Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Younger Next Year, Harry's rules

Here are two editions of a book that transformed my thinking and approach to aging.

Younger Next Year A guide to Living Like 50 Until You’re 80 and Beyond” by Chris Crowley & Henry S. Lodge, M.D. (2004)

“Younger Next Year for Women Live Like You’re 50- Strong, Fit, Sexy- Until You’re 80 and Beyond” by Chris Crowley & Henry S. Lodge, M.D. forward by Gail Sheehy (2005) [I gave this one to VJ for her birthday.]

These books explain the slippery slope of aging and encourage men and women to adopt a lifestyle that will help eliminate 50% of the illness and injury in the last third of your life by sending signals to your body to stop and even reverse the aging process.

With lifestyles common in the United States, around age 55, the majority of people start down the slippery slope toward old age. Every year we become a little fatter, slower weaker, and apathetic, with more pain and less mentally sharpness until after an injury or illness, we end up in a nursing home. The graph looks like this with your well being on the vertical axis, and your age on the horizontal.
This type of aging happens often, but it doesn’t have to. The majority of people are able through lifestyle choices to coast along on a gentle plateau, into their late eighties. The difference in your quality of life between the slippery slope and the gentle plateau is extraordinary. Which curve will you choose?

If you are not in good physical shape now, by changing your lifestyle, it’s possible to become radically better, over several years, before leveling off at a higher level of well being as shown below.

How is it done? Start with Harry’s seven rules.

Harry’s Rules
1. Exercise six days a week for the rest of your life.
2. Do serious aerobic exercise four days a week for the rest of your life
3. Do serious strength training, with weights, two days a week for the rest of your life.
4. Spend less than you make.
5. Quit eating crap.
6. Care.
7. Connect and commit.

How do I stack up against the 7 rules?

1. I've been excersizing 6 or 7 days per week for about 5 years. (15 to 20 minutes of stretching and core stength plus 30 minutes on a treadmill or elliptical walker daily)

2. I typically do aerobic exercise five days per week, 20 to 30 minutes most days to 60 minutes on weekends. I work on the 4th floor and take the stairs up and down several times per day. I park at the far end of the lot to maximize my walking.

3. I'm not seriously into strength training, but I'm trying to work some weights into my aerobic excersize. Room for improvement here.
** see update 2-10-2008 below

4. I was doing as well as can be expected with two kids in college. I'm not accumulating debt, but my net worth is shrinking due to an investment in the kids education.

5. I lost 30 lb. 3 years ago on the south beach diet. I gained back about 8, but recently refocussed and am loosing weight again. I would like to loose another 10 to get back to my college weight.

6. I'm happily married going on 27 years with 3 successful kids transitioning into young adulthood. I'm an active in my church. I sponsor a 9 year old girl in Guatamala through the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging. I'm good here.

7. I've been volunteering for the Boston Software Process Improvement network for almost 2 years. I made some friends there that I wouldn't have met without extending myslef. I'm a member of a growing men's fellowship group.



** Update 2-10-2008:
I joined a local gym in October 2007 and have been doing strength training twice a week for four months now. I'm improving my strength, lost a few more pounds and am convinced of the value of weight training in addition to aerobic exercise.


Tim said...

Greetins Coolspark

I read this book several years ago and embrace the advice wholeheartedly. I am not yet there in my ability to implement the advice, but I continue to strive for it.

Thanks for posting.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your take and info. I've been working on self-improvement seriously for about 5 years or so. I'm definitely the spokesperson among the people i know for fitness and health. I'm only 29 so my journey is really only getting started. Not taking your body for granted and realizing you can create goals, no matter how much you may doubt you can reach them, is a path to a better psychology and body. I read Jack LaLanne's Book 'Staying Young Forever' and that was a big inspiration, to know that you can go through your life being healthy if you only put your mind to it. Thanks and good luck!

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