Ageing Well

Non-Fiction - Health - Fitness
159 Pages
Reviewed on 03/14/2017
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Author Biography

In July 2012 author James Middleton Murray, as the result of bankruptcy, was forced into early retirement. Bad news yes, but also good news as James had struggled to stay on his feet all day in a busy coffee shop because the cartilage in his knees was badly worn. Eighteen months later James was both fortunate and grateful to receive two artificial knees. James promised his specialist that he would use this ‘gift’ to lose weight and become the fittest and healthiest person he could be.

At his twelve month check up with the surgeon James proudly showed off his new muscular and 23 kilo lighter body. His surgeon was amazed at James’ transformation and called him his most successful post operative patient. James used daily exercise, healthy eating and ‘goal’ setting to achieve his new body.

James is now a healthy 83 kilos, rather than the unhealthy 106 kilos he was previously. He no longer takes prescription drugs for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, anti depressants or Viagra. He describes himself as being fitter now than when he played AFL football in his twenties. He is passionate that both he and his readers avoid living the last years of their lives in a ‘Nursing Home’, suffering from an avoidable ‘lifestyle’ disease.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Ageing Well is a non-fiction health and fitness book written by James Middleton Murray. Murray is 69 years old in chronological terms, but he estimates his biological age to be about 40. While he had participated in athletic activities when he was younger, damage to his knees combined with less-than-optimal lifestyle choices led to his gaining weight, depression, elevated blood pressure and concerns about type 2 diabetes. In February, 2014, Murray met with a surgeon who agreed to replace both of his knees in a single operation. For Murray, new knees meant an opportunity for a healthy and fit lifestyle. He exceeded medical expectations in getting used to the new implants, and began a consistent and dedicated regimen of diet and exercise. His doctor was astonished by the changes Murray was able to achieve when he came in for his 12-month follow-up appointment. Murray no longer needs the medications he had been prescribed in the past, and he remains a motivated and avid fitness enthusiast. Murray likes having a hard body and gets a kick out of the attention he receives, but he's especially keen on the fact that ageing well is infinitely preferable to ending up in a nursing home as one gets older. Murray shares his motivational mantras, gives guidelines for consumption of fats, fiber and dairy for crafting a healthy and nutritious diet and shares his fitness regimen. He also discusses the benefits of hiring a personal trainer and trying yoga and meditation. The book concludes with a section written by his wife that offers healthy recipes and a list of recommended readings.

What exactly is ageing well and how does one go about doing it? James Middleton Murray sets out right away in sharing what he considers as ageing well and what he doesn’t. And I’m fairly sure most will agree that languishing in a nursing home is nowhere as comforting an end as dying at home after a fully lived life. Murray’s enthusiasm for his subject shines out on every page of this well-written and inspirational book. While much of what he shares is not rocket science, he manages to put together a coherent and easily adaptable plan that will have just about any motivated reader excited about finally getting back into shape again. Murray is an intuitive writer who communicates beautifully; he’s frank, honest and has a sense of humor -- and he did his homework before writing this book that offers an holistic approach to ageing gracefully, dynamically and well. I’m planning on trying some of the recipes included in the back of the book -- the Thai recipes look particularly interesting. I’ve also placed holds at my library for several of the books he’s listed in his appendix. Ageing Well is highly recommended.

Lex Allen

Ageing Well by James Middleton Murray is a unique how-to book on losing weight ... well sort of. It’s really a how-to book on eating healthy and exercising regularly—losing weight is a by-product of the two and not necessarily the only result of the diet and exercise advice offered in the book. Following knee replacement surgery on both knees, Mr. Murray knew he had to lose weight and he needed to get back in shape, or everything he’d gone through prior to the surgery would have been for naught.

In his first book, Mr. Murray has scored a hit that very few first time authors can claim. I mentioned Ageing Well as unique because the author’s narrative lacks the professional medical jargon and platitudes many authors of these kinds of books use. Instead, the reader is treated to a down to earth, next door neighbor conversation style discussion the ins and outs of proper diet and exercise to live longer and healthier. Between the nitty-gritty that Mr. Murray carefully explains, he often jumps on a side road to tell you of a life experience or personal story that may or may not have direct implications to the topic at hand. After personal experience, and as a long-time resident of Europe with many trips to the countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea, I can fully vouch for the Mediterranean diet discussed in Ageing Well; it’s my primary diet. If you want to live longer, healthier and happy, read this book, follow the advice offered by Mr. Murray. You and your loved ones will be glad you did.

Sarah Stuart

Ageing Well is based on James Middleton Murray’s experiences of avoidable ill-health plus the stories of some of his relations and friends, many of whom died prematurely. He was sixty-nine at the time of writing this book and had been shocked two years previously by excessive weight gain. He also discovered that his blood pressure and cholesterol levels left him in danger of developing type two diabetes. Previously proud of his physique, painful knee replacements caused him to reassess his lifestyle. In Ageing Well, he shares his personal story in detail, together with his extensive research into the basis of every change he has made. He sets out a programme of action that has worked for him, backed by daily affirmations, which are designed to motivate the reader into attaining good health, improved memory, and extended quality-life expectancy.

I approached Ageing Well with great interest; James Middleton Murray suggests that his programme is not necessarily for the elderly. Embarking on it at any age is a plus: children living in a home where adults follow its precepts are likely to be adopt a healthy lifestyle. Many of Mr Murray’s suggestions are predictable: eat more vegetables, drink two litres of water daily, and alcohol in moderation. The argument against illegal drugs is indisputable. I am concerned about Mr Murray’s encouragement to cease relying on prescription drugs. With the agreement of doctors, yes: based only on his research it should be considered extremely carefully; necessary drugs save lives. The secret of achieving the health benefits, of which Mr Murray is living proof, lies in the affirmation: set a goal and write it in the PRESENT TENSE, as if it was already achieved. However, it is necessary to understand the incredible changes that can be made possible and I recommend that you read Ageing Well at least once.

Viga Boland

Ageing Well was written for both males and females on a subject that is important to both: how to stay healthy, feel fit and live to a ripe old age. But the audience who will most identify with James Middleton Murray's style and outlook on life is definitely middle-aged to older men, or as he would call them, "blokes." Why? Because Murray writes as he most likely talks, man to man or bloke to bloke over a beer or two on a Saturday afternoon at an Aussie pub. As one reads and conjures up a visual image of the author, the picture that comes to mind is very much that of the one illustrated on the colorful cover of Ageing Well: a somewhat muscly, but once overweight bloke who is opinionated, but only because he believes so firmly in what he's saying, and who is, above all else, positive and really quite funny.

As a young man, Murray had prided himself on his toned, fit body that obviously appealed to the ladies, and by the sounds of what he writes in his intro about the females in his life, his virility and charm were important to his self-esteem. If you skip those several pages of intro, you'll miss one of the most enjoyable parts of Ageing Well. But after some career setbacks that Murray tried to deal with by overindulgence in alcohol, he ballooned to a very unhealthy 106 kilos that came with the usual dangerous issues: high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Carrying all that weight around also took a toll on his knees, long ago damaged from jogging on hard surfaces. Thankfully, following the advice of his doctor for a double knee replacement, during which time Murray's weight began to drop, once recovered from the surgery, he embarked on the eating and exercise program he espouses in Ageing Well. Today he is intent on living life to the fullest with the help of his much younger wife who, incidentally, contributes some great healthy recipes for all who read this book.

Much of what Murray has to share is found in the popular eat and get well books on the market today, and at the end of Ageing Well, the author includes a list of the books he referenced. But why this book will appeal a lot more to others like Murray is the first-hand, very conversational style he uses, that "bloke to bloke" way he has of getting his points across. He shoots straight from the hip when it comes to staying healthy, and he's absolutely right in what he suggests readers do. He also doesn't hold back on the nitty-gritty, especially when it comes to the effects of weight and lack of exercise on a guy's sex life. That latter aspect will prompt female readers to smile. But it will make male readers think twice about the subject that sometimes means more to them than their health. And it shouldn't, because as Murray reminds us, if you don't have health, it's pretty hard to enjoy sex!