Sunday, January 11, 2015

Younger Next Year: Book Review

In December I picked up a copy of Younger Next Year, For Women: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy – Until You're 80 and Beyond and read it just before the end of the year. 

It's basically a new take on the old tale of eat, sleep, and exercise better for lasting health, but it's well worth a read because the information is packaged in an easy to read style and the book is jammed with really interesting and motivating health tidbits. For example, according to the authors, lifting heavy weights every couple of days essentially halts bone loss and muscle loss that otherwise would be inevitable after about age 50. Also, 70 per cent of the horrors of old age – weakness, falls, aching joints, heart attacks, etc. – is optional. With just 45 min. of daily exercise, even if you only start in your 50s or 60s, you can eliminate all that "natural" aging horseshit.

Our bodies can continue to grow and are renewed, even as we age.

The best part of the book is it's aimed at the 50-something female demographic, which means I'm a couple of decades ahead of the game when it comes to getting in shape and making sure I don't wear out before my time.

Here are the book's seven "rules" to stay fit, healthy, and happy in every decade of life: 

  1. Exercise six days a week for the rest of your life.
  2. Do serious aerobic exercise four days a week. 
  3. Do serious strength training, with free weights, two days a week. 
  4. Spend less than you make. 
  5. Quit eating crap!
  6. Care. (Have a passion and pursue it.)
  7. Connect and commit. (Have a passion for people and foster a sense of community and connectedness.)

The only thing I don't like about the book is the stupid, sexist, condescending tone taken by one of the two authors – Chris Crowley. This guy needs a smack across the back of the head. If he didn't write things like, "You clever girl, you," I would say the book is excellent. Unfortunately the doctor, Henry S. Lodge, who is in my opinion the "real" author of the book, wasn't allowed to just write it himself, without his idiot co-author. I imagine the original version, Younger Next Year, which is geared towards men, is probably fantastic, because, well, it's geared towards men. If you don't like sexism, and/or you're a man, maybe just pick up that version of the book, which pretty much sums up the same message: exercise = excellent quality of life. 

Anyway, inspired by this book, I set one of my main goals for 2015 as get fit and healthy and I feel I'm on track. My first goal is to exercise daily for 30 consecutive days, which is working because it's very do-able. I didn't bite off more than I could chew, but instead simply decided to make exercise of some sort a top priority in my daily schedule. The least intense workout I've done was walking (min. 30 minutes), but I've been pretty consistent about doing something to get my heart rate up or my muscles working. Today was an hour of yoga, yesterday was 45 min. on the stair climber at the gym followed by 20 minutes of upper body free weights. I've also done elliptical and stationary bike for 45 min. each on other days. Because it's winter, I don't have many outdoor options, so the gym will be the main source of my workouts. But the authors weren't kidding – it really does make me feel better both physically and emotionally to be active every day, and I'm pretty jazzed about being 27 next year... okay, fine, 33.

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