One day when I was in my twenties and my mother was in her forties a man from our chavura sat down next to me and waved toward my mother, who was surr...moreOne day when I was in my twenties and my mother was in her forties a man from our chavura sat down next to me and waved toward my mother, who was surrounded by friends she was chatting with. "Quite a good looking woman, your mother," he said. She was, I supposed. Depressingly more attractive than her twenty something daughter. I probably took after my father or perhaps my grandmother on my father's side, I thought.
That moment stayed with me and as my mother got older and continued with her prodigious social life, her exercise, and her constant attempts to get my father to eat right. (In one of the oddest and yet inspirational moments, my mother got her PI license at retirement.) As I began to see other people age badly and die too young, I started to hope that I'd inherited my mother's vigorous aging genes. (People her age and younger still point her out to me as an attractive and vital woman.)
Until I read this book I thought it was the luck of the draw. Since reading it I now know that my mother simply did everything right. We've all inherited the right genes to age well. The question is not what our genes are saying to our body, but what we are telling our body about our environment through our actions. Is it winter in our soul and time for decay? Or is it the eternal springtime my mother lives in? We choose.
The book covers such obvious concepts as exercise, eat right, surround yourself with people and pursue a passion but it explains why these things matter. It explains how our bodies with the ancient instructions they've inherited interact with the very artificial environment we now live in and how we can convince our bodies to age better. We can be younger next year, which is a pleasure.
There are two authors: a doctor (who explains the science) and his "demo model" who fills the book with lively stories illustrating the concept. The book is both heart-warming and helpful. I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone who wants to live a good life.
I've thought of recommending this book to my mother, but seriously, what would be the point? She's already doing these things.
It's uneven. Some parts of it are rollicking and funny. Some parts are touching. Some parts are informative. Some parts are clumsy. The parts don't ge...moreIt's uneven. Some parts of it are rollicking and funny. Some parts are touching. Some parts are informative. Some parts are clumsy. The parts don't gel. It is as if the author set out to write four completely different books on running but ended up slamming all of them together in one work. The history is interesting but too meager an offering to make it worth buying the book. The personal stories are often interesting but sometimes Cheever reveals himself to be shallow and self-interested. He is at his best when he is describing what he sees around him.
It's an ok book. I don't regret reading it but I can't see going back to it either.(less)