and learnings to be impactful?

Hanh Brown: You know, it’s an attitude change, but I’m with you.

Hanh Brown: With the word ‘used to’ because I think, as you know, when we have adult children, people going to empty nesters and so forth, you attach yourself a lot with your kids’ upbringing, right?

Chuck Gaidica: With all the activities and during that window of time, your friends are likely to be their kid’s parents, and then after that, you know, life diverges. Kids have gone off to college, going off to school and work.

Hanh Brown: Now.

Hanh Brown: Trying to find purpose and…

Hanh Brown: …looking in terms of what you used to be.

Hanh Brown: I think that’s so important, and again, that takes an attitude, a paradigm shift.

Chuck Gaidica: There doesn’t it? It takes time, it really does, because it takes time for you to think, “Well, what do I want to be now?” And that’s not easy. You said something a few minutes ago about knowing thyself in essence, and I’ve done these tests. I did them in the corporate world, and I did them as part of going through the halftime experience. Whether it’s the Myers-Briggs, whether it’s the strengths finder from Gallup, spiritual gifting… For some people, tests are something they think is a bunch of baloney. But I think to know how you’re wired, whether it’s your own blood test about your cholesterol, you know internally or whether you start to find one of those ways to discern what, how am I wired?

Chuck Gaidica: If I were going to reinvent myself, where would I go? What direction do I want to push myself to? Do I want to discover something new or maybe I want to discover through a test, and frankly I think some of them are good, strength finder included. Where are my strengths? Because that can let you know that you know that you know, “Hey, I’m not an admin guy. I’ll admit that. You remember? I’m kind of a dreamer, and I like to visualize. I think the visual, I know that, so I know that one of my strengths. Don’t put me in a bookkeeping office, even as a volunteer for charity. Yeah, I’ll flame out. I get so bored. So, I think knowing a little bit about how you’re wired can help you move from what you used to be, to who you can become.

Hanh Brown: Yeah, yeah, that brings me to the next question. Maybe you can provide some advice for people that feel like they’ve already accomplished so much in their previous life or career-driven life.

Hanh Brown: And what now? What can I do that’s more or be more purposeful than what I was before when my impact was so big? So, do you think our purpose has to be huge? How do we help people find meaning when they feel like what they’ve done in their life is so big already?

Chuck Gaidica: A part of it is to detach from the idea that everything you have to do is big. I used to run General Motors and now what? You mean I’m just going to sweep the floor for kids? I think that is a place where people can get stuck. But I, like you, believe that it’s in the big and small things that we can have a high impact in life. 

Chuck Gaidica: Let’s all go through the Halftime Institute. There’s a book, ‘Halftime: Moving Your Life from Success to Significance’ written by Bob Buford, who sadly has passed now. One of the things he talks about in there is the model of asking ourselves the question when we’re looking to give back to the world. Should you join something, stay where you are, or start something new?

Chuck Gaidica: For some people, when you say “start a new thing,” their eyes roll back in their head. They say, “I’m not an entrepreneur. I don’t know how to do a podcast like Hanh. I don’t want to start something new.” Maybe you are wired to go join something. If you want to help people give blood, why would you start another American Red Cross? Just go join one and maybe you should go once or twice to make sure you don’t pass out from seeing people give blood. And Bob Buford would call that ‘small cause probes.’

Chuck Gaidica: So, do you join something, start something, or just stay where you are? Bloom where you’re planted and affect the world and the people around you. And if you are going to make a change, maybe you should dip your toe in the water a few times to make sure you really like working at the zoo, for instance. I’m just making stuff up because maybe you won’t, but that’s okay. You didn’t change your whole life to go do it and give up money, but you found something new and you tested it out. And I kind of like that approach to kind of just go try things out.

Hanh Brown: Yeah, I think it’s important. I think that’s one of the blessings that comes with the later part of life is that you need time to explore and identify who you are. Am I someone that follows or leads? Or is there a way to see where I’m at? So, it’s a blessing to have time to consider those options.

Chuck Gaidica: Yeah, you know what else is a blessing? You just used the word “time.” If you think of the word “capability”, I think there are really only two major things that fall into that category, as we’re looking to reinvent life at whatever age: it’s money and time. We can make more money, we know that, we can lose it because we all have, but we cannot gain more time.

Chuck Gaidica: So, as you start thinking about your life and reinventing it, and in this idea that if God gives me 25 more years of life, what am I going to do with those? It’s limited. It doesn’t make me think in a morbid sense about it, but it does make me want to get going. It helps motivate me to think that time is limited.

Chuck Gaidica: I don’t want to get stressed about that, but what can I do? So, I think having time and certainly as you retire or if you’re headed for that and you’re fortunate enough to have money in your pocket, whatever that means, you have some freedom. You can now think about what would I do for free the rest of my life. It doesn’t have to be for free. I encourage you to make money if you want to. It’s just the capacity of time and money. If you’ve got both of those things in your favor, even to a limited extent, your options are so great.

Hanh Brown: Yeah, what a blessing! So, let’s round it up. So now, are passion and purpose similar? And what are some methods for finding passion after 50?

Chuck Gaidica: Well, you know, I think those words have been interchanged a whole lot. You can have a passion to do something, but your purpose can be different. This is actually something that I pray about because I thought coming out of broadcasting that I have to broadcast to have a high impact. I have just as much joy helping take down tables at an event as I do with broadcasting. So, I think finding purpose doesn’t have to be a passion. I have a passion for being a broadcaster, but that’s not because I need to be recognized or have an ego associated with it. It’s…

Chuck Gaidica: If I like it, it’s been my career, but I think finding my purpose can be different. Sometimes you need to push yourself, like, I’m not a public speaker. My wife would say that – she’s left now for the morning, but she would be the first to tell you that if you want to hand somebody a microphone, give it to my husband, but do not ask me to speak in front of a crowd. She does not consider that her purpose. I’ve encouraged her to push herself into that realm, and once she’s there, she’s great.

Chuck Gaidica: But I think that’s something we need to think about – your passions may be a little different than your purpose, but those words are being interchanged a whole lot, and I think for most of us that may be okay, to think of them in a little different way, because it can be a bit confusing.

Hanh Brown: For me, I feel like purpose has a divine touch to it.

Chuck Gaidica: I agree. A passion is something you enjoy doing, and it doesn’t necessarily have a divine touch – that is your God-given sense in life. I would agree with that.

Chuck Gaidica: There are another two words that our culture has conflated – joy and happiness. Finding joy is not always easy. Finding happiness is a little easier because I’m happy I’m with you; I actually enjoy talking with you, so there’s a little greater depth to happiness. 

Chuck Gaidica: I think happiness is a little lower on the scale than joy. Joy is an extended period of happiness. I can find happiness just by going outside and walking with the dog, but maybe finding joy is something more profound. So, I look at purpose in the same way. It’s God-given, it’s never too late to be what God wanted you to be. I didn’t invent that phrase, but I think it’s true. I’ve met guys in their eighties that are saying, “I’m reinventing right now.” It’s like, “Wow, what an inspiration to me.”

Hanh Brown: Is it possible to have multiple passions in life?

Chuck Gaidica: Sure. In fact, I think many of us do. I’ll make an admission to you – I struggle because my heart breaks for so many things. That’s a test that I use. Does my heart break for something? Then I can get in the deep end of the pool with you, I may give money to it, and because I have so many passions, my heart breaks for baby boomers and how we’re all navigating the world, my heart breaks for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, my heart breaks for child issues. 

Chuck Gaidica: So, I have so many different kinds of passions that sometimes, for me, and maybe for others who are watching this or listening, it’s a similar thing. I actually pray about that a lot, like, “God, just narrow this down, run it all through the funnel, would you, and then let me know what’s happening on Tuesday.”

Hanh Brown: And I go back to what a blessing it is to have lived long enough and to have acquired the wisdom to really reflect on the distinction between passion and purpose, which is something you may not really pause and think about in your thirties. That’s one of the benefits of aging.

Chuck Gaidica: I hope you’re right. We hope and pray that we get that extra thirty years to figure it out.

Hanh Brown: So, let’s say you have multiple passions. For people that are very purposeful, how do you balance leisure time when you’re finding a passion?

Chuck Gaidica: For me, in my career, I can use that as an example. I had a hard time saying no for many years. I think learning to say no is one of the best things we can do in life. 

Chuck Gaidica: It’s not because we need to be mean or big, it comes back to capacity. I only have so much time and my heart breaks for a lot of things. Because I was in TV and radio, part of the job was that if I got a request to do something, MC an event, be part of it, I would say yes, because from a business standpoint, it made sense for me to be in those places.

Chuck Gaidica: Leaving that business, I had to somehow sit back and say, “Do I really need to do everything that people are asking me to do?” The answer was no. Understanding your capacity, that you only have limited time, will influence your leisure time and your mental health. 

Chuck Gaidica: In the business world, you may know there’s a phrase used – opportunity cost. What would it cost me if you would have said to me, “Chuck, you need to be sitting next to me live to do this video chat and podcast”? I would say, “Sadly, I’m not available. I am available this way, but I don’t have the opportunity and time.”

Chuck Gaidica: I think saying no to things is powerful because then when you do say, “I don’t have enough leisure time,” well, you do. You just didn’t say no to enough things. I know we can’t say no to everything, like taking care of a loved one as a caregiver. There are things in the world that demand our time, but saying no in a polite way, “Sadly, I’m not available,” that’s been a powerful thing for me in my later life.

Hanh Brown: Yes, it’s very true. And, you know, saying ‘no’ does not necessarily mean that you’re being mean or dismissive. It’s actually being respectful to the recipient, because perhaps you might not be able to deliver to your fullest potential if you were to say yes. There might be regrets or an inability to fully deliver what they asked you to do. So, I think using the word ‘no’ is being respectful to both parties – to yourself and to the recipient. I agree. 

Hanh Brown: Now, there are many seniors who find themselves struggling to find purpose in life after retirement. Like you said earlier, their sense of identity was tied to their job, and they no longer know who they are without it. They feel like they no longer have anything to contribute to society and that their best years are behind them. Of course, this leads to feelings of depression and isolation. 

Hanh Brown: We’ve talked about ways that baby boomers or our generation can find their purpose. But what about folks who are really struggling or battling depression and so forth? What advice would you give to someone who is struggling to find their purpose? 

Chuck Gaidica: Well, I think if you’re struggling to the point where it’s a crippling thing, where depression is different than just not having a joyful day, you need to seek some help. That would be the first thing. And then, if we get beyond that and find professional help, I’m encouraged by the people that I’ve seen that seem to get unstuck. 

Chuck Gaidica: Steve Harvey wrote a book called “Jump,” and it’s an extension of a video that’s been posted online, where he was referring, during a commercial break of Family Feud, to someone asking what they should do with their life or career. Harvey said, “Just jump, just try it out.” 

Chuck Gaidica: I just tried a five-week, six-week-long course, and one of the guys, who is older and has lost his wife in the past year, said, “I’m volunteering, serving the homeless in this inner-city context,” and I thought, you know, he and I encouraged him, I said, “You need to share that with all the people in this room because there may be one or two who would say ‘I’ve never really thought of it. I’m a little afraid of it. I don’t know how to do it, but if I went with you, I think I’d be okay.’ Jump. Just find some way to latch on to go with, and I think that can lead them to you.”

Chuck Gaidica: And now you’re influencing others. That may be your purpose, and you didn’t know it was coming. So, I would encourage people to not be stuck. But how do you get unstuck if you don’t start something? You can’t begin. Jump, go for it, just push yourself and be a little uncomfortable, maybe. 

Hanh Brown: Sure, and I think some things that we’re talking about are actually going back to some of the simplicity of life. And you’re taking action.

Chuck Gaidica: Yeah, yeah, it is. I was helpful in putting together a baby boomer conference at a church I was on staff at for a while when I left television news, and it was called “Boomer University: Dream Again.”
Chuck Gaidica: There’s a pastor named Mark Batterson out of Washington DC National Community Church. I’ve read several of his books. He has a place where people get stuck too; they’re afraid to dream big dreams. And Batterson goes on to say, “Why would you take a piece of paper, why would you take this piece of white paper and not present it to God with your big dream? Why would you rip off a little tiny piece of it? And present that to Him? Take the whole dream to Him; He’s a big guy, don’t worry about it. He’ll figure it out.” 

Chuck Gaidica: But when you get older, maybe you stop dreaming. I encourage everybody to dream again. Just think big, don’t be afraid of it. 

Hanh Brown: Yeah.

Chuck Gaidica: Well, until it gets answered, right?

Chuck Gaidica: Maybe you need to put some skill into the game, but yeah, you’re right, yeah, that’s true. Or, it will let’s talk about sedentary lifestyles, with the phrase “sitting is the new smoking” being thrown around a lot nowadays.

Hanh Brown: Right, so we’ve discussed some of the dangers, but what are your thoughts on the dangers of sitting too much?

Chuck Gaidica: So, we’re all doing it, we know we are. It’s changed profoundly with streaming; now we’re going to watch the entire thing when it drops in eight episodes. We’re not just going to wait week by week, you know?

Chuck Gaidica: It has been particularly profound during the pandemic, so we’re now seeing research. Mayo Clinic has done their own studies; a lot of people have done studies. It’s not as deadly as smoking, necessarily, because smoking is still quite a bit more deadly, but the notion that you’re sitting and being passive…

Chuck Gaidica: It is something that’s really tough. And I think that one of the things that I look at and one of the things I would encourage everybody to think about. If you’re going to say to me you’re going on a diet, or as lifestyle changes are now called, and you’re going to lose fifty pounds in a month, I’m going to tell you that’s not a smart goal. That’s an acronym and the ‘A’ in SMART is achievable, it’s not really going to do it, so why set yourself up for failure? And I think with sitting, the acronym that comes to mind is NEAT, which I always think of it as non-essential…

Chuck Gaidica: All activity, but it’s not essential activity, meaning we may go work out in the gym, I pick things up, and I put them down, you know, work out my muscles or I’m going to go do ten thousand steps. That’s purposeful, that’s exercise, high-intensity interval training, right? I’m going to get crazy and do stuff for half an hour.

Chuck Gaidica: Non-essential exercise or the actual phrase is non-exercise activity thermogenesis. That’s where they get NEAT from. Just think of it as not essential. Right now, if I were not visually occupied, I could be walking around my house or outside with a headset. I could be talking to you just fine, and I used to interview former talk show host Oprah Winfrey every once in a while for Weight Watchers. She was on a treadmill every time I talked to her. This goes way back before somebody came up with the acronym NEAT.

Chuck Gaidica: So what NEAT means is it’s a micro-goal. It’s easy, it doesn’t hurt your knees, necessarily, and cause you grief by lifting weights and breaking blood vessels in your eyes. It means when you have a chance, get up and move. 

Chuck Gaidica: You know, every thirty minutes get up from your desk and move on. Maybe when you go on a cruise, you take the stairs all the time instead of taking the elevator. That gives you a chance to have the tiramisu after dinner, and by the way, you’re moving and you got your thirteen thousand steps in. What can you do throughout your day?

Chuck Gaidica: Who, even while you’re binge watching, maybe that’s the time you should be lifting weights on the floor instead of just sitting there watching, and when you’re sitting what do you have to do if you’re not moving, you probably have to get the popcorn or something, right? So, I really am encouraged that there is a lot we can do because cardio…

Chuck Gaidica: From a cardiovascular standpoint: Heart health equals brain health, you’re influencing every part of your body when you’re moving, and so that’s where this is coming from – sitting is the new smoking. We gotta move, we have to move. Yeah, and you know, just like you said, that movement can be day to day.

Hanh Brown: The micro steps. It doesn’t have to be that you gotta go to the gym, and you gotta prepare for a marathon or anything like that. It’s day-to-day, micro, achievable…

Hanh Brown: Goals to give you a sense of achievement, right? And I think that will lead you even further to increase those micro to be a little farther goals that you can achieve. So, that’s great. So let’s say, you know, we live in a fast-paced world and it’s difficult to find time to take care of our health.

Hanh Brown: People put exercise on the back burner, telling themselves they will start tomorrow or next week. Do you think exercise is a way to take control of your life and your health even if hereditary factors are stacked against you?

Chuck Gaidica: Well, you know, this whole idea of micro goals is important. Micro influencing is important. And you know what else I hear people say, “Well, this is my genetics”. Well, there’s a huge amount of study on epigenetics, which is basically micro genetics, the little light switches we can flip on in our own body if we just start…

Chuck Gaidica: Practicing some of these lifestyle changes like eating healthier, moving, exercising. So in this pandemic, I know, look at what happened with the sales of Peloton and everything else, you know, they’ve peaked and maybe come down down the other side of the hill, but reality is getting out and moving, getting out in nature, getting out…

Chuck Gaidica: And getting sunshine to create a little vitamin D factory in your body so you can get through a Michigan winter because the clouds come in November and don’t leave until May first, you know.

Chuck Gaidica: Exercise does not have to be attached to the sole goal of losing weight, although that’s an awesome goal, you should do it and all these things, including the little switches in your body, can be flipped if you do lose weight. Less diabetes, less hypertension. It’s these little stuff that we can do as long as we do it all the time.

Chuck Gaidica: Cut back on some calories all the time. And wow, don’t think you’re gonna lose all this weight in a month. But look back at eight months. Somebody said to me, “Oh, I lost two pounds a week, and I got discouraged”.

Chuck Gaidica: Not really, at the end of the year I’ll give you two weeks for Christmas and the holidays, at the end of the year, that I mean, you would have lost a hundred pounds if you stuck with it, right? I mean, it doesn’t have to be a big step, so I think exercise is important and let’s face it, we don’t get it like our parents and grandparents did.

Chuck Gaidica: When I was a kid, and you know, back when I was a kid…

Chuck Gaidica: I used to mow the lawn with a push mower and change the channel for my dad, probably wasn’t good for his health, right, but he did make it to eighty five. 

Chuck Gaidica: We used to move a lot more. My grandmother went shopping for groceries with the grocery cart. I helped her pull it home, we would do stuff like that, and I mean, if there’s not a curb, pretty soon we’ll just have cars and pick it up, and we know we just have stuff delivered to the door. Will not even have to move, right?

Hanh Brown: That’s bad. And you know, in my personal opinion, don’t let that number of pounds to be your driving factor. Rather, try to aim for a lifestyle, long quality of life. I don’t even like to think of the word “diet” for me, I like to remove the word “diet”.

Hanh Brown: I’d like to think of it as lifestyle choices because a diet, to me, implies there’s a window of time. I’m going on a diet for a month or a year. But a lifestyle, that’s your whole lifespan. So again, it’s those little micro choices in your day to day…

Hanh Brown: Goals for yourself that you want to hope to achieve, which will inspire you to stay on course and not be demotivated if you only lose whatever that number is that you know, that will cause you to feel discouraged and so forth. So yeah, you use the word obtain…

Hanh Brown: Will make the denial hold, you know, and then you get some wins. Everybody loves to win, and if you’ve gotten several wins in a row there is joy, it’s pretty easy. Yeah, now I know we’ve touched on this, but like, why do you think people are very quick to give up when it comes to getting in shape?

Chuck Gaidica: Well, you know, I’ve had a lifelong struggle. I think I was born weighing a hundred and fifty, you know, I just have had struggled my whole life. Part of it is probably genetics…

Chuck Gaidica: But I think we give up because it’s easier. I had a friend who’s a doctor say to me once, not relative to my own health or weight, but he said, “You know, I was talking about somebody who was trying to lose weight and he said they need to understand it may be the hardest battle of their life”. I don’t think a lot of us want to tackle that.

Chuck Gaidica: We see what’s happening in Europe right now, I don’t think we think too much about tackling our weight, your lifestyle and thinking it’ll be a joy when we fail. Or well, we did two steps forward, one step back, and we lost two and then we gained one and you don’t think of the endgame and so I just want…

Chuck Gaidica: To encourage everybody, it can work. And I’ve actually, because I like to know myself through tests, you already heard that.

Chuck Gaidica: This friend of mine who’s a metabolic specialist helped me get on a lifestyle change, a diet.

Chuck Gaidica: And I started employing a more plant-based diet, more oatmeal, more berries, all that’s right.

Chuck Gaidica: Within the soil, yeah, yeah, within six months I had the same blood panel as I had before and let me tell you I did not have issues. I didn’t have hypertension, I didn’t have diabetes. Every single category in six months went down and when he called me because he peeked at my chart…

Chuck Gaidica: He starts rattling off percentages. Your chances dropped this much, dropped twenty percent, your chance of heart attack years went down this much. This was in six months, mind you, and again I wasn’t broken, but it showed me that in a six-month period of time and I did lose weight, to be fair, I thought, “Wow, I proved it to myself”. 

Chuck Gaidica: I proved it to myself, I even said to him jokingly, I said I should be the poster child for this because it worked and I just want to encourage everybody, it can work, it really can if you stick with something.

Hanh Brown: Yeah, absolutely, and you know, also how you value yourself, right?

Hanh Brown: I think that’s another motivating factor. You know, I’m thinking, “I can be impactful”, and they’re all intertwined: purpose, passion, value.

Hanh Brown: Attitude. They’re all intertwined. And I use the phrase, and I didn’t mean this to be disparaging. There’s another book that I’ve read that talks about terminal thinking. I’ll think of the author in a minute.

Chuck Gaidica: Don’t think of yourself with a negative self-image. You know, how you think of yourself is critical for a lot of us. There’s the imposter syndrome. How could I possibly be a guest on Hanh’s show because I’m not worthy. That thought can go through your mind.

Chuck Gaidica: Self-image, we think of it for girls and women, but it happens for men too.

Chuck Gaidica: And then this idea of, “I’m just a…”. How do I move my life from success to significance if I’ve never had real success? I’m just a line worker, that’s what I retired from.

Chuck Gaidica: I want to encourage everybody. In God’s eyes, there’s no “just a”. There is not. I was just a… you don’t have to be an astronaut or a president or a beauty queen for God to look at you and say you have value as a human person. So I think if we start there and say, you know, I wasn’t a mine worker, I was this, I was that…

Chuck Gaidica: I can still do great things in my life to help other people and leverage my skills and gifts. It doesn’t matter. I was just a… I don’t ever think of yourself that way.

Hanh Brown: Amen to that. Wow, thank you, thank you so much. I am honored to have you here.

Hanh Brown: And is there anything else that you would like to add?

Chuck Gaidica: You know, I just want to be an encourager. That actually shows up as one of my strengths, and I’m so appreciative that it does, and it tells me the test isn’t completely phony, right?

Chuck Gaidica: I love walking with people and trying to encourage them. And it’s not because I’m so great at anything, it’s just that I’ve been through some things in life. You know, when you’ve had forty-two years, almost, of marriage and five kids, and four grandkids, and dogs, and guinea pigs, and snakes, and a career, and you’re trying to juggle all that…

Chuck Gaidica: You know, you learn a few things, and you step in a few puddles and piles along the way. It’s okay. It’ll all work out. Just be encouraged. That’s all I can say.

Hanh Brown: Thank you so much. I love your wisdom, and what an honor to have you here to share with this audience. And I think everything that you’re talking about certainly resonates with the baby boomers, or young baby boomers like myself, and anyone listening, whether in your twenties or thirties or forties. Take it to heart. It’s all applicable, down to the ground.

Hanh Brown: It’s good to be you. And in the upcoming weeks, we’ll be talking about baby boomers and how they’re changing the landscape of social impact investing. The baby boomer generation is widely considered to be one of the most influential cohorts in American history, and as this generation enters its retirement years…

Hanh Brown: Its members are increasingly turning their attention to social impact, entrepreneurship, and investing. So why are they, the boomers, turning to social impact, entrepreneurship, and investment? Well, baby boomers have a strong desire to make a positive difference in the world. They see social entrepreneurship and impact investing as a way to do that. Baby boomers are often looking for opportunities to use their skills and experience to make a difference too.

Hanh Brown: And also, baby boomers have the financial resources to make significant investments in social enterprises. So please tune in next week and subscribe to our podcast, “Boomer Living” broadcasts and our YouTube channel, “Aged and Media Shelf”. And thank you so much for joining us today.

Hanh Brown: Thank you for listening to another episode of “The Boomer Living” broadcast. I know you have a lot of options when it comes to podcasts and I’m grateful that you’ve chosen this one. Please share this podcast with your friends and family. Write a review on iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play. It helps others discover the show.

Hanh Brown: You can also contact us at 736-350-6842 to leave a review and request content for the show. We love hearing from our listeners. Check out our TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube Channel, “Aged and Media Shelf”, and subscribe to weekly tips on how to best serve the senior population. We want to help them have a great experience as they age. Thanks for tuning in until next time.

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