FitOldDog’s Five Favorite Healthy Aging Books

Don’t Age Gracefully!

Learn to run gracefully!

Learn! Learn some more! And kick ass!

Five Favorite Healthy Aging Books: The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge

Flexible Mind! #1 of my 5 favorite healthy aging books. An inspiring and encouraging tome, for older adults, by an MD!!!! SEE, I’m not prejudiced! Never too late to have a life, my friends. Keep learning!

Enjoy Ungraceful Aging. That’s My Plan!

FitOldDog’s Five Favorite Healthy Aging Books

active aging is healthy aging; review of Andrew Weil's books

Too passive for me! I recently reviewed this excellent and popular book, in my newsletter, at this link. IT’S NOT ONE of my five favorite healthy aging books – very good, but MUCH too passive for FitOldDog!

Andrew Weil: “As you get older, you will want to select your aerobic activities with care, making sure they are suited to your body and not likely to lead to injury. For example, running is generally more appropriate for younger folks.”

FitOldDog in Boston Marathon 2009 shirt

Body awareness training and a great coach, got me to Boston. A blast! I was sad when I lost that shirt. Fond memories. Too old to run! NO WAY!

FitOldDog: Here I agree with the first sentence, but I strongly disagree with the second.

Injury-free running is not about age, it’s about knowing how to run safely. Many people damage their knees in High School, due to inappropriate focus on winning. I mastered the art of low-impact running, in my mid-60s. It got me to the Boston Marathon – wouldn’t have missed it for anything – I would love to do it again – qualifying is the tough part, for which I just managed a 4:07:59 at age 66, at the Charlotte, Thunder Road Marathon. I ran a 4:25 in Boston, but the guy who won our age group, at age 65, ran a 3:06. Remarkable! A real runner! And I bet he did it gracefully!”

Am I too old to run, at age 73? NO WAY, Dr. Weil!

Andrew Weil’s book isn’t one of my favorite five, for healthy aging, even though it is rich in aging-related information. I’m sure we all have slightly different choices. For example, here are the favorite five healthy aging books from The Senior List, and Yes! Dr. Weil is #1 on this list.

My approach to aging is to not think about aging.

I prefer to focus on doing something more interesting! Healthy Living!

FitOldDog’s Five Favorite Healthy Aging (Living) Books

The real challenges of aging? Misoneism (fear of change), decreased mobility, losing touch with the Earth, worry, and getting out of touch with the joy of being a child (Oh! Yes! Money, but that can be dealt with – stop worrying about it, and do something!)

Based on: (1) Learning new things, (2) Fluid movement, (3) Ancient wisdom, (4) Silencing the chatter, (5) Nurture your Inner Child!

Running with the Whole Body book by Jack Heggie

Freedom of movement: #2 of my 5 favorite healthy aging books.

If you can’t move efficiently, you’ll sure have trouble getting around as you become really old. Invest in your future. Learn to move now! If you doubt the effectiveness of The Feldenkrais Method, just read the blog post on my knee. Feldenkrais came to the rescue, where everyone else failed – including doctors with their cortisone injections and pills, physical therapists, yoga instructors, massage therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and LOTS of roller and stretching work by yours truly.

Then, by chance, I met Karen Dold, told her my story, and the rest is history. I’ve been a Feldenkrais enthusiast ever since. I even convinced Marsha to give it a try, so ask her, if you doubt my word. But Feldenkrais training can be expensive, even if you go to group training. Here is an alternative approach.

Read Jack Heggie’s little book. Do the exercises, which are very much Feldenkrais-based, and you will soon discover the magic.

You will learn how to read your body, the best place to start your healthy aging preparation.

When you head for major surgery, which can as tough on your body as an Ironman race, you’ll be pleased that you undertook Jack Heggie’s body-awareness training. Runner or not!

Now for something really brilliant and really old. The Tao te Ching.

five favorite healthy aging books: Tao te ching translation by Steven Mitchell

Ancient Wisdom. #3 on my favorite healthy aging books list.

For instance, “When in the family, be completely present.” Not easy when you’re doing Ironman training, or dealing with aging issues. But do it anyway!

“We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.”

Think about it!

What is the biggest issue, when it comes to thinking about aging?


Many people are scared to death of losing their looks, losing their power, losing their friends, losing their job, losing their house, losing their money, losing whatever. How do I know? They talk about it, around me, all the time!

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Silencing the internal chatter. #4 of my favorite healthy aging books. Lessons from this book keep me relatively sane and happy, most of the time.

But fear is in the mind, and nowhere else. That guy (FDR) was right, when it comes to fear, when he said, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself!”

How to deal with fear? Well, there are a number of ways. Face your fear (cover yourself with spiders, or climb the Matterhorn?). Better still, silence the chatter in your head. This is the real source of your fear:

“What will I do if they stop Social Security?”

“What if I get cancer?”

“I shouldn’t have said that to…, now she’ll hate me…”

“What if …” You name it!

What if you stopped torturing yourself with ‘WHAT IF,’  and looked around at what is. Most of the time we are not in dire straights. If we were, we wouldn’t be on the Internet, reading this blog post.

This wonderful book trained me, or helped me to train myself, to master the art of turning off the worry chatter in my head. Yes! I suffered from it too! I’m 73, with aortic disease, and I’m not independently wealthy. In fact, part of my survival plan is to create an online business. People tell me it’s impossible. I’ll fail! Blah! Blah! Blah! OK! What if I do fail, I’ll still be me, enjoying this wonderful journey on planet Earth? The chances are that I won’t starve to death, and I’ll work it out. I was born during WWII, with bombs falling around us. Things are surely better now. This book trained me to forget about what if, and enjoy the moment.

You have to do the work, which involves regular meditation. I do that every day, with my morning cup of tea. The world comes alive, as I let go of the chatter. What a relief!

five favorite healthy aging book. The Little Prince

The power of imagination. #5 of my favorite healthy aging books. I love this little book. It makes you think about what is really important in life.

Finally, The Little Prince, which I read first in French; one of my many passions, over the years. Come to think of it, it’s never too late to learn another language. Then visit the country, where that language is spoken.

You will open your mind to a whole new culture. A whole new way of thinking, living, dreaming and ‘EATING!’

The beauty of this little book is the way it demonstrates the power of imagination in our lives.

It also addresses a subject dear to my heart, as a veterinarian, how we relate to non-human animals – just read about the fox.

A delightful read, in French, English or Spanish (yes, I struggled through it, during my ‘learning Spanish phase’).

Life is what you make it.

Remember to clear out the baobabs of your life, on a regular basis.

Forget aging gracefully, if it doesn’t make you content, or better still, happy.

Wishing you happy trails.



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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.