Judy Foreman: Exercise is Medicine

Cover: Exercise is Medicine

Cover: Exercise is Medicine


Judy Foreman
Oxford University Press, Jan. 2, 2020
Hardcover, $29.95, ebook, $19.99
ISBN-10: 0190685468; ISBN-13: 978-0190685461

Foreman reports:

As a health columnist and, at one point, The Boston Globe’s officially designated “Aging Columnist,” I’ve been interested for years in the biological processes of aging. I’m also a Masters swimmer and exercise nut, so I combined these interests into a book on aging and exercise, Exercise is Medicine.

Judy Foreman, photo by Andrew Dolph

Judy Foreman, photo by Andrew Dolph

I already had an agent from my previous books, as well as a fantastic editor at Oxford University Press (OUP), Abby Gross, so it was fairly easy to bat ideas back and forth with Abby. Since I am no longer writing my column for The Globe, I was able to focus solely on the book.

Marketing a book is less fun than writing it. With all my books, I hire my own publicist, Michelle Blankenship, who coordinates with OUP’s publicity staff. I also do shameless self-promotion, i.e. emailing organizations offering to speak about my book. I also hired a Brandeis student to help make a 45-minute Powerpoint (actually, Keynote) talk about the book, with animation, graphics, etc.

As for the book itself? Like everybody else, I knew exercise was good for you. But as I did the reporting, I was stunned by how good, and why. In 2013, for instance, European scientists elaborated 9 major hallmarks of aging, each of which can be favorably influenced by exercise.

One hallmark involves epigenetic changes, specifically DNA methylation. This process is influenced by exercise. In a Swedish study, scientists took muscle biopsies from volunteers who rode exercise bikes using only one leg. DNA methylation was strikingly different in the exercised versus the non-exercised leg, suggesting that exercise slows the epigenetic clock.

I could go on. And I did. I included a chapter on nitty gritty stuff, like how fast you lose fitness when you stop exercise (fast!) and I devote a chapter to anti-aging drugs and exercise “mimetics,” pills to trigger some physiological effects of exercise without working out.

But the real message is, move! As one chapter title says, “Sitting Kills.”

Contact info:

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Hero image by Natalya Letunova on Unsplash

Jan. 1, 2020

Advance Copy

For this column, NASW book editor Lynne Lamberg asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. She then edits the A part of that Q&A to produce the author reports you see here.

Publication of NASW members' reports in Advance Copy does not constitute NASW's endorsement of their books. NASW welcomes your comments and hopes this column stimulates productive discussions.