Last year at the end of April, I weighed 225 pounds, my resting heart rate was 78, and on a good day I could walk three miles in an hour. My friend and colleague in Austin, The Rev. Merrill Wade, recommended a book to me entitled Younger Next Year: A Guide to Living Like 50 Until You’re 80 and Beyond. The authors are Chris Crowley, a retired lawyer in his 70’s, and Henry S. Lodge, a doctor of internal medicine in his 40’s. Actually, Merrill recommended it to me three times over a period of six months before I finally bought and read it.
As a result of reading the book, I bought a heart rate monitor and started gradually increasing the intensity of my personal fitness program. I joined a gym, bought a bicycle, and got a new pair of better fitting athletic shoes.
It is now “next year.” I’ve worn out the new athletic shoes and am in the process of wearing out the second pair. I now weigh 195 pounds, my resting heart rate is 72, and in today’s workout I covered five miles in an hour and had a fifteen minute workout at the gym. Several annoying minor physical problems have disappeared. I’ve dropped two coat sizes and two inches in the waist, making it necessary for me to retire most of my wardrobe. Not surprisingly, I find that I’m more relaxed and have more energy than I did a year ago.
God gives us these amazing physical bodies to transport us around as we share with God in the ongoing process of creation and redemption. If we are good stewards of our health and fitness, as a rule our bodies will last longer and we’ll feel younger.
Last October, I wrote a message recommending the book and the lifestyle change it promotes. In that message, I said, “If you are a man near or past the half century mark, please be a good steward of the body God gave you and read this book! If you are the spouse or mom of such a person, use your persuasive powers to get him to read it.” Consider this a reminder!