By Vonda Wright, M.D
Reviewed by Gary W. Silverman, CFP®
Gary Silverman owns a fee-only financial planning firm in Wichita Falls, Texas. He is the editor of the financial newsletter Personal Money Planning, writes the newspaper columns Your Money and Biz2Biz, and hosts the cable talk show, Money Cent$.
I have to recommend this book. It's not my fault, it is a cultural bias that I cannot eliminate. You see, I live in Texas. In Texas, Nolan Ryan is a god. And god-Ryan wrote a three-page forward to this book. Who am I to go against that? So, if you are from Texas, buy the book. For the rest of you, go ahead and read the rest of this review.
The average age of a financial planner is well over 40 years. A lot of our work lives are spent sitting in a chair in front of a computer, some reading material, or a client. "Research has shown that sedentary people decline twice as fast as their active counterparts," notes Dr. Vonda Wright, an orthopedic surgeon, competitive runner, and author of Fitness After 40: How to stay strong at any age.
Being "old" and interested in not feeling it, I requested this book to review. I took it with me on vacation and started reading. I got impatient. I was already to the fourth chapter before Wright told me to do anything significant, and that was only stretching. When were we going to get to the fitness part?
Then it dawned on me. Every page or two that I read had a story of a patient of Wright's who came to her for advice, heard her, ignored her, and came back injured. Maybe I needed to stop and listen. Maybe there was a reason she was taking her time talking about aging, mental preparation, how your body works, stages of fitness, and yes-stretching.
This is a book about fitness, and fitness is a lot more than exercise, yet the book doesn't ignore it. About half of the book goes over F.A.C.E. These are the sweaty parts of fitness, namely Flexibility, Aerobic exercise, Carrying a load, and Equilibrium and balance.
The latter part of the book talks about subjects such as injuries and healing including arthritis remedies and even joint replacement (the author is, after all, an orthopedic surgeon). Discussions include nutrition--even a section for vegetarian exercisers--buying shoes and bras, and picking a gym and personal trainer.
This is a very broad book on fitness for us older folks. Through her F.A.C.E. technique, Wright will have you stretching all of your major muscles, pumping up your heart and lungs, doing resistance training to build strong bones and muscles, and giving you the equilibrium to maintain your balance.
Is this the book? Is this the method? Don't be silly-of course not. Just like there are myriad of good techniques and styles for investing, there is more than one method of getting off your duff and becoming more active and healthy. For me it began with the Wii Fit and has progressed to a better diet and increased exercise. For you it may have been a local gym. But if you haven't started the road to better (and slower) aging, then I suggest buying a copy of Fitness After 40 and seeing if that may be what gets you started.
After all, Nolan Ryan said so.