Updated: Jan 22, 2020
I went for my annual physical last week. The doctor asked me, “What’s new?”
I said, “I’m older!”
He said, “That’s good!”
“How is that good?” I laughed.
“Because the alternative is you’d be dead!”
“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.” Crowley & Lodge, 2007, Younger Next Year for Women.
Since reading Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley & Henry S. Lodge, M.D., I have been inspired to do something to combat aging before it sneaks up and steals my independence.
It’s not just a gimmick either. The book originated from a study done on Doc Lodge’s 70-year-old patient, Chris, that was in so-so shape. The new lifestyle he adopted transformed Crowley’s entire life!
Not that I’m anywhere near 70-years-old, but if I’m lucky, I should be that age someday. And I want to be living it well. Know what I mean?
A friend of my husband’s favorite saying is, “Aging is cruel!” He’s downright angry about all this business going on in his aging body. He’s about ten years older than us, and as been quite thorough in informing us of all that we have to look forward to. From his perspective, aging doesn’t sound good at all.
But as the book points out… Aging is a choice. Your choice. Because our notion (as in all American’s idea) of ‘normal aging’ isn’t normal!
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to do something about this, now. I’m not going to slide down that slippery slope into pathetic old age if I can help it. I want to be active till a ripe old age, or until I’m dead!
Harry’s 1st Rule
After the post, Doc Lodge’s Old-Age Cure, you already know that I’m working on this one...
Exercise six days a week for the rest of your life.
I know what you’re thinking. Six days a week for the rest of your life?! NO WAY!
But I have to tell you, Doc Lodge makes some excellent points about the why of exercise, and the alternative path he defines sounds like a nightmare! I don’t know about you, but life is hard enough as it is! I’d rather not be living a nightmare for the last 1/3 of it. I want to always be able to do for myself.
Maybe you are thinking that every time you exercise, you feel very sore, and that is not a pleasant feeling.
It’s not, you’re right!
But a little bit sore now to be able to stay independent for the rest of your life sounds a lot better than the alternative. Don’t you think?
The first step for me was finding an exercise I knew I could stick to doing. Using the exercise bike sitting in the living room for 45 minutes every day works, and bonus... it helps keep me out of the refrigerator, too!
Harry’s 2nd Rule
Do serious aerobic exercise four days a week for the rest of your life.
“Aerobic exercise is defined as physical exercise of low to high intensity that depends primarily on the aerobic energy-generating process.”
Basically, you need to work at a high enough intensity level to turn carbohydrates into energy.
The benefits of aerobic exercise, particularly for older people, are HUGE!
Ø increased stamina and reduce fatigue
Ø increased heart and lung fitness
Ø increased bone and muscle strength
Ø helps you lose weight and keep it off
Ø helps you ward off viral illness
Ø reduces your health risks for obesity, heart disease osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, certain cancers, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and metabolic syndrome
Ø If you have a chronic health condition, it can help you manage it more effectively
Ø Strengthens your heart and improves blood flow
Ø Helps keep your arteries clean
Ø Boosts your mood, combats depression and anxiety, and promotes better sleep
Ø Keeps your muscles strong, lowers your risk of falls, and keeps you independent longer which improves your quality of life
Ø Keeps your mind sharper, protects your memory, reasoning, judgment and thinking skills
Ø Helps you live longer
There are many types of aerobic exercise to choose from, like walking, bicycling, swimming, cross-country skiing, aerobic dancing, jogging, and rowing just to name a few. If you don’t like any of these ideas, google a list and pick something you do like.
Since cycling fit the aerobics criteria, I was already doing the 2nd Rule. Now the only thing I had to do was maintain a minimum of 45 minutes a day at an intensity level in the carb-burn zone indicated by my heart-rate.
This book offers great heart-rate information including how to get the most benefit from exercise. I didn’t realize how much there was to it, but it ends up that a leisurely walk isn’t considered aerobic exercise unless your heart rate is in the carb-burn zone.
Of course, if you haven’t gotten your heart rate up there in awhile, you will want to make sure everything is in good working order before you blow a gasket.
Doc Lodge stresses making sure you are fit enough for this new lifestyle, so talk things over with your doctor before trying to cycle Pike’s Peak, okay? Besides giving the go-ahead, your doctor may also offer some great advice on how and where to start.
After you get the okay, remember to take it SLOW!
If you’re anything like me, you’re about as patient as a mouse spotting an open jar of peanut butter. But the key to making this lifestyle change stick is to go slow and steady so…
Ø You don’t hurt yourself.
Ø You improve your stamina and strength.
Ø You won’t quit because you’re sore.
Ø You start feeling REALLY GOOD so you’ll want to keep going!
Harry’s 3rd Rule
Do serious weight training, with weights, two days a week for the rest of your life.
When I read this, I thought… NO WAY!
I hate lifting weights because I’m weak which makes the exercises hard to do, and then I’m really sore the next day. I also didn’t want to go to the gym or buy a bunch of weight equipment.
Then I started reading about why it’s so important. Now, I wish somebody would’ve told me long ago just how important weight-training is! Had I known, maybe I wouldn’t have wrecked so many body parts these past years.
I guess I’ve been a bum for way too long, so it’s on to a new weight-training schedule for me. I hope you do the same.
So long as we go SLOW and don’t overdo it, we are supposed to receive these benefits:
Ø more energy/stamina
Ø better sleep
Ø less stress
Ø ability to burn calories faster, and while at rest
Ø better fitting clothes
Ø decreased chances of osteoporosis
Ø reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes
Ø helps prevent injury
Ø improved range of motion
Ø improved confidence
Ø promotes a positive attitude
My Weight-Training Plan
Needing to find a weight-training regimen I could do at home, I purchased another new book called, The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises by Adam Campbell. FYI - They have it in a Men’s version, also.
The book starts by summarizing the benefits of lifting weights, how to work a program, and it offers lots of weight-training plans to choose from depending on what benefits you are looking for.
What I really like about the book is that it breaks down the exercises in sections for each major muscle group and gives you a bunch of exercise illustrations to choose from. That way you can look at the picture and say, “Yeah, I can handle that one!”
So for example, the plan I chose is a 5-Exercise Circuit that includes 1 exercise from each of these sections: Core, Glutes or Hamstrings, Chest or Shoulders, Quadriceps, and Back. Then all you do is select one of the exercises from each section that you think you can handle.
Now that I have my first three steps of this new lifestyle covered, I’m going to work on it and see how things go.
It’s time to figure out your own plan! Even if it means starting small.
What will you try first?
Let me know!
Thanks so much for reading!
If you liked this story, give it some love at the bottom of the page and share it with someone you think would enjoy reading. Become a member if you would like to be notified of new posts.
Crowley, Chris & Lodge M.D., Henry S., 2007, Younger Next Year for Women.
Integris, July 11, 2018, The Benefits of Weightlifting for Women, https://integrisok.com/resources/on-your-health/2018/july/the-benefits-of-weightlifting-for-women
Mayo Clinic Staff, December 14, 2018, Aerobic Exercise: Top 10 reasons to get physical, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/aerobic-exercise/art-20045541
Oaklander, Mandy, July 6, 2017, How Strength Training Changes Your Body For Good, https://time.com/4824531/strength-training-women-exercise/
Wikepedia, January 14, 2020, Aerobic Exercise, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerobic_exercise
YMCA, 2020, Five Benefits of Strength Training for Women, https://lafayettefamilyymca.org/five-benefits-of-strength-training-for-women/