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Senior skier reveals secrets 
of the great downhill

By Makoto Kawanabe
Mainichi Shimbun


March 6, 2003

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Mainichi Daily News

Special diets, nutritional supplements and specialized training have all been cited by many as secrets to longevity. But getting too close to 100 is not an easy task for the average person, and staying healthy after more than 90 years is harder still.

This doesn't seem to apply, though, to Keizo Miura, who at 99 still spends the six months from November to May each year skiing overseas and in Japan. Last season he skied for the first time in Canada. Sapporo and Mount Hakkoda, in Aomori Prefecture, were also among his skiing destinations. This year, to celebrate his 99th birthday, Miura made a trip to the Alps' Mont Blanc with four generations of his family, including his 3-year-old great-grandson.

Miura is not new to the sport. He first took an interest in skiing while working at the Aomori forestry bureau. After retiring from the bureau, he continued to pour his efforts into skiing, working as a member of the technical committee for the Ski Association of Japan. His son, Yuichiro, is also known as an international skier.

Miura is of a relatively small build, having a height of only 148 centimeters and weighing 51 kilograms. He says he began training and adapting his diet so he could ski after he turned 50.

But exactly what is it that keeps Miura in shape? No doubt one thing is his nutritious choice of food. His main diet consists of unpolished rice mixed with whole rice, which becomes sweet if it is chewed well. He also eats fish, preparing it in a pressure cooker to make the bony parts soft and edible. To help his body absorb the calcium from the bones, he says he eats wood ear mushrooms, which are rich in vitamin D.

Other items on Miura's menu include hijiki, a type of edible seaweed, and fermented soybeans. He says he tries to eat several kinds of foods in each meal. After breakfast and dinner he has a nutritional drink containing sesame seeds, soybean flour, yogurt and milk.

But Miura doesn't get by on food alone -- he also takes care to exercise. Every morning he moves his neck left and right about 100 times, opens his mouth wide and sticks out his tongue to train his face and mouth muscles. He says this is to prevent bagginess around the mouth, which is prevalent among elderly people. He also does squats and other exercises to strengthen his body, and walks about 3-4 kilometers each day.

As a result of his efforts, he has continually had good cholesterol, neutral fat, blood pressure, heart, liver and kidney readings in his yearly health examinations.

Profile:

Keizo Miura was born on Feb. 15, 1904, in Aomori. He worked at the Aomori forestry bureau after graduating from Hokkaido Teikoku University (now Hokkaido University), and joined a forestry bureau ski club. Miura served as technical committee member of the Ski Association of Japan, and is now an honorary member of the Japan Alpine Photographers Association. His wife, Mutsu, died in 1993 at the age of 80. He has four children, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

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The Mainichi Daily News: March 6, 2003
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