You can eat the most nutritious food, avail yourself of the best medical care money can buy, and swear off cigarettes and strong drinks, but if you don’t give your body the activity it needs, you’re only partially healthy.

Among its many benefits, getting fit–and staying fit–firms muscles, strengthens the heart and lungs, improves blood circulation, builds strength and endurance, bums off excess calories, strengthens bones, limbers up the joints, reduces stress, enhances self-image, improves digestion, and relieves constipation. And if that weren’t enough, evidence shows that exercise triggers the release of beta-endorphin, a hormone that boosts your spirits and makes pain more tolerable.

If fitness could be dispensed in pill form, it would be the single most frequently prescribed medication. But you can’t become fit by swallowing a pill, capsule, or liquid. You can, however, take simple, sensible steps to exercise regularly, starting today. This chapter will teach you how to select an activity, set realistic goals, exercise properly, stay motivated, and measure your progress.

Note: Before beginning an exercise program, it’s wise to have a medical checkup, especially if you haven’t had a physical exam within the past year, you’re over 45, you’re overweight, or you have a history of high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart trouble. A medical exam can help you avoid orthopedic injuries, cardiovascular complications, or other exercise related problems.

Chapter 3
  1. Get Fit, Stay Fit