Health & Wellness Trendsetters are leading the way in helping people live healthier, happier lives by learning how to deal with stress, changing their eating and exercise habits so that they can maintain a healthy weight and keep their bodies moving.
Greg Dobbs is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of BoomerCafé, the original digital magazine for baby boomers with active lifestyles and youthful spirits. The online publication was founded in 1998 by Dobbs and another veteran journalist and friend, David Henderson.
Before founding BoomerCafé, Greg Dobbs had an extremely successful career as a producer and then as longtime correspondent with ABC News. He has traveled all over the world and reported on everything from wars to revolutions. In addition, Greg has conducted in-depth investigations of controversial issues from Agent Orange in Vietnam to assisted suicide.
Through it all, Greg has made his health a priority. In fact, he just returned from a two-week cycling trip in the steep Dolomite Mountains of Italy.
Health & Wellness Trendsetter:
Interview with Greg Dobbs
1. What is your background?
I was born and raised in San Francisco. Wanted to be a pilot but a broken back as a teenager put a quick end to that ambition. Then I was going to be a lawyer, but while attending the University of California at Berkeley in the mid-60s, I was a fascinated observer of the demonstrations and protests connected with the Free Speech Movement. Suddenly my ambition changed yet again and I decided to be a journalist, because I saw journalists on campus day in and day out getting paid for being where I was for nothing and when I asked one of them about the work he did, he told me he always got to go where the action was!
I was lucky and got an internship with a TV newsroom in San Francisco, then (since I hadn’t studied journalism as an undergrad) went to the J-School at Northwestern University near Chicago for a Masters. That led to a summer job with ABC News and that led to a career at ABC that lasted for about 25 years, first as an editor (for the legendary Paul Harvey on ABC Radio), then as a producer for ABC Television news, and in not too long, as a correspondent.
Eventually I tired of airplanes and war zones and resigned, although a few years later I was enticed to go back on the road as senior correspondent (along with Dan Rather) at a fledging all high-definition television network (founded by Mark Cuban) called HDNet, where we did half-hour or hour-long documentary-style programs on topics that were either undercovered or altogether uncovered almost everywhere else. It was a dream job, getting to tell stories in depth (and the assignment included anchoring from the Kennedy Space Center for every one of the final 35 or so Space Shuttle launches).
All told, I covered stories— from wars and revolutions to natural disasters to royal weddings— in more than 80 countries. And along the way, I’m proud to say, I was awarded three Emmys.
2. What inspired/motivated you to stay in shape and age gracefully despite your demanding schedule?
What was my choice? Journalism isn’t exactly “physical” work, but it requires physical stamina, whether climbing a mountain of rubble or dodging bullets in war zones, or pulling all-nighters flying ‘round the world with presidents.
In the earlier days, I’d go out running if I had an hour to spare…although truth be known, running on the icy streets of Valdez in Alaska during the Exxon Valdez oil spill made me think about some other form of fitness!
3. What is most rewarding about the BoomerCafé online magazine?
We get to read stories about baby boomers’ lives. We get to learn of the clever and varied ways boomers are finding new outlets for their creativity or simply making the best of retirement.
4. As a trendsetter, what do you predict will be the next big trend in boomer aging?
I can more competently hope for than actually predict the next big trend. But we are the generation that has led the way toward the phrase “50 is the new 70.” By and large our parents lived by the calendar, and when it said “You are this age now,” they lived the lives they thought they should live at that age. Simply put, boomers don’t. As a generation, we are still doing things we were doing twenty years ago. Maybe not as well, certainly not as fast, but we’re doing them.
5. What tips/advice would you give for someone trying to achieve optimal health?
Don’t live by the calendar. Age is just a number. I know too many people— my contemporaries— who look at the calendar and conclude, “Gosh, I’m too old to do that anymore.” Sure, our bodies sometimes force us to modify our lives (these muscles and organs and limbs have been laboring an awfully long time) and surely they remind us that we’re not as young as we used to be, but that doesn’t mean we have to go cold turkey.
I’m 71 and still ride a bike up long mountain passes in my state of Colorado, and in the wintertime I ski. In fact I work in Vail in the winter as an arm of ski patrol, and joke that when I’m helping someone on the slopes, I keep my helmet on and keep my goggles tight so that the injured skiers don’t realize that the guy helping them is probably twice as old as they are.
6. What is your favorite healthy meal?
As a product of parents for whom meat and potatoes was standard fare, that, frankly, is still my favorite. But thanks to my wife’s healthy influence, there are plenty of vegetables and fruit smoothies in my life!
Funny thing is, my favorite “healthy meal” is a consequence of some very serious surgery, after which I had to consume a lot of iron for many months if I wanted to stay alive. That’s when Kale entered my life, and I have learned to love a good Kale salad, which I make by tediously mincing the kale, then roasting sliced almonds and adding them, and dried cranberries, and liberal portions of parmesan cheese. The dressing is about 4/5 lemon juice and 1/5 olive oil.