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Health July 2017

A Healthy Age

Look Younger Inside and Out

By Carrie Luger Slayback

By sweating, exerting real effort, being breathless you’ve stressed your body, demanding it to respond with repair and growth.

On vacation, Paul and I strolled down a San Louis Obispo, California, street. A 50ish lady, caught up, and addressing me she said, “You look great.” Days later, on the Huntington Beach boardwalk, returning home from a run, I received the same comment from a young woman who told me she was a P.E. teacher.

They both came from behind me and figured I was younger. Upon a closer look, they were taken aback. “She ain’t young,” they realized. The unspoken subtext of both of these lovely compliments was “You look good, for your age.”

One of my art class pals dropped by to leave a framed painting for our senior center art show. She met my 79-year-old husband Paul, and told me later, “I was surprised. He looks so young!”

What’s responsible for these spontaneous remarks about youthful looks?

The two books, Younger Next Year for Men/for Women by Chris Crowley, an active senior, and his doctor, Henry S. Lodge M.D., give specific directions for maintaining “youth.”

You have only two choices as you age — growth or decay. In alternating chapters between Crawley and Lodge, the authors simplify the body’s growth/decay rhythm into two enzymes:   

* Cytokine 6, master chemical for decay and inflammation.

* Cytokine 10, responsible for growth and recovery.

The advent of adulthood tips you down the slide toward decay. Challenge decay, the authors recommend – vigorous exercise, six-days-a-week, for 45 minutes. They recommend four days aerobic, and two of weight training. During exertion, your body produces lots of the destructive enzyme, C-6.

Flood your body with the decay enzyme? Why is that good?

It’s good because the C-10 comes roaring in, repairing all the muscles you’ve shredded and the joints you’ve stressed, sweeping away inflammation in the process. Your replacement parts are “young!”

By sweating, exerting real effort, being breathless you’ve stressed your body, demanding it to respond with repair and growth.

Daily workouts make people “look younger,” because the muscle and sinew they continually renew is new. No 100% guarantees. Anyone can fall ill, but you help your chances for robust aging by daily aerobic movement. (Sweat!)

Did you know that death and rebuilding are normal bodily processes? Here are examples from the book:

  • Thigh muscle cells, replaced about every four months
  • Blood cells, replaced every three months
  • Platelets, replaced every ten days
  • Bones, every couple of years
  • astebuds, every single day!

According to Crawley and Lodge: “We don’t wait for a part to wear out…We destroy it at the end of its planned life and replace it with a new one…Biologists now believe that most cells in our bodies are designed to fall apart [so people can] adapt to new circumstances, and because older cells tend to get cancer. The trick is to grow more cells than you throw out.”

How? EXERCISE. “Turns out muscles control the chemistry of growth throughout the whole body.” A muscle contracts during use, sending nerve impulses, dictating, “Build body, build!”

You’re designed for moment-to-moment chemical balance between growth and decay, but what you want to do is overwhelm the atrophy signals. Instead, turn on “the machinery to build muscles, heart, capillaries, tendons, bones, joints, coordination, and so on.”

I literally run into my family doctor who shares my neighborhood running path as she walks her dog. “Wow!” her human walking partner says, “How can you be out here running all the time?”

I answered in one word, “Habituation.” My G.P. nods in agreement.

However, I like the way Crowley and Lodge put it better, “Rely on structure more than motivation. Carve out time to exercise, make it a protected time, and guard it fiercely against intrusion.”

I get up and get out six days a week. I hate the alarm clock at 5:20 a.m., but have pushed through the shock of early rising thousands of mornings. Somewhere in my sleepy consciousness is the rewarding memory of the early quiet of neighborhood streets, coolness of first breezes, sight of sunrise, and indescribable sensory reward of a body well used.

Generally, I find peppy self-help books irritating, but Younger Next Year for Men/ for Women are exceptions. Reading them helped me describe the reason for my running/hiking habit. It’s called cell renewal.

Do Paul and I look “younger?” Old photos tell of striking differences over years. Looks change, but vitality is renewable. We have energy to spare. We work for it. Invite your enzymes out for a brisk walk/run/bike ride. Turn them loose to work for you.


Carrie Luger Slayback, award-winning teacher and champion runner, shares her health and fitness fascination with her readers. Write her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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