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Guinness Records' oldest living man still enjoys good health after 113 years

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Walter Breuning discusses what he's learned in 113 years of living.

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By Josh Tapper
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Guinness World Records calls Walter Breuning the world's oldest living man.

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A resident of the Rainbow Retirement Community in Great Falls, Mont., for 30 years, Breuning swears by a simple regimen: exercise, eat (but only two meals per day, plus one baby aspirin), work, repeat.

Of course, at 113, Breuning doesn't work much these days. He performs light, upper-body calisthenics for 10 minutes each morning, listens to radio news (his deteriorating eyesight prevents him from reading), entertains a continuous stream of visitors and retires by 8 p.m. Despite some wear and tear, Breuning, who uses a walker, has a clean bill of health.

"The way I feel, I'll be here a long time yet," he says.

Breuning maintains an unequivocally rosy outlook on life. While many adults dread old age, Breuning thinks people ages 19 to 25 are the most troubled; after that, each year marks an improvement.

He began his 50-year career with the Great Northern Railway as a teenager, in 1913. He enlisted for military service during World War I but was never called for duty. By the time World War II flared, he was too old to serve. His wife of 35 years died in 1957.

Last year, researchers from Boston University visited Breuning, extracting blood for a study on genetic markers of long life. Breuning told them they weren't going to find anything revelatory.

His own prescription for healthy aging is following a daily routine. And death doesn't require a second thought.

"You're born to die," he says. "Everybody should know that. There's nothing to be afraid of."

Tapper is a fellow of News21.


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