Title: A Man’s Guide To Healthy Aging
Authors: Edward H Thompson Jr, and Lenard W Kaye
Publisher: Johns Hopkins Press
Reviewer: Paul Watson, head of child development and PSHE, Marshland High School
What was it like?
This book asserts the assumption that as men reach middle age, most of them begin looking forward to “what’s next.” Claiming that men gear up to experience renewed productivity and purpose, going on to explain that men are now more conscious of their health. This book reports itself to be an authoritative resource for men reaching middle age as well as those older men. In collaboration with a variety of medical experts, the authors provide a comprehensive guide to healthy aging from a man’s perspective. One section describes the actions men can take to stay healthy, with information about how to eat well, reduce stress, and stay active for better overall health. While another section considers how physical health and state of mind are connected, exploring sleep, drug and alcohol use, spirituality, and attitudes about appearance, explaining how all of these factors affect mental health. A section on bodily health examines how body systems function and what changes may occur as men age, looking from head to toe and reviewing how to manage chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart conditions. In the final section the authors show the importance of interacting with friends and family, with such topics as sexual intimacy, friendship, and caregiving, as well as how men can make the best decisions about end-of-life issues for themselves and their loved ones.
What were the highlights?
This is a well written book that is easy to pick up and get reading. The style and structure allow you to look for things that you might want to know the answer to, or to browse through looking for bits of interest. One such snippet that I found interesting was in the section looking at health and diet. In a interesting table was a list of activities and how many calories you would burn while doing them. I was excited to see in this table (on page 19) that sexual intercourse would burn off 450 calories. I was then almost unable to carry on reading the rest of the book as I realised that 450 calories referred to one hour of sexual activity!! Even at the age of 20 this might have been an achievement, but I would definitely shake the hand of any middle aged or old aged man who loses calories in this way at 450 a time. I continued looking down the table and decided that I might just go with the first entry on the list “Lying down or sleeping” 85 calories per hour. In fact I’m going to start that tonight!
Strengths & weaknesses:
Apart from being an US text, this is a well written book that generally flows well, with interesting facts. There are a few contemporary sketches, drawings and photos, which really enhance the stories and facts that are being told. The information was at times a little basic, although I felt that it was accurate and stimulating, in the sense that it left me wanting to know about the next step. Therefore if while reading I was alerted to the fact that I had a problem or needed more information about an issue, this text has provided me with the confidence to ask questions to the right people.
Who should read it?
I am unsure who would really go out and purchase this book and feel that it would possibly end up being purchased by organisations such as GP’s surgeries or colleges. While it was a fun read, it didn’t tell me many things that I didn’t already know. What it did do was to remind me of so many things that I had chosen to forget or to actively ignore (like so many men, until too late).