Younger Next Year is a book I keep coming back to. I forget who first turned me on to it, but I read it in my mid-fifties, and it continues to inspire me. The bottom line is that at some point, sometime in our forties or fifties, our bodies want to get old and decay. It is time, and they are ready to fade. We can’t stop it, but we can do a great job of slowing it down. Some of the quotes that have impacted me:
- “So how do we keep ourselves from decaying? By changing the signals we send to our bodies. The keys to overriding the decay code are daily exercise, emotional commitment, reasonable nutrition and a real engagement with living. But it starts with exercise.”
- “In short, we have adopted a lifestyle which—for people designed as we were designed—is nothing less than a disease. Think about that. Our lifestyle—especially in retirement, especially in this wonderful country—is a disease more deadly than cancer, war or plague.” That lifestyle comes about because, relative to our ancestors, everything is easy now. Food is plentiful, we live comfortable lives, and the threat of true danger rarely appears in our lives. It’s not what our bodies are expecting.
- “Biologically, there is no such thing as retirement, or even aging. There is only growth or decay, and your body looks to you to choose between them.”
- “You can control the cycle [of stress, inflammation, and repair]. Commuting, loneliness, apathy, too much alcohol and TV all trigger the inflammatory part of the cycle. But daily exercise, joy, play, engagement, challenge and closeness all trigger the crucial repair.”
- “Do serious strength training, with weights, two days a week for the rest of your life.”
- “Aerobic exercise does more to stop actual death, but strength training can make your life worthwhile.”
- “Do serious aerobic exercise four days a week for the rest of your life.”
Obviously, this stuff is really hard. It’s way easier to decay and grow truly old. I am choosing to fight. I hope this effort will help counteract whatever life throws at me, and I’m not going down easy.