It's not easy (or the four rules for a long healthy life). | Bruce Turkel

When my wife was a little girl, her mother passed away and she went to live with her abuela (grandmother in Spanish).
Nearly 30 years later, Gloria got to return the favor when Abuela could no longer live independently and came to live in our house. While Abuela was with us, her sister Chelo (pronounced just like the stringed instrument – cello) came from Cuba to visit.

Chelo was overwhelmed by our American lifestyle. She marveled at the choices abundance provided us – abundance of food in the grocery store; abundance of clothes in the mall; abundance of books and TV shows; abundance of freedom.

When we’d ask about something in Cuba, her answer was always the same, “no es fácil.” (It’s not easy).

Unlike Chelo, we mostly take our abundance, and the ease it affords us, for granted. But just this weekend I was with Chris Crowley and his talented portraitist wife, Hilary Cooper. Crowley most certainly does not take our abundance for granted. In fact, he has created the antidote for our modern condition. You see, Crowley is the co-author of the life-changing book Younger Next Year (you can click on the links to order different versions for men and women).

The book is written for 50- and 60-year olds who want to get in shape and stay that way well into their 80s and 90s. Michael Earley, CEO of MetCare, gave me Crowley’s book a year ago and I’ve already read the book twice and hung on every word.

According to Crowley, and his writing partner Dr. Harry Lodge, much of the modern abundance that Chelo marveled at is at the root of our aging problems:

• A constant cornucopia of fast food makes us fat.
• Abundant transportation and laborsaving devices makes us soft.
• Too many choices in the stores make us poor.
• Too much entertainment isolates us and makes us lonely.

All very, very different conditions than the harsh, pre-technology world that evolution had spent millions of years equipping our bodies to deal with. As Chelo would say, “no es fácil.”

But the authors have a solution. They write about Harry’s seven rules – which I’ve taken the liberty editing down even further to four essential life laws:

1. Exercise hard six days a week.
2. Don’t eat crap.
3. Don’t spend more than you earn.
4. Care (about others).

According to the authors, following these rules is the key to a happy, healthy and hearty life. Of course you can walk across the street and get hit by a bus no matter what shape you’re in, but forgoing unforeseen accidents, following Crowley and Lodge’s suggestions can make an enormous difference in the length and quality of your life now and well into the future.

Unfortunately, Abuela and Chelo are no longer around to take Crowley’s advice. If they were, maybe Chelo would exclaim, “es fácil” (it’s easy) for once.

I hope you’ll consider reading their book and listening to what Crowley and Lodge have to say. The cost of ignoring their advice is much too high. And if you’ve already read their book, please let me, and all the readers of this blog, know your experiences.

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