Author Louis Bezich pens motivating strategies for men over 50 to achieve optimum health.
Bookstore shelves are loaded with diet and fitness books, yet Louis Bezich feels sedentary men in their 50s and 60s—one of the most health-challenged segments of the American population—need a motivational pep talk.
“I really want to reach out to the everyman; the men walking around the block a couple days a week,” says Louis, a health-care executive at Cooper University Health Care in Camden, New Jersey. He shares motivational tactics to enrich men’s mental and physical health in his first book, “Crack the Code: 10 Proven Secrets that Motivate Healthy Behavior and Inspire Fulfillment in Men Over 50.”
“This is a point in life where you can see the graduations coming up, the weddings, travel, retirement, a second or third career, and you would think an individual guy over 50 would say, ‘I really want to be there for my loved ones and enjoy all that life has to offer. I should really take care of myself.’ Instead, men do the opposite,” Louis says in a phone interview with Healthy Living. “Too many men become more sedentary and neglect their health. It’s explicable to all generations, and it’s so evident in men over 50.”
With less than 3 percent of the American population living healthy, Louis believes traditional approaches to men’s health have not worked, particularly for older men. However, Louis was inspired by research that shows a strong correlation between health and happiness. In his book, he shares motivational findings from a nationwide survey of 1,000 healthy men, some of his own personal experiences, and insights from 30 men he interviewed.
“They enjoy being able to swim in the ocean with their grandchildren, playing a round of golf with their son or grandson, participating in a 5K race or something like that,” Louis says. “The successful guys really blend their social agenda and their social aspirations with their behavior, and that seems to be a winning strategy.”
The author maintains that “underlying motivation is a prerequisite for healthy behavior.” Working out was his coping mechanism in college and later as a single father raising two boys. Louis was motivated to be healthy “for the kids,” and exercise helped him cope with work demands and stress, and it continued as his “passion” in his 50s and today in his 60s. He regularly runs 5K races and hits the gym at 5am every weekday before having oatmeal with a little almond butter for breakfast.
“The healthy men that I studied make what I call ‘male cognitive behavioral alignment,’” he says of a phrase he coined “which stands for connecting the dots between healthy behavior and one’s social and emotional relationships, the spouse, the grandchildren, the children, volunteering, etc., and in recognizing, ‘Hey, I can do more of what I enjoy being healthy.’”
Without motivation, Louis asserts that no diet, exercise program, technology, or other strategies will produce successful results. He also touts women as being “the most valuable player” for many men with their encouraging words, “Hey, look. I need you to do this because it’s not only good for you, but for all of us.”
“Crack the Code” concludes with the author issuing a call to action regarding men’s health.
“We need to change this sedentary lifestyle. As men over 50, we need to turn that around. Once we do that, we will really turn the corner in this country. Keeping people well will have all sorts of benefits in terms of the cost of health care and enriching people’s lives. The ultimate objective here is a cultural change that really makes living healthy not the exception, but the norm. It can happen,” Louis says. “We can’t afford to pass along a culture of inactivity and sedentary practices to the next generation. It’s not a responsible thing to do.”
Q&A with Louis Bezich
What superpower would you like to have?
To understand what’s on someone’s mind.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
A biscotti with a cappuccino.
What is your diet like?
Low carb, low sugar, fruits and vegetables, lots of chicken and fish.
What’s always in your fridge?
Cream for coffee, almond milk, almond butter.
What would you do if you had an extra hour in your day?
Stay longer at the gym or look to spend time with my wife.
What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment?
My two sons.
What things are still on your to-do list?
Travel to Europe and take a river cruise. Visit all the MLB and NFL stadiums. Vacation in Key West.
Do you usually follow your heart or head?
I fight my heart and try to use my head.
What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Stand up for your convictions.
What was the turning point in your life?
What would you say to your younger self? T
rust your instincts, not your heart.
What day in your life would you like to relive?
The days my sons were born.