May 09


An autobiographical account of achieving physical fitness in middle age.

In her debut, freelance journalist and wellness blogger Walker recounts the unexpectedly severe blow it was to her self-image to approach a new job at the U.S. State Department in her mid-50s and find it to be too much for her physically. The failure to meet its increased physical demands was a blow to her confidence, and it motivated her to undertake the fitness journey that she chronicles in these pages. It likewise informs her upbeat tone; she assures her readers that it’s never too late to take control of their own wellness, as illustrated by entries in her daily journal about how she got into running and healthy living. She points out the importance of careful preliminary introspection: “We can’t accomplish anything until we (1) address and fix our issues, and (2) establish a meaningful fitness habit.” The bulk of her book documents, in ample autobiographical detail, how she addressed obstacles to her new fitness regime. These day-by-day bulletins and updates give Walker ample room to discuss how she developed her routines, and she relates these experiences with clarity and a friendly approachability. She intersperses these with practical advice that can sometimes be startlingly simple; for example, she writes that “You’ve got to listen to your body, because if you push, you’re setting yourself up for injury. But if you take off time, it’s hard to get back in it.” Many of the segments end with music playlists that Walker used to help her get through workouts—everything from Broadway show tunes (such as “What a Piece of Work Is Man” from Hair) to Bob Marley songs—and the narrative’s overall tone is likewise encouraging.

An upbeat, accessible account of one woman’s decision to make her body stronger and her life healthier.