Older, Faster, Stronger – yes, really!

This is my Book Review of “Older, Faster, Stronger – What Women Runners Can Teach Us All About Living Younger, Longer” by Margaret Webb (Rodale, 2014).

Not a new book, but still full of current and timeless information.  I stumbled across this book by accident and am so grateful I did.  Many of my patients ask if they should be strength training or focussing on cardio and how much, or how much they should be exercising in general – no matter their age.  I think many of us would actually not believe this title – that we can, in fact become faster and stronger as we age?  Based on my experience, this is not most peoples’ belief.  But it is true and there are many older athletes, including female ones, that prove it.  We do not have to follow a spiral of physical decline as we age. Yes, it will require some work.  But if you feel that much better for doing the work, most will argue, its well worth it. 

This book is a wonderful combination of personal story as the author works her way towards her goal combined with research data and trainers, coaches and athletes anecdotes that explain how it works.  There is great information here for anyone of any age that wants to understand their body or wants to tweak their training to get the most of their health and the best ‘bang for their buck’ of activity.

The author begins as a 50 year old Canadian ex-smoking overweight woman who wants to regain some of her youthful fitness.  She ends up training for a half-marathon and finally running to win fourth in her age group at the World Master’s Games half marathon.  She documents her own progression, her experiences and thoughts and the advice she seeks out along the way in her search for answers of how to be and live her healthiest.  Anyone training for any field, wanting to live their fullest or just curious, can enjoy and gain from this book.  I also found this book to be a deeply inspirational aid as well as an excellent source of information.

Key general takes (all the things we already know but don’t always do…):  Create good habits and be diligent in your workout pattern; diversify your workouts – include cardio, strength and flexibility; include rest and relaxation and fun; learn good form for your activities; get professional care and advice when you need it – to prevent injury, learn best form, learn the exercises you need to balance your body, get treatments for things before they become a larger problem.