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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Tell your fellow NASW members how you came up with the idea for your book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. Include what you wish you had known before you began working on your book, or had done differently.

See https://www.nasw.org/advance-copy-submission-guidelines.

View Advance Copy archives at https://www.nasw.org/member-article/advance-copy.

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Hero image by Natalya Letunova on Unsplash

Jan. 1, 2020

Advance Copy

The path from idea to book may take myriad routes. The Advance Copy column, started in 2000 by NASW volunteer book editor Lynne Lamberg, features NASW authors telling the stories behind their books. Authors are asked to report how they got their idea, honed it into a proposal, found an agent and a publisher, funded and conducted their research, and organized their writing process. They also are asked to share what they wish they’d known when they started or would do differently next time, and what advice they can offer aspiring authors. Lamberg edits the authors’ answers to produce the Advance Copy reports.

NASW members: Will your book be published soon? Visit www.nasw.org/advance-copy-submission-guidelines for information on submitting your report.

Publication of NASW author reports in Advance Copy does not constitute NASW's endorsement of any publication or the ideas, values, or material contained within or espoused by authors or their books. We hope this column stimulates productive discussions on important topics now and in the future as both science and societies progress. We welcome your discussion in the comments section below.

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