Pilates for Living: Get Stronger, Fitter and Healthier for an Active Later Life

Harri Angell. Bloomsbury, $20 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-4729-4778-9

Writing with the over-50 crowd in mind, Pilates instructor Angell share a useful guide to slowing down the aging process and preparing a foundation for a healthy future. Following a brief biography of founder Joseph Pilates (frail and sickly as a child, in adulthood he became a bodybuilder and athlete while developing his fitness program), Angell leads into the basics of a beginning Pilates routine, from breathing to balance. To illustrate poses, she employs photographs of fit men and women from the book’s target age group, beginning with warm-up poses, easy bending, and mobility exercises. Throughout the book are professional advice sidebars from an osteopath and a physician, as well as testimonials from Pilates students of varied ages, from 49 to 70, describing their positive results (“My back is stronger—I used to have lower back pain and I rarely do now”). The book’s straightforward approach and organization make starting on a Pilates routine seem entirely feasible, and the 20-minute routines, color-coded for beginners, intermediate, and advanced students, enhance that message. “Pilates has changed people’s lives for the better,” Angell says, and self-motivating readers may find this book to be their first, best step toward that change. (June)