I was a bookworm as a kid, not an athlete, and at the time it seemed like you could only be one or the other—geek or jock, but not both. According to Reynolds’ new book, The First 20 Minutes, it’s very fortunate for my projected lifespan that I eventually realized that was silly. It can be fun to run a mile or two, or bike, or even Zumba between chapters. The studies are persuasive and the statistics are incredible: movement is a key to healthy aging, both physical and mental. And it may not take as much as you think.
Reynolds, an exercise columnist for the New York Times, combines the latest scientific information with a realistic perspective and a sense of humor. In each chapter, she covers a different topic, from stretching to nutrition to weight control to brain fitness. Drawing from many studies and expert opinions, she discusses the latest findings, then boils them down to tips at the end of the chapter. Unfortunately, there are no footnotes or bibliography to help you find further information on the cited studies. On the plus side, there is at least an index.
The links between body and mind and between exercise and longevity are amazing and fascinating. And some of the studies and suggestions are rather surprising. My “take home” tip; improve your balance by standing on one foot while you brush your teeth. As Reynolds points out, this is not only good for preventing future injuries, it will also amuse your spouse. And once you get he or she to read the book, you can both stand on one foot while brushing together, like a couple of really athletic geeks.