Keep strong, no matter how many candles are on your cake

Turn on the TV, and if your favorite show bothers to have any older folks at all, you can pretty much predict how they'll be depicted.

They're always sitting and staring out of a window.

C'mon. Is that REALLY what they think seniors do all day?

It's time to take that window, open it up, and toss that ugly old stereotype right out -- because growing older DOESN'T mean getting weaker.

And it certainly doesn't mean sitting and staring!

New research shows some of the steps you can take right now to stay vibrant, strong, and active no matter how many calendar pages you've ripped off.

The first step is to take action ASAP.

The study of older men finds that if you're getting weaker already, there's a good chance it's only going to get worse -- especially if you're starting to struggle with day-to-day activities.

No kidding, right?

That should be obvious, but it's not obvious enough -- because too many folks ignore those critical early warning signs.

Instead of trying to figure out what's wrong, they think they can "tough it out."

Ironically, that "tough guy" act could cause you to get weaker even faster. Take action early, and you'll have a better shot at stopping and reversing frailty.

The second step is to recognize the possible causes of this condition.

There's no single trigger, but it's often some combination of injury, being sedentary, taking medication, and even struggling with chronic disease (especially if it's an undiagnosed and untreated disease -- and if you've been avoiding the doctor, yes, I'm talking to you).

Step three is to take care of your legs, as the study finds that strength in your legs is a key marker of your risk. One of the best ways to keep those legs in shape is by going for a 30-minute walk each day.

You can do that, right?

And for step four, keep an eye on the rest of your health, too, because the two are closely linked.

If you let yourself go a little -- if you've gained some weight and are facing conditions such as diabetes and heart disease -- you're also at risk of frailty.

There's one easy way to take care of just about all those steps at once and cut your risk of frailty, and that's to switch to the Mediterranean lifestyle you've read so much about here in House Calls.

One study over the summer found that this healthy and delicious back-to-basics diet can cut your risk of frailty by two-thirds!

When you consider that this diet can also cut the risk of nearly every other disease of aging -- including heart disease, cancer, and even dementia -- there's no reason not to get started today.