Chris Crowley launched his own wellness journey in 2004. Chris enlisted his young MD and avatar Dr. Henry Lodge to tell the tale. Chris is an avuncular retired lawyer. Henry specializes in Gerontology. This could be taken as a dry and boring field of research both by youngsters under 30 who see this field as something for Medicare enthusiasts as well as Senior citizens in denial. But it’s neither.
Together, Chris and Henry produce an engaging, entertaining — possibly a bit ribald — account of alternatives available today to everyone who manages to survive past post-pubescent 40’s. The choice is either gradual then accelerating decline into decrepitude, aches, pains, senility and premature death or vital energetic enthusiastic creativity until into your 90’s and beyond. It’s really true. Maybe, the Singularity will come in the meantime and enable some sort of transcendental crossover. Maybe not. But Life can be a Bitch and then you die; or a delight and joy. It’s your choice. This little book can help you along the way.
It’s Younger Next Year–absolutely not, Younger This Afternoon, or tomorrow or next week. Theirs is a fairly simple prescription. But it does require focus and it does require dedicated effort.
Chris sums up the CliffsNotes cocktail party version into “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.
Chris closes the book with a pitch for having fun. “Play is one of the great Mammalian inventions. And it’s good for us.”
I can strongly vouch for their Younger Next Year Program.
JUST DO IT!
If you decide to pick up this gauntlet, I’ve specific suggestions about what works for me that you might want to consider.
The I’On Club has excellent resources to help you with the first 3 Rules. If you’re having fun along the ride, then you’re way more likely to stick with the Rules until they start to payoff for you. Stick with the program for 4-months and you’ll see the remarkable difference. You and these new rules will become lifelong companions.
I, personally, find my personal trainer invaluable. Twice a week, Judy Comen puts me through a 30-minute mix of rigorous weight training semi-torture. I’ve been doing this for about 18-months. It’s been huge boon for me. I might not do the weight-training on my own and certainly not to the degree that I do or reap the benefits. Another big benefit from a qualified personal trainer — particularly for a novice weight trainee — is the appropriate balance of rigor. Too much and you can easily hurt yourself starting out or restarting after years absence. Too little is a bit of a waste. It also helps to have a commitment. On the calendar. After a while, you really miss it when you skip. The benefits are: in the mirror, with your balance, flexibility, resiliency, and the calibre of your sports performance. Pro sports players do weight training because it pays off.
The Club has many group fitness classes providing weight training. Try them out. Roll your own program. Mix in variety.
Tennis and aquatics offer excellent opportunities for aerobics exercise. I really enjoy tennis and play probably 4-times per week. I realize that you’d probably not believe that watching me play. No doubt I’ll never make it to Wimbledon. Bothers me not a whit. Benefits compound — bursts of energy chasing an errant serve, running, leaping, serving, quick responses burn lots of calories. The camaraderie is superb — it’s a whole lot of fun.
The Club has a “Stretching Class” twice a week — usually on the I’On Creek Club porch overlooking Hobcaw Creek and the marsh. This is a serene experience. This class is a transcendental experience. All participants rave about it. The stretching releases endorphins. It’s exhilarating and it improves flexibility and resilience. I suspect that the stretching helps reduce blood pressure and inner stress. This and most of my other exercise routines are personal pampering but I don’t feel a bit guilty. I thoroughly enjoy the journey and I’m convinced these activities help make me feel as great as I do. Big Pharma can’t compete.
Rule 4 — “Don’t spend more than you make” is not new news. Certainly true, though.
I agree with Henry’s Rule 5, “Don’t eat crap”. I found that rule impossible to follow in the abstract. What you eat and how much counts. It’s easy to eat out of habit. I’d fallen into eating habits over 20+ years and for all that time I’d added one to two pounds to my frame each year. Entrenched habits are tough to change. Losing the excess weight makes all other Rules ever so much easier and rewarding. If you need to drop excess flab, I strongly suggest you download a food tracking App such as MyFitnessPal onto your smart phone, log in, set up your goals and become aware of what you’re eating. I’ve become convinced that dietary fat — particularly from grass-fed beef — is an excellent food. I strongly suspect that Gary Taubes and Peter Attia are on the right track with their research findings and recommendations. Each individual is unique and what works for me might not work for you. You’ve got to figure that out, yourself.
Harry’s last two Rules — 6 Care and 7 Connect and Commit will be topic of my next article. In the meantime, if for any conceivable reason, you’d like to discover the real Fountain of Youth and actually roll back your biological clock, if I’ve not done so before, I urge you read their book.