Monday, November 9, 2009

Mama Bear's Movin'

Not relocating, just perambulating. I just finishing listening to the audiobook of Younger Next Year for Women by Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge. But even before I finished, this book had an impact. I bought a pair of workout sweats and a heartrate monitor and a hydration belt and started walking sometime shortly after chapter two. About an hour day, averaging about 3 miles or so, just about every day. I’ve even roped in Mimi (who originally recommended the book a year ago) to walk with me when our schedules align. It feels good to get out there.

This is a great book. The original was written more for men; this version is directed toward women (and seems to be about twice as long as the original, at least on audio). Both books are generally aimed at “older” folks, empty-nesters and approaching retirees and elders, but it’s great to get this information early on so you’ve got time to get started and begin envisioning your golden years. Chris and Harry take turns with the chapters, Dr. Harry providing the science and biology of health, and Chris providing the motivation. By the way, Chris (Dr. Harry’s “guinea pig”) is in his 70’s and going strong, and has an entirely infectious love of life and appreciation for ladies of all ages. If he doesn’t get you out the door and moving, I can’t think of anyone or anything that will.

But, coupled with this motivation are some truly fascinating lessons in evolutionary biology and the science of exercise. Harry’s not just saying “you need to exercise about an hour a day, six days a week for the rest of your life to stay strong and healthy”, he’s telling you WHY. He’s explaining in detail exactly what exercise does for you on a cellular level, and more frighteningly, what NOT exercising does to you on a cellular level. Not so much motivating you to exercise, but motivating you to NOT be sedentary. Somehow, knowing exactly how and why it works has sparked a lot more interest for me than any previous attempts at getting me to move my fanny on a regular basis. In ten days, I’ve walked eight days. Not a bad start.

But, it’s not just exercise that’s being emphasized in this book. Chris and Harry also discuss the vital importance of taking care of your limbic brain by staying connected and committed socially, and the resulting impact on your overall health and vitality. It really is fascinating stuff, learning about how your brain works and how it impacts your physical health. And, Chris has a nice section about emphasizing your attributes as you age, and blowing off the stuff you can’t do much about. Aging well, rather than accepting slow decline and disintegration as you move into the “next third” of your life.

So, carving out an hour a day for exercise. Yeah, it can be done. And, yeah, other things are sliding down the ladder a bit, like this blog. An hour of writing, or an hour of exercise? Right now, I’m going for the exercise, and modifying and juggling other things a bit more. Audiobooks seem to be the only way I get any “reading” done these day (while I’m doing housework), unless it’s reading with the kids during study time. Internet time has been cut back significantly (really a good thing, if you think about it). And, I’ve got a little more energy for stuff like chasing kids and cleaning house and moving furniture. The fact that my overall mood is better and my thinking is a bit clearer…that doesn’t hurt, either.

So, get the book. Read or listen to it. And get your fanny moving. I’ll see you on the trail.


  1. Awesome Monique! I put this audio book in my shopping cart. I love walking as well. It really does take some thought to juggle time to do it, I agree it is important.

  2. Super! I bought the book. I need to get started following your example. Thank You, Mo!