Wellness is not rocket science

Posted on 08/26/2019 in misc

Image of old man lifting weights

Wellness is a $4 trillion dollar market. Most of that money is wasted. All of the money going to Goop is wasted. As a dude whose almost certainly over 50% done with life I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to maximize the odds that I’ll be healthy and happy on the back half of my life.

It’s not rocket science. It’s not even 10th grade physics. Dr. Harry Lodge (sadly passed away from cancer in 2016) offered a set of rules that make it easy, on paper anyway.

  1. Exercise six days a week.
  2. Do serious aerobic exercise four days a week. (45 minutes at 65%+ max heart rate)
  3. Do serious strength training with weights, two days a week.
  4. Spend less than you make.
  5. Quit eating garbage.
  6. Care.
  7. Connect and commit.

That’s it. Dr. Lodge believes that 2/3 of what we typically call age related issues are really decay related issues brought on by a sedentary lifestyle. Certainly there is no defense against bad luck, as Dr. Lodge’s death at 59 exemplifies. But none of us know if we will draw the short genetic straw, or live to 90+. If you want to still feel like you are 50 at 70, the rules above are the roadmap. By working out 6 days a week you basically keep your body in rebuilding mode, and by lifting 2x a week you counteract the natural loss of strength that comes with aging.

Spending less than you make ensures that you can afford to retire, and stay retired, as well as reduces money related stress.

Quit eating garbage is self-explanatory. Diets don’t work. Be active and eat intelligently. Follow the Harvard food pyramid. It doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that for most people.

Harvard food pyramid

Care, and connect and commit speak to your emotional health. Don’t be a shut-in. Volunteer, join social groups. Having stuff and people to care about are also an important component of aging with style.

Dr. Lodge put all this into a book titled “Younger Next Year” back in 2004. I won’t really recommend the book unless you can pick it up for $2.99 like I did. Dr. Lodge’s 5 or 6 chapters are fascinating. However his co-author is a friend / patient who at the time was a 70 year old retired and well off lawyer who writes like he is chatting with the guys in the steam room. The target audience is rich older alpha male white dudes who want to keep being rich older alpha male white dudes after retirement. It detracts from the book, or at least did for me because I kind of hate those guys. Let's face it, there is a lot of privilege assumed in those rules. That doesn't make them wrong though, just not particularly attainable for some people.

But the book did drive home the point for me that being healthy at 70 is highly dependent on the decisions you make at 50.

So I’m trying to make better decisions.

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