Monday, 02 Feb 2015 04:28 PM  By Nick Tate

Ephraim Engleman, M.D., who will celebrate his 104th birthday in March, has some unconventional recommendations for those seeking to live a long, healthy life. Among them: Staying active is critically important, but conventional exercise is highly overrated, he tells the Today Show.

Engleman, director of the Rosalind Russell-Ephraim P. Engleman Rheumatology Research Center at University of California-San Francisco, says he stays active, playing music (he’s a violinist who owns a Stradivarius and a Guarnieri, both from the 1700s) and enjoying time with his family (especially his loving wife of 73 years, Jean, who is 99).
“I guess it is amazing that I’m 103, but it’s important to remember that age — it’s just a number,” he says. “I’m too busy to dwell on my age.”
He adds that staying active is “important” to healthy living and longevity.
“I get up about 7:30 or 8 a.m., take a shower and I have breakfast at my home in San Mateo. I go into work three days a week in San Francisco. I don’t see many patients anymore, but I still have major administrative duties as director of our research center,” he says.

“Then I come home, have some dinner, and spend time with my gorgeous wife, and then I play the violin. I’m a musical nut. I play almost every night, for at least 30 to 45 minutes. And then once a week, we have chamber music at my home. We’re the San Andreas Quartet. I think it’s important to remain engaged in life, and music and my work are ways to do that.”
He adds: “I was never really physically active, and I think exercise is over-rated. My exercise has always been limited to walks and playing my violin … I have never smoked and rarely drank, maybe just a sip of wine at dinners. But I don’t believe that necessarily has helped me live to 103. I’ve never been one of those people who pay a lot of attention to nutrition. I’ve eaten what I’ve enjoyed all of my life.”