Book Review: "Age-Defying Fitness"

Monday, March 26, 2007 - 5:10pm

By Erica Lesperance, RD, LD

When you are in your twenties, everyone tells you that once you turn thirty, your body starts to go downhill and is never the same. In your thirties, you hear the same thing about turning forty. Given this defeatist perspective, it is no wonder that many cannot find the motivation to stay in shape as they age. However, in the book Age-Defying Fitness, authors Marilyn Moffat and Carole Lewis offer a refreshing shift to a much more positive point of view - that exercise is the antidote to aging!

Aging and the Decline of Fitness

According to Moffat and Lewis, there are five domains of fitness: posture, strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance. As we age, we experience a natural decline in each of these areas, making it difficult to be as active as we used to be. The resulting decrease in activity leads to further decline in all five domains of fitness. This downward spiral seems to speed up the aging process. Many believe that this is the natural course of aging and cannot be avoided, but Moffat and Lewis disagree.

Just What the Doctor Ordered

Drawing on decades of experience as doctors of physical therapy, Moffat and Lewis wrote Age-Defying Fitness to help people who are experiencing age-related changes to maintain or to regain their fitness, no matter how active or inactive they have been in the past. It is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide for assessing your level of fitness in each domain. For example, one test requires you to record how long you can stand on one foot. If you cannot hold the position for at least 30 seconds, it is recommended that you do a specific exercise to improve your static balance. Based on your results in each domain, specific exercises are recommended. Each assessment is followed by a prescription page on which you can record your assessment results and corresponding exercises.

A Good Lesson for All of Us

This is a self-help book for people who are aging...and that means all of us. It has me convinced that we can all benefit from assessing our abilities in the five domains of fitness, and with a little time dedicated to the exercises in this book, improve how we look and feel both now and in the future. I highly recommend this book to people of all ages. Just reading it will motivate you to take control of your own aging process.