Katovsky is one of those athletes you read about then shake your head in amazement as you sit in your easy chair, body aching and energy gone. He has “been there, done that.” A series of events conspired to wipe out the former endurance athlete and bring him low. This book is about his recovery, his inspirational and enthusiastic (albeit in-your-face honest) story of how just about anyone can come back from bad times, surgery, depression, or family woes to be healthy and active again.
It is no small order – and this is no typical self-help book. As a hands-on guide to those of us who know we need to reclaim our health and well-being but just don’t know where to start, Katovsky brings it all home to you. My own serious health problems have been ever-present for about the last ten years, as were Katovsky’s. The spiral, for anyone, takes different paths, but the result is pretty much the same. You have to pull yourself up by those proverbial bootstraps and get your body moving again.
At the beginning of the book, Katovsky quotes Sir Isaac Newton’s seminal first law of motion–you know, the one that states, “An object at rest tends to stay at rest, and an object in motion tends to stay in motion”? Yep. That one. What to do, what to do? Start by walking, Katovsky says. He has done his research well and quotes renowned organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. “All healthy adults need endurance exercise…This requires a minimum of thirty minutes a day five days a week, though the thirty minutes can be broken up into ten-minute increments. He gives walking tips, and alternatives to walking, to get you going.
Katovsky intersperses interesting “Ask the Expert” segments in his book as well, conversations with people like NASA Astronaut Jerry Linenger, Dr. Michael Joyner of the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Phil Maffetone (on the importance of Nutrition) and more. His chapters include topics for more athletic souls than me, including physical injury due to athletic performance. However, much of his discussions, about things like mental injury (i.e. depression) fought with exercise, learning the right way to approach aerobic and strength training, and how bodies change with age, are ones that most of us face on a daily basis as we strive to recover from illness and injury.
He covers the dynamics of diet and nutrition in partnership with exercise, reminding us that what we eat affects how we burn fat/energy, what foods will keep us from healthy recovery, and what foods will enhance our well-being. He recommends sensibility over fads (such as detox diets, fasting, juice diets, etc.) and tells us that educating ourselves about our habits, how food is processed in the body, and what it takes to return to healthy fitness is key to finding what will work for our bodies AND our minds.
I loved his take on the human diet over the last couple of centuries and his encouragement to return to intelligent, sensible eating, combined with an awareness of how body fat works, how your personal injuries or chronic conditions can affect wellness, and how to formulate an exercise plan you can live with. The book is a vision of Katovsky’s own journey back to self, and although some of the book may not apply to those who are not into endurance-type athletics, it is highly readable, and motivational.