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Aug 12

Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge

Posted on Sunday, August 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

I felt it while watching the Olympics.  You felt it too didn’t you?

Admiration for their courage.
Admiration for their determination.
Admiration for their discipline.
Admiration for their focus.
Admiration for their abs.

Yes, I felt it — jealousy — when I saw their abs.

Did you feel jealous too?

I’m Missing Something

Undoubtedly the recent Olympians experienced much more than the satisfaction of competition win or lose.  For instance, though I took no interest in the rowing competition, but maybe I’m missing something.

With four gold medals, the Brits may have landed on something special.  “There is,” claim Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, “no better exercise in the world than rowing a single scull or a Whitehall or any other good pulling boat. It’s aerobic, of course, but it exercises your whole body while it immerses you in a rhythm and takes you to places that are good for your soul.”

I like things that are good for my soul.
Unfortunately, I tend to neglect my body.

So, when my friend Mike gave me a copy of Younger Next Year: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy – Until You’re 80 and Beyond by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge I knew guilt — because of my neglect — was inevitable.

Fortunately, based on Mike’s recommendation I was looking for more than guilt.  I found math, science and a serious challenge to my status quo.

Status Quo

Dr. Henry Lodge addressed his reasons for being wiling to disrupt my status quo:

”My patients had had good medical care but not, I began to think, great health care.  For most, their declines, their illnesses, were thirty-year problems of lifestyle, not disease.  I, like most doctors in America, had been doing the wrong job well.  Modern medicine does not concern itself with lifestyle problems.  Doctors don’t treat them, medical schools don’t teach them and insurers don’t pay to solve them.   I began to think that this was indefensible.  I had always spent time on these issues, but I had not made them a primary focus.  And far too many of my patients including some very smart and able people were having lousy lives.  Some were dying.”

With research he found, “Two amazing numbers, right up front: 70 percent of aging, for women as for men, is voluntary … you do not have to do it.  And you can also skip 50 percent of all the sickness and serious accidents you’d expect to have from the time you turn fifty to the day you die.  Skip ’em. Altogether.”

Lodge believes that, “Limited aspects of biological aging are immutable.  Like the fact that your maximum heart rate goes down a bit every year, and your skin and hair get weird.  So you’re going to look older.  Tough … what did you expect?  But 80 percent of what you feel as “aging” is optional.  No joke.  No exaggeration.”

Younger Next Year Explores The Science Of Aging

The authors explain that, “Cytokine-6, or C-6 for short, is the master chemical for inflammation (decay), and cytokine-10, or C-10 for short, is the master chemical for repair and growth.”

“Exercise triggers repair, renewal and growth by producing C-10.  All forms of aerobic exercise produce C-6 in…proportion to both the duration and the intensity of exercise.  In marathon runners the level of C-6 rises a hundredfold by the end of the race.  It is an automatic measure of how much exercise you do, how much inflammation you cause, and how much growth you will experience.”

The research led the authors to explain that men and women 40-50 or older can:
– Become functionally younger every year for the next five to ten years.
– Enjoy life and be stronger, healthier, and more alert.
– Delay 70% of the decay associated with aging (weakness, sore joints, apathy).
– Eliminate over 50% of all illness and potential injuries.
– Continue to live like fifty-year-olds until well into their eighties.

The authors explain that, “The real challenge today is outliving the quality of life, not running out of quantity. If you are in reasonable health in your sixties, you have a good chance of living well into your eighties.”

The book has some interesting statistics that I’m not sure are verifiable, but I’ll repeat them for you:
– 70% Of Aging Is Voluntary
– 70% Of What You “Feel” As Aging – Is Optional
– 70% Of Premature Death & Aging Is Life-Style Related
– 70-80% Of Heart Attacks & Strokes Are Caused By Life-Style
– 2% Of Bone Mass Is Lost Each Year, After Menopause
– 1% Of Bone Mass Is Lost Each Year, After A Woman Turns 30

“Nature’s rule is simple: Do something real every day. Like really exercise. Ignore all that talk out there about exercising three or four days a week. Ignore it! Like the cholesterol guidelines, it’s a bare minimum, a desperate plea from the medical profession to a nation of couch potatoes.”

“Remember, your body craves the daily chemistry of exercise. Whether the exercise is long and slow, slow and steady (an hour or two of good, hard walking) or short and more intense (running, swimming or using the exercise machine at the gym) is a lot less important that the “dailyness” of it, six days a week…it’s the habit and routine of exercise that lead to success.”

Five Principles To Live By

Based on his research and some anecdotal evidence Lodge promotes these principles:
1. Exercise six days a week, seven if you can, for the rest of your life.
2. Do serious strength training, with weights, two days a week for the rest of your life.
3. Eat what you know you should and quit eating crap.
4. Connect to other people
5. Commit to feeling passionate about something.

Bottom Line

Sometimes I’m lazy.
Other times I’m busy.
Sometimes I’m already sore.
Other times I’m already tired and not energetic enough to exercise.

I imagine at least one of you readers has felt the same way.

“Luckily, you can rewire your brain with structure and routine.”  

The authors would argue that even when we’re lazy, busy, sore, and tired, “the key” for meaningful life transformation is “showing up again for the rest of your life.”

“It makes sense to think of this as a job because once you pass the age of fifty, exercise is no longer optional.”

Final Motivation

“If you put any value at all on your quality of life, the time you spend exercising becomes a bargain. The reality is that your life is so full in these years that you can’t afford not to exercise. The only real issue is that it’s tough to keep up the motivation to exercise when life is crowded with obligations & stress. So rely on structure more than motivation.”


I thought that the book would get long, it did; but, the chapters that focus on the aging process and why exercise, proper diet and discipline give us some control over aging were interesting.

I think this book might interest you too; especially if you’re over forty and little more than jealous over someone’s great abs.

Bring on the comments

  1. Haaa, I am jealous too over the great abs…and legs, and arms….sigh.

  2. Ditto! =)

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