Book review – Dynamic Aging

Full disclosure here – I’m a huge Katy Bowman fan.  She’s written a number of books and I’m slowly working my way through them.  She’s a Biomechanist (I had to look it up – do we have them in the UK?) and her premise is that much of what we think of as age-related degeneration is actually caused by lack of use and repeated poorly-aligned us of our bodies due to our sedentary culture.

Even if we are ‘exercisers’, most of us are sedentary most of the day.  So Dynamic Aging is based around how we can move more of the parts of ourselves more often.

One of the things I really like about this book is that it is is properly aimed at older people.  One book I read recently had, as a measure of health, how quickly you could run a mile – excuse me??? Of course there are people in mid-life and beyond who are still running, but for the majority of us in our 50s, 60s, 70s, this may (or may not …) be something to aim for rather than a starting point!

Cue Dynamic Aging, which is written in well spaced large print, gives modifications for hip replacements, and assumes that getting up off the floor or walking that mile might be difficult.  It contains really helpful stuff for older people such as strengthening the muscles that will help you to continue being able to get out of the chair, improving your twisting so you can still check over your shoulder when you’re driving, and learning how to ramp your head to minimise the risk of swallowing and choking difficulties.

That may make it sound as if you don’t need this book until you’re in your 80s or 90s, but don’t be fooled.  The movement programme in the book will ensure that it will be a long time before we struggle to get off the floor and might well prevent us from needing that hip replacement or prolapse operation.  I’ve been using it recently when problems with my pelvic stability, coupled with wrist and hand issues, have made it difficult for me to do my usual yoga.

I can’t believe I’ve got this far without mentioning Katy’s inspirational co-writers – Joan Virginia Allen, Shelah M Wilgus, Lora Woods and Joyce Faber – four ladies in their late 70s/early 80s who learned, and then became teachers of Katy’s Nutritious Movement programme.  The book is peppered with their real-life anecdotes, and they have also recently joined the blogosphere – check them out here: DynamicAging4Life.