More About Joan

On May 14, 2017, I celebrated completing my 79th year and beginning my BIG 80. And wonder of wonders, like fine wine, I am just getting better with each passing year. To celebrate starting my 80th year, I decided to commit to walking/hiking a minimum of 80 miles or more every month until my 80th birthday AND to start this blog – a real technology s-t-r-e-t-c-h for me (and my tech genius husband, Willis, age 81).

My 70s were AWESOME! For oh so many reasons not the least of which was the publication and worldwide positive response to our new book written by biomechanist Katy Bowman and my three then 70-something co-authors. The book is available on Katy’s website www.nutritiousmovement.com and at www.amazon.com

What a thrill! Published at 78! WOW!!! I feel a little like Grandma Moses who began her life as a serious painter at 78. The book is about MOVEMENT as Katy explains and teaches it, and each of our personal individual experiences of the difference it has made in how we are able to live our lives.

For example, when I first met Katy at age 71, I was experiencing chronic back pain, constipation since I was a kid, foot issues (had been wearing orthotics for the past 20 years), neck issues (3 cervical vertebra have fused naturally) resulting in limited range of motion and discomfort, pelvic prolapse (was scheduled for reconstructive surgery at age 69), knee problems when hiking and balance issues (falling on occasion).

This silhouette of me (below left) at that time shows feet pointing outward, knees bent, butt tucked, pelvic center of mass forward, chin sticking out in front of my body, and hyperkyphosis (the rounding of my upper back) – all symptoms of misalignment of my body due to two things: not knowing any better and a sedentary life style. It was not due to aging. How do I know it wasn’t aging? Because as I have done Katy’s work over the past eight years (see photo right below taken today), I have been able to change these symptoms and align my body better which allows me to move better (read: use my body in a way that minimizes damage to joints/muscles/ligaments while getting stronger.) Here is the link that will take you directly to one of Katy’s blogs that explains what is happening here so you can do it, too: https://nutritiousmovement.com/mind-your-pelvis/.

The future wasn’t looking too great because I am by nature a very physically active person. My husband, Willis, and I were already well into our journey to hike all 58 U.S. National Parks. We were Olympic-style racewalkers and had done two half marathons racewalking. My first was at age 69 and the second at 70 in which I bettered my time! I lifted weights daily having put a gym in our home and I became certified to teach weight lifting to older adults to maintain and build stronger bones. I thought I was doing everything right and yet, my bone density showed osteopenia starting plus all the other issues I mentioned. Wasn’t looking good.

At 71, while visiting my local chiropractor I mentioned my concern about these issues and she referred me to Katy for an evaluation. As they say, the rest is history.

No, everything has not reversed – last bone density showed I still have osteopenia – not osteoporosis! I rarely experience back pain and when I do, I now know what to do about it. My constipation totally disappeared after about three years of Restorative Exercise and alignment. I was able to give up my orthotics the first year into my practice and I recently walked five miles barefoot on a Maui beach. I can hike in five-finger barefoot shoes for several miles. Despite my fused cervical (neck) vertebra, I have no neck discomfort and my range of motion has significantly improved. I still have pelvic prolapse; however, surgery has not been necessary and I am able to strengthen the muscles in the pelvic floor by learning and practicing how to walk/align/move optimally. My knees no longer bother me when hiking. And my balance is amazing! The best thing about all of this is I AM EIGHT YEARS OLDER and yet I AM GETTING BETTER. Each of us has experienced this phenomenon as you will learn in future blogs by Joyce, Shelah and Lora. This was the motivation for our book. We now call ourselves the Dynamic 4!

And it is the motivation for this blog. What does the future hold as I go into my 80s? What is possible? How will I prepare for new adventures?  And can I do “it” – whatever “it” is that I want to do? I never thought I could climb up and hang from a tree “at my age.” In fact the thought had never crossed my mind after maybe age 15. Katy started teaching us how to hang for more upper body strength. So, after a lot of practice hanging with my feet on the ground, one day while hiking I saw this tree. And there I am at 78 climbing up and hanging from it. And, I continue to climb and hang from that tree several times a week as part of hiking the system of trails my husband, Willis, and I have created in the coastal oak and black walnut forest on our ranch on a mountain in southern California. Who knew?!? What’s next?

8 Responses
  1. Leonie-Ruth Acland

    Thankyou Joan et al. Glad to be on board. Have been instigating many of Kay’s ideas one by one down here in Australia and have received my copy of Dynamic Aging this week so am now beginning to get to know some of your stories. Thank you for sharing so freely.

    I am completely inspired by Katy ( I have only recently been introduced to the wonderful world of podcasts and discovered ‘Katy Says’ by accident. However I have been able to download and listen to around forty to date whilst either gardening, walking the dog or cooking. )

    In short I am undergoing a complete paradigm shift: began swinging from a limb in our mulberry tree this morning; am in the process of transitioning to minimal shoes ( have ordered a pair from the states and eagerly await their arrival); I gave up my pillow a couple of weeks ago with surprising ease ; I go barefoot running through the paddocks with my dog a few times a week; have created inviting floor space by rearranging furniture in a couple of rooms which reminds me to sit on the floor even though there are still chairs/lounges/couches around etc. And to top it all off I am dipping my toes into cold plunging ( well , a cold shower which is as close as I think I’ll get to an icebath). Life is not dull for this Goldener in rural Australia.

    Wishing you all lots of nourishing movement

  2. Jasmine

    Not only am I encouraged and inspired by your words here and the stories I’ve already read about in the book– but by seeing (with my own eyes) the results of the restorative work in you over the years I’ve been so fortunate to know you– my ‘Mom’. You are positively awesome!
    Beyond that even, I’ve begun my own restorative journey. I have begun at the bottom– the base, what seems to be the foundation for my misalignment– my feet. I’ve been doing some of the foot excercises. My feet have always been such trouble for me. Even as a kid I could barely walk barefoot– ever. I now have ‘barefoot-walking’ time daily to strengthen my feet. This has been wonderful and self-inspiring, and at 60 I’m looking forward to keeping the restoration ongoing, and expanding this concept of restoration to so many areas of my body and soul.
    Thank you for your own hard work, your shares and insights and for enlightenment on my potential.
    And thanks to Dad for making this blog-site. I can see its potential to do such important work — as we also comment and share; encouraging each other on our restorative journeys.
    Blog on…!

  3. Stacey L

    Thanks for sharing. I was so happy to see a blog based on all of you! I read Dynamic Aging and found so many practical ideas and thoughts. I am 51 and as many people find the number a bit hard to get used to. However the very reason I picked up the book was because I plan to make the most of all I do and the years ahead of me . I am not just hoping to age nicely I am setting myself up to keep Mobile and agile in mind, body and spirit! I thank you all for the inspiration and look forward to reading about your dynamic lives!

  4. Rebecca Rice-Wilson

    Awesome! This is truly incredible work on your part…have the book and am on a journey of my own with Katy’s work! Keep on trucking!

  5. Ruth Miille

    LOVE the short movie clip, got to meet each of the participating authors. I’ve known Joan for many years but now know all of you. Look forward to more blog posts to enhance on your book. Keep up the good work, and Willis too. (Don’t make the SPAM questions above to difficult, too much thinking.)

  6. Cindy Baird

    I needed this today! Here I sit feeling sorry for myself and boom…this shows up in my in box! Thank you for sharing this way. Love your candid explanations of your health issues and working thru them. I am a 2nd year NM cert student, feeling sorry for myself as I have injured myself last week and as usual, expected to be over it and back to “progress” by today but no, the body is telling me with much pain that it is gonna take a while. How have you dealt with a lack of patience with your body over these years? It is a continual issue with me, not being content to hit pause and wait for healing. I turned 60 this summer, looking forward to many more years of learning and growing with NM, but I think I better learn to chill out a bit:)

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About This Blog

This site is about personal experiences and opinions based on years of training and practice. It is in no way intended to instruct, recommend or suggest that anyone try the activities shared.

CO-AUTHORED BY JOAN VIRGINIA ALLEN, SHELAH M. WILGUS, LORA WOODS, AND JOYCE FABER

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