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By: Michael Ciaciuch, CFP®, AIF®, posted on 01/06/2017

"YOUNGER NEXT YEAR"

Recently I posted the poem, “Someday Is Here”.  Several years ago, when I began reading the poem during client retirement planning sessions, within a matter of weeks two clients asked if I had read the book, “Younger Next Year.” The poem reminded them of the book.  After the second mention, I immediately ordered and read the book.


“Someday Is Here” and “Younger Next Year” are complementary. Both deal with significant lifestyle issues that we face as we approach retirement. I will refer to the poem and the book in the OLLI class I will be leading at SVSU in April of 2017.


“Younger Next Year” is written by Chris Crowley & Henry S. Lodge M.D.  Chris is a former attorney and author.  Harry is a physician.  They wrote the book after Chris became Harry’s patient.  The two alternate chapters - Chris provides the humor, sharing anecdotes on how he has improved his health through lifestyle changes, basically following Harry’s rules listed below. Harry’s chapters are more technical as he discusses the physiology behind his rules.


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


The title “Younger Next Year” comes from the authors’ view that, “Most of us can be functionally younger every year for the next five or even ten years…70 percent of what you feel as aging is optional.”  Chris and Harry posit that biologically, there is no such thing as retirement, or even aging.  There is only growth or decay and decay is optional.  They claim there’s a critical distinction between aging and decay.  “There is an immutable biology of aging, and you can’t do anything about it: hair gets gray, gravity takes its toll…Your maximum heart rate declines steadily over time…Your skin degenerates, too, regardless of lifestyle.  So you will look old, no matter what.  But you do not have to act old or feel old.  That’s what counts.”


“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.”


Following is an example of Chris Crowley’s entertaining style, “Incidentally, French fries, which I adore with all my heart, deserve their own circle in hell.  They should be the flagpole on the top of the pyramid.  They start as potatoes, so they’re carbs at the core.  Then they’re routinely cooked in saturated fats, which makes them much, much worse.  If there is evil in the universe, it is made manifest in the design of the French fry, which tastes so heavenly and is in fact the devil’s own food.”


Most of us recognize the importance of nutrition and exercise to good health.  The health benefits of caring, connecting and committing, don’t receive as much attention.  “Younger Next Year” discusses all of these subjects in a unique and highly entertaining style!

This article first appeared at ActTwoAdvisors.com