If you’re on your way to becoming an “old girl”—and you hope that you are, right?—then this book should be somewhere in your house, your office, your car, your bike basket, wherever. Younger Next Year for Women is more than a book: It’s a life program to help women steer their biological clocks in a direction other than decay, which is where both women and men are headed in swift order if they’re living the typical U.S. lifestyle. Crowley and Lodge, respectively in their 70s and 40s, present a straightforward look at the aging process as the majority of North Americans are experiencing it, no thanks to a sedentary lifestyle, and tell readers how to turn the tide with changes of attitude, diet, and exercise regime. In fact, hard exercise is such a key component of the “Younger Next Year” plan that the authors call it your work—work you must do to try to avoid some 70% of the biological decay we “expect” with aging (painful joints, loss of balance, weakness) and more than 50% of the illnesses that weaken and kill aging Americans. You might even avoid turning into the horrid crone you secretly fear you’ll become in your old age.
This edition followed their popular Younger Next Year (2005), geared toward men. Much of the material is identical to the men’s edition, with an encouraging view of living and aging that invites readers to make the “next third” of life healthful and enjoyable. For women, who may live a third of their lives after menopause and tend to find themselves in much-changed roles at some point, this time of life offers new challenges and joys, the authors maintain.
Younger Next Year for Women gives detailed scientific explanations of what happens to the human body as a result of years of eating “crap” and functioning as a couch potato, then outlines what types of diet and exercise can counteract the ill effects. The restorative properties of various foods are touched on, with strict admonitions against “going on a diet”... ever again. The key, say the authors, is to do what we already know we need to do: stop eating so much “crap.” But that’s only part of the Younger Next Year antidote to miserable old age. Activity—bicycling, rowing, skiing, spinning, swimming, tennis, weights—is absolutely crucial to flood our bodies with muscle-building chemicals and help us avoid the broken joints and limbs that plague older Americans. Sexual activity isn’t essential, but it’s a darned good component of healthy aging, say the authors, and they cite folks in their 90s who are still enjoying that aspect of the good life.
Overall, Younger Next Year for Women is a balanced blend of science, practical advice, success stories, and rah-rah. And we all need some rah-rah when we’re making a life change. If you’re 25 or 30, perhaps living “like you’re 50” isn’t a selling point. But for those who are nearing 50 or are looking at the back of that particular signpost and like to think that the road ahead could stay this smooth for the rest of their lives, Crowley and Lodge’s book may well hit home. Strong? Fit? Sexy? What’s not to like?