Younger Next Year
One of the best health and fitness books ever written !

The Younger Next Year book has been my most influential books I've ever read on health and fitness

I've just recently read this book again for the third time.   To help me remember the key points and content, I've summarized them here on this site.  Consider this as my "Book Report" summary.  

This is no substitute for buying the book though.  This is a must read book, especially if you or someone you know is approach the age of fifty or above, the intended audience for this book.  

Younger Next Year

Book Title:  Younger Next Year

Authors:   Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D. 

Chris Crowley is a senior who received life changing advice from his Doctor Henry S. Lodge.  It was so impactful to his life that he co-authored Younger Next Year with his Doctor!  A shining example of excellent health, Chris is a senior who is still active on the slopes, in the gym and in the outdoors.  He has inspired millions to live a healthier life. 

Henry S. Lodge is a medical doctor whose series of health-advice books, "Younger Next Year", written with his patient Chris Crowley, have sold millions of books around the world.  In the late 1990's, Dr. Lodge because concerned about the patients he was seeing at the hospital he was an internist at, the NY Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.  He decided he needed to help his patients who he saw gradually deteriorate in health ending with strokes and heart attacks.  He attributed this primarily to lifestyle choice as opposed to luck or genetics. 

Reason to Read this Book:  One of the best books on health and fitness ever published.    It has changed countless lives and increased lifespans of seniors around the world.  The book is a good balance of what to do with the full science behind the reasons for doing so. Bill Gates just recently read and was inspired by this book which has inspired even more people to buy and read this book. 

Year Written:  2004

Read this book "Younger Next Year", before you die too young!

The top 9 things I learned reading this book

Reading Younger Next Year has taught me these things:

  1. Our body is millions of years in the making:   Our bodies have evolved thorough millions of years and living conditions that are vastly different than our modern lifestyle of the last 100 years.  We were designed to live an active lifestyle, not the sedentary life we live now.  Our bodies have a difficult time adapting to being sedentary and over eating.  
  2. After age 32, our body is an a state of "decay":  During our youth, our body is in a "growth mode" whereby it continually gets stronger, regardless of how we treat it.  After age 32, the default mode is that of "decay".  In order to override the "tide of decay" mode, we must send the body constant signals that we still want to grow and nourish, through hard exercise.  
  3. Exercise is necessary to turn your body into a "growth" mode:  In order to override the "tide of decay" mode, we must send the body constant signals that we still want to grow and nourish, through hard exercise.  
  4. Exercise 6 days a week for the rest of your life:  To maximize our change for high energy and longevity throughout our life and be able to be active in our 60's, 70's and even 80's, we must undertake an exercise regime of exercising 1 hour a day, 6 days a week.  Four of these days should be aerobic whereby a "sweat" is created, and two days of lifting weights, pushing through our limits such that our muscles will rebuild themselves stronger.  
  5. Make exercise enjoyable:   We should find exercise that is enjoyable to us.  Examples of the best forms of exercise include: Aerobics, Bicycling, Spinning, Rowing, Skiing and Swimming.   Walking and hiking is good but should be done fast to get the heart elevated and into an aerobic zone.   
  6. Stop eating CRAP and eat smaller portions:  The food pyramid promoted for much of our life was wrong.  The foundation for our eating should be; Daily exercise; whole grain foods; plain oils; fruits and vegetables, nuts and legumes; fish, poultry and eggs; a daily supplement. At the top of the pyramid and things to be avoided as much as possible are red meat; white rice; white bread, potatoes and sweets.  Alcohol in moderation with 1 or 2 drinks per day maximum.   French fries should be considered as a "Devils food" and avoided at all cost.
  7. Have a purpose for your life:  People live healthier and longer when they have a life purpose.  
  8. Maximize social connections throughout your retirement years:  For the last million years, we survived as a human species in "packs".  Social connections were imperative to stay alive.  Same in our senior years.  We thrive when we maximize our social connections with our neighbours, friends and family.  
  9. Enjoy life:  Take advantage and experience as many different things as you can.  Say yes to all experiences which involve new things and people.  

Key points from the book

Younger Next Year is not only a great expression, it happens to be the title of one of the best self help books on health and fitness ever written.  I have read this book several times over the past 10 years.  Following are some key points I've made note of to help me (and you).

  • At the younger end of the spectrum, we start to age by the end of our twenties, so once you turn thirty, the quality of your life is up to you.  It can and should be great if you decide not to give up but to take charge. Younger Next Year is the road map for taking charge. - pg xxii
  • Harry says that over 50% of all illness and injuries in the last third of your life can be eliminated by changing your lifestyle in the way we suggest.  Not delayed until you're a little order. Eliminated! - pg 7
  • 70 percent of premature death is lifestyle related. - pg 8
  • There are three things . . . "Exercise, Nutrition and Commitment".  Exercise is the secret to great health. You should exercise hard almost every day of your life - say, six days a week. And do strength training.  Lift weights, two of those six days.  Exercise is the great key to aging.  - pg 14
  • It is inexplicable that our society, plagued by soaring medical costs and epidemics of obesity, heart disease and cancer, cares so little about these things. The simple fact is that we know perfectly well what to do. Some 70% of premature death and agin is lifestyle-related. - pg 29
  • Heart attacks, strokes, the common cancers, diabetes, most falls, fractures and serious injuries, and many more illnesses are primarily caused by the way we live.  If we had the will to do it, we could eliminate more than half of all disease in men and women over fifty. Not delay it, eliminate it.  That is a readily attainable goal, but we are not moving toward it.  Instead we have made these problems invisible by making them part of the "normal" landscape of aging. - pg 29
  • We live in temperature-controlled houses, not in an ice age, and most of us have far too much to eat, not too little. In the absence of paralyzing cold or famine, you might think our bodies would begin to adapt away from the semi hibernation defence. But it was only a hundred years ago that we escaped those pressures - a staggering event in human development but a nonevent in evolutionary time. - pg 35
  • Being sedentary is the most important signal for decay. Your body watches what you do, your physical behaviour, ever day, like a hawk. In nature, there is no reason to be sedentary except lack of food.  - pg 39
  • Almost incomprehensibly, the great problem of our time is surfeit. And idleness. Our ancestors ran for their lives for hundreds of millions of years, desperately searching for food, storing it up in their bodies against the certainty of drought, ice and starvation. And then, in a twinkling, all that was gone and a fundamental law of creation ceased to apply. This is arguably the most profound shift, ever, in the way the world works. - pg 46
  • Don't think of it as exercise. Think of it was sending a constant "grow" message to override that crazy tide! Think of it as telling your body to get stronger, more limber, functionally younger, in the only language your body understands. - pg 50
  • If retirement is a ways off, think of it as your first priority after work and do the best you can. - pg 51
  • Nothing you are doin the next third is as important as daily exercise. If it feels like play, great; you're one of the lucky ones. But it is deadly serious, because it is keeping you from becoming a pathetic old fool - pg 52
  • In twenty years, failure to exercise six days a week will seem as self-destructive as smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. - pg 53
  • So exercise is the master signaler, the agent that sets hundreds of chemical cascades in motion each time you get on that treadmill and start to sweat. It's what sets off the cycles of strengthening and repair within the muscles and joints. It's the foundation of positive brain chemistry. And it leads directly to the younger life we are promising, with its heightened immune system, its better sleep; its weight loss, insulin regulation and fat burning, its dramatic resistance to heart attack, stroke, hypertension, Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, diabetes, high cholesterol and depression. All that comes from exercise. But let your muscles sit idle and decay takes over again. - pg 65
  • Researchers gave 10,000 men two stress tests, five years apart. At the end of the study, the fittest men had a third the mortality of the least fit. Think about that; one-third the mortality.  - pg 71
  • Being sedentary is formally classified as a major cardiovascular risk factor, increasing risk more than smoking or high cholesterol. Vigorous exercise, the real thing, cuts your risk of dying from heart attack by half. - pg 75

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Last updated: February 29, 2020