The Foothills Magazine - September 2005

By Joan Dameron

Bonnie Prudden develops exercise program

Fitness guru Bonnie Prudden is a living legacy of her own motto, "You can't turn back the clock, but you can wind it up again."

Even at 91, the petite, bright-eyed, vivacious, and yes, fit, great-grandmother practices what she has preached for more than 50 years.

At her home in the Foothills, Prudden ran through a series of her daily exercises on the door frame gym she invented.

She also exercises in the pool and on the patio. The most important thing she discovered, at any age, is that music is the key.

"If you listen for a little bit, movement will come," she says.

Prudden saw a need for children's fitness programs in the l94Os and dedicated her life to it.

"Very seldom do wonderful things happen while we wait," she says.

In 1976, she developed Myotherapy, a method where pressure is applied to trigger points to relieve muscle pain.

She is a best-selling author on these subjects, but that isn't what motivates her. Her focus has been on education and giving back.

Prudden has overcome many obstacles, from living in an orphanage when she was six, to breaking her pelvis during a skiing accident when she was 23.

She was told she wouldn't be able to have children, ski or rock climb again. Prudden had two children and was the first woman to be awarded a National Ski Patrol badge.

More recently, she had full hip replacements and suffered several heart attacks. Prudden followed her own advice and bounced back by exercising and using Myotherapy techniques.

She's in the best physical condition she's been in for the past 13 years.

"It never makes sense to complain much about conditions unless you've put your mind to devising ways to change them," Prudden says.

When she was four, Prudden had boundless energy and would climb down a tree to go for walks in the middle of the night.

Her mother enrolled her in dance classes, and Prudden was a professional dancer by the time she was 10.

She appeared on Broadway when she was 20. She climbed the Matterhorn on her honeymoon and decided it was her rock climbing husband's idea of a marriage test. She passed and has many first ascents to her credit.

She also started the YMCA's Baby Swim and Gym classes, built the first climbing wall and started the first dry ski school.

After testing children's fitness levels in public schools for eight years, Prudden presented her findings to President Eisenhower in 1955. He was shocked by the report and the President's Council on Youth Fitness was formed.

She still teaches people how to erase pain at her weekend workshops.

"There is always something you can do, but it isn't in a pill," she says.

Whether becoming more fit or erasing pain, Prudden says of muscles, "You can strain them, overwork them, ask for the impossible and get it - but you must never ignore them."

For more information on Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy, go to or call 529-3979.

(800) 221-4634 (520) 529-3979