"Q&A With Miranda Esmonde-White"
Book: Aging Backwards
Author: Miranda Esmonde-White
"Miranda Esmonde-White is one of America's greatest advocates and educators of healthy aging. She is best known for her PBS fitness show, Classical Stretch, which has been aired since 1999 and is rated the #1 fitness show on the network, and for creating the Essentrics technique which Classical Stretch is based upon.
She has filmed over 300 episodes of Classical Stretch workouts, many of them available on DVD. Following her career as a professional ballerina, Miranda developed Essentrics, which led to her becoming the flexibility trainer and consultant to numerous professional and Olympic athletes and celebrities.
Miranda's first book, Aging Backwards, hits shelves in November 2014 and will revolutionize the way we understand the role fitness plays in slowing down the aging process while keeping our bodies young, attractive, strong and healthy. Based in Montreal, Miranda spends her time continuing to develop the technique, writing and training new instructors. She travels extensively giving lectures, weeklong Teacher Training sessions, and retreats."
1. Do you have any advice for the millennial twenty-somethings who feel and think that they are “old”?
They have to ask themselves – are they suffering from chronic pain, are they weak, do they easily exhaust or do they have poor posture. These signs of aging can change rapidly. Generally speaking, millennials are at a huge advantage over older people as their mental states and physical bodies are probably not deeply set.
Millennials are probably open to considering a new approach to exercising, something that their parents may have resisted. They are open to the idea that not destroying their bodies with old-school aggressive workouts and replacing them with gentle daily exercise might be a good idea.
Older people, I’m referring to those over twenty-five, have been brainwashed into believing that the only worthwhile exercise program is one that leaves them exhausted, depleted and in some degree of pain.
That approach is guaranteed to leave clients injured and in pain; both signs of aging. So I suggest that millennials don’t follow the trends and try a different approach to strengthening and fitness, that being a gentle full body approach.
2. What are some of your favorite anti-aging exercises and how often do you do them?
My own program, Essentrics, is my favorite anti-aging workout. I’ve been doing a 30-minute workout every day for the past 10 years. The amazing thing is that every year I feel more energetic than the year before.
3. Why was it so important to you to include an instructional DVD in addition to Aging Backwards: Fast Track?
When I was a younger I found books and instructional DVDs equally useful. One does not replace the other, rather augments the other. One is educational and the other practical. The DVDs give the flow, timing and how smoothly the exercises string together in a seamless sequence. On the other hand, with the photos in a book, you can study exercises to catch details that you’d miss on a DVD.
4. When did you start to live a fit and healthy lifestyle?
I always thought that I was living a healthy lifestyle. The views have changed over the decades as to what was a healthy lifestyle; since my early 20’s however when I look back on what was considered healthy, I cringe. I just turned 70, over these past 50 years our standards of what was considered healthy were much different than today.
Society and science are constantly evolving. Every year we learn new things about how badly we have been treating both our bodies and the planet we live on. For example, ten years ago, being a vegan or vegetarian was controversial; now they are mainstream.
That brings me to what I’m doing which is trying to start a fitness revolution by encouraging people to stop being aggressive in their fitness regimes, but be more gentle in how they exercise. Thousands of people are doing gentle workouts and they’re all experiencing ‘aging backwards’ results. I hope that this gentle fitness philosophy is the beginning of more healthy lifestyles.
5. In Aging Backwards: Fast Track, you share that the pitfalls of aging can be eliminated or at least drastically slowed down, do you think with the advances of technology we will dramatically increase our lifespans?
When you go through the history books you will notice that mankind has always had the potential for long lifespans. Before technology, only the really rich lived long as they didn’t have to do the back-breaking work of the peasant classes who did all the hard physical labor required for survival.
More people are living longer now we have all types of industrial and domestic machinery to do the heavy physical which our ancestors had to do by the sweat of their brow. Life has become so much easier for the average person this past century then it was in any time previous to that. The fact that all people, not just the rich, can purchase food instead of having to do the back-breaking chore of growing it has greatly changed the way they age.
Our access to running water in this century has also greatly reduced the wear and tear on the human body by the simplicity of being able to turn on a tap and water runs out. We no longer have to go to a well to pump and carry buckets of water into our homes.
The problem is that the ease that technology has brought into our lives is starting to backfire on us as we are not exercising enough. Being well-balanced is not a quality that human beings are known to embrace.
6. What’s the biggest misconception for ‘aging’ that you’ve discovered?
Basically, our attitude towards the inevitability of aging is wrong. There is nothing inevitable about aging except that the chronical years add up. None of these traditional signs are inevitable; slowing down, loss of energy, body shape change, stiffness, arthritis, osteoporosis, brain-cell loss or a bit of feeble-mindedness.
Over the past 20 years, scientific research has proven that none of those signs of aging are inevitable and they are all preventable and to a large degree, reversible.
7.Overall, what was your writing process like for this book?
I knew exactly what I wanted to write, so it was quite easy. I didn’t have to come up with a plotline, I’d been living the story behind the book for years, so it really was just a matter of putting pen to paper. I always throw everything at first writing hundreds of pages and then take out a scapula to sort them out.
I have an editor who helps clean up the manuscript and a team at my office who add an enormous amount. My books are more in the line of easy reading textbooks or educational. They present a thesis, backed up by cutting edge science which supports my ideas.
Writing this book required making sure that I include all the necessary components so people can easily understand and apply these ideas on a daily basis. My criteria in writing this book were to educate and motivate. The process of writing the book is to keep an eye on how to achieve that objective.
8. What’s the best book you have read in 2019?
9. What’s your best advice for getting over writer’s block?
Take a break if you suffer from writer’s block for however long you need; a day, a week or more and do something that will make you happy, make you laugh, make you relax. Joy removes stress and unblocks the mind.
10. What’s the best advice you have ever received on happiness?
Exercise and meditate regularly.
11. Do you plan to write more books in the future?
I have already started several books.
Bonus Question: Is age truly just a number?
Age is and isn’t just a number. Yes, we are chronologically aging so that is real and we will all eventually die as a result of chronological aging; our age will eventually catch up. That being said, our chronologic age has nothing to do with how vibrant our body is.
If we have lots of energy, can move easily, and are pain-free - then we have a youthful body no matter our age. If we can’t then we have an old body. These are the signs of aging that we should be rating and not the number of years we’ve lived. The objective is to feel young and vibrant until it’s time to die. If we are in pain, tired, stiff and immobile the last 30 years of our life then we are aging way before our time.
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Facebook: Miranda Esmonde-White
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