A few year ago, my brother gave me a copy of Younger Next Year, by Chris Crowley, a retired New York trial lawyer and Dr. Harry Lodge of Columbia University Medical Center. The book has become a cult classic among Baby Boomers. Dr. Lodge became concerned about the many unhealthy patients he was seeing in their 50s and 60s who were gaining 5 pounds a year, eating an unhealthy diet, leading sedentary lives, developing heart disease, cancer, and having strokes. He worked with Crowley to get him exercising and eating right. Crowley took off, returned to his proper weight and developed a commitment to exercise. Dr. Lodge and Mr. Crowley got so excited about what they had done together that they wanted to spread the word, so they co-wrote Younger Next Year (YNY) and several follow on books.
“Most aging is just the dry rot we program into our cells by sedentary living, junk food and stress,” Dr. Lodge wrote in Parade magazine in 2006. “Yes, we do have to get old, and ultimately we do have to die. But our bodies are designed to age slowly and remarkably well. Most of what we see and fear is decay, and decay is only one choice. Growth is the other.” YNY teaches us that roughly 70% of aging is avoidable. Our hair and skin thin. We gain wrinkles. But keeping the pounds off, exercising vigorously 5-6 days a week, including strength and aerobic training, will keep many unhealthy conditions and diseases at bay.
I am a big fan of YNY’s thesis. My wife and I do our best to eat healthily, exercise vigorously daily six times a week, keep up with doctors’ visits, and maintain a stimulating circle of family and friends and other social connections. These things have been demonstrated to keep you much healthier than the couch potato lifestyle which has crept into so many of our lives. This YNY lifestyle forestalls dementia, many types of cancer and heart disease. Type 2 diabetes can usually be controlled through exercise and good diet. YNY is right on as far as we are concerned.
Get Healthy Utah wishes you and your family a healthy and happy 2018!
Greg Bell, Get Healthy Utah, Board Chair
President & CEO, Utah Hospital Association