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Aging Beyond Belief: 69 Tips for REAL Wellness.

Aging Beyond Belief: 69 Tips for REAL Wellness

By Don Ardell, PhD

216 pp Paperback, $16

Whole Person Associates, Inc.

First, full disclosure. Dr. Don Ardell is a close friend and a professional colleague. I have learned much from him over the 20-plus years that I have known him. Like so many of us in the field of wellness, I regard him as the "Dean of Wellness," a man who is recognized internationally as well as nationally in that role. And so, this is not a review, but a recommendation, a recommendation to read this book. It is more like an extended blurb (and Don was kind enough to list me in the acknowledgements). Ask him to send you his list ( He has some fascinating ones, including some from dead folks like George Burns and that unknowable being, God.

There is so much in this book that you may find helpful for yourself and will certainly be helpful in working with patients on issues of wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention. The REAL in the title stands for Reason, Exuberance, And Liberty. This formulation alone tells you that Don has a take on the subject that goes well beyond the confines of the traditional approach that so often medicalizes it. Medical considerations are surely important for patients who are ill or who have readily discernable risk factors for illness(es) that can be brought under control with behavioral and other interventions. But Don goes beyond this base to a much broader concept of wellness. How broad is indicated by the fact that he tells us achieving wellness is always based on reason, science, and the ability to make rational choices; if wellness is not fun, it's not wellness; and liberty, which Don defines as "freedom and choice," is at the center of living the wellness lifestyle.

Indeed a major theme of the book is that once you get the hang of it, living the wellness lifestyle is fun and wellness should be treated that way. Don illustrates this principle by filling the book with intelligent (OK, not all of it is intelligent) humor, some his own and some borrowed from others. At the same time, the book is science-based and well-stocked with both data and references. The text is aimed at helping people to become "AUI," that is, "aging under the influence" of leading a healthy and well lifestyle. The goal is, as you age, to maintain the best possible health, the highest available energy levels, the greatest obtainable degree of physical mobility, and the fullest mental capacity. None of these are to be measured on any absolute scale, but should for each person reflect the reality of their life and their particular genetic and educational endowments or lack thereof. Note the words: best possible, highest available, greatest obtainable, and fullest. For each person, these terms are all relative. There are no absolutes in wellness. It is what each person can achieve for themselves, in strictly individual terms. He also makes sure to point out the wellness and health promotion cannot guarantee anything but the reduction of risk of a variety of diseases and an increase in the chances of leading a happy, continually productive life as we age.


To help one do this, Don has assembled his "69 Tips." Why 69? Well, Don was 69 when he wrote the book. I suppose that is as good a reason as any. Among them are "Nutrition [is] the heart of the matter," "Just say no [to medicalization]," "Take charge [of the wellness process]," "Understand longevity," "Stay centered and balanced," "Exercise [your] critical faculties," "[Practice achieving] serenity," "Sex is wonderful," "Humor is powerful stuff," and "[Think about] The Meaning of Life [for yourself]." A most useful prescription (if I may use that term, Don) for all of us.

Reviewed by Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, Editor-in-Chief
COPYRIGHT 2008 American Running & Fitness Association
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Author:Jonas, Steven
Publication:AMAA Journal
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jan 1, 2008
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