What do Grandma Moses and I have in common? We both chose to create something new in our lives and in the world that didn’t exist before. We did this when people might have considered us “old.” We were both 78.
That is the age when Grandma Moses began her life as a serious painter. And that is also the age when I co-authored the book, Dynamic Aging: Simple Exercises for Whole-Body Mobility with biomechanist Katy Bowman, and created the blog, Dynamic Aging 4 Life.
The book started with four savvy sassy septuagenarians: my friends, Joyce Faber, Shelah Wilgus, Lora Woods, and me. We were all in our 70s when we met at a movement class in Ventura, California, taught by Katy. In our careers, Joyce was a teacher, Shelah was a graphic artist, Lora was a nurse and movement therapist, and I was a retired elder law and estate planning attorney.
We came to the classes because each of us had health issues affecting our quality of life that we thought were the result of aging. After less than a year of Katy’s Restorative Exercise classes, each of us noticed significant changes in how we moved. Lora’s restless leg syndrome disappeared and a knee replacement surgery was avoided. Joyce was facing knee and neck surgery which became unnecessary. Shelah chose to stop driving and began walking everywhere. My chronic constipation of more than 50 years disappeared and I was also able to do away with my orthotics and walk barefoot again after 20 years. And so much more. We were getting better as we were aging.
We became certified as Restorative Exercise Specialists through an intensive six-month training with Katy and each of us began teaching in various venues.
Fast forward two plus years after we first met. Our friendship had evolved into monthly get togethers at one another’s homes. We called ourselves the Four Savvy, Sassy Septuagenarians and we called our meetings Soup & See’s (dark chocolates) because that was the menu. We wanted to share our stories about how Katy’s work had changed our lives. We wanted to write a book.
We brought our idea to Katy. She suggested we collaborate – she would write the science and create the exercises, and our stories would be interwoven throughout the book. She suggested we call it Dynamic Aging because movement is dynamic and we four were aging. In March 2017, our book, Dynamic Aging: Simple Exercises for Whole-Body Mobility, was published. We were invited and appeared on The Today Show* with Maria Shriver. To date, more than 45,000 copies have been purchased and it has been translated into five languages worldwide.
This blurb by Katy from the back cover of the book says it all: “What if your pain and lack of mobility aren’t due to your age, but your habits? What if changing how you move can change how you feel, no matter your age?” That was our experience!
In September 2017, I created the blog Dynamic Aging 4 Life because I wanted to continue to share our stories with our readers as we continued to age. For the first several years I blogged about the transition of the Four Savvy, Sassy Septuagenarians to the Four Awesome Octogenarians, tracking our respective adventures and continuing movement.
Next, I transitioned to another form of dynamic aging – becoming a certified professional dynamic aging life coach at age 80. At 81, I started my first ever business, Coaching Dynamic Aging.
In November 2022, I collaborated with my esteemed coaching colleague and Restorative Exercise Specialist Sylvia Fox, to create this unique on-line venue, the Dynamic Aging 4 Life Magazine. Sylvia and her husband, writer and editor Michael Fitzgerald, both retired university journalism professors, edit the magazine. My husband, Willis Allen, is our information technology specialist.
Katy Bowman and her creation of a program of Nutritious Movement has been and continues to be life-changing to millions, and dynamic aging is becoming a way of life.
I know I’m not alone in continuing to seek new challenges and redefine my purpose as I age. And I’m not the exception.
Our mission, as we launched Dynamic Aging 4 Life Magazine, is to create a community of people who are changing the paradigm of aging by telling stories about how we are aging dynamically, to explore what’s possible, inspire one another, and empower by example.
Will you join our community by telling your story about aging dynamically to inspire others to open the door to possibilities, and to model what that might look like –– physically, creatively, and in every way –– regardless of age? And please, encourage your dynamically aging friends to read and subscribe to the magazine. Help us change the world, one story at a time.
BIO: I am grateful to everyone who has contributed to my experience of dynamic aging and those who continue to do so. Learn more about Sylvia Fox and Fitzfox Coaching and how she is integrating her training from Katy with her coach training from McLaren Coaching to offer a dynamic aging experience.
Learn more about Katy Bowman and Nutritious Movement as she continues to make a significant difference in the world.
Dynamic Aging: Simple Steps to Whole-Body Mobility by Katy Bowman with Joan Virginia Allen, Shelah M. Wilgus, Lora Woods, and Joyce Faber.
*See our appearance on The Today Show.
Joan Virginia Allen is Coaching Dynamic Aging. She is the creator of Dynamic Aging 4 Life Magazine. She co-authored the book Dynamic Aging: Simple Exercises for Whole-Body Mobility.