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Thu, Dec. 12

Resolve to read these books about healthy exercise

It's time to start that list of New Year resolutions, and always included in surveys of the top 10 resolutions each year is "getting more exercise." The Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) tells us that only 30 percent of adults engage in "regular leisure-time physical activity." Engaging in physical activity just three times a week can help you lose weight, reduce bone density loss, improve cardiovascular health, and feel less stressed. What a good idea during the holidays! Start your program, or add variation to your routine by perusing some good books - like the ones we have found for you this week.

"Perfect Posture," Crunch Fitness. 2000.

Properly aligned posture is fundamental to safe and successful exercise routines, sports activities and movement in daily life. Improved alignment can increase the effectiveness of your workout while reducing strain and injury. This handy little book's photographs clearly illustrate contrasting "bad" and "good" posture, with sections on stabilizing the spine, working out the upper body, and working out the lower body. Exercises are straightforward, instructions are clearly given and equipment requirements are minimal. - Sharon Seymour

"Walking: A Complete Guide to the Complete Exercise," by Casey Meyers. 2007 edition.

According to Meyers, walking has been underrated and generally considered a beginning exercise for the unfit. Seventy-nine year old Meyers' opinion is that walking is a "complete exercise" that can be just as beneficial for fitness with less injury than running. Meyers explains the biomechanics of walking and compares it to other exercises. He covers walking for weight loss, smart eating tips, shoe and clothing choices, stretching and even weather and road conditions. Meyers' zeal for helping everyone achieve a healthy lifestyle is evident. His hope is that this book will motivate readers to walk themselves to a long, happy life. - Anna Smith

"I.Q.Gets Fit," by Mary Ann Fraser. 2007.

This wonderful picture book for 1st and 2nd grade readers is about I.Q., a mouse and the class pet of Mrs. Furber. I.Q. joins Mrs. Furber's class in the Health Month fitness challenge. Simple but bright illustrations take kids through charting an exercise plan, learning about a balanced diet and healthy living and motivation towards goals. If you like I.Q. Gets Fit you can also read I.Q. Goes To the Library! - Joyce Read

"Movement as a Way to Agelessness: A Guide to Trager Mentastics." Milton Trager, with Cathy Hammond. 1995.

Contrary to the idea of "exercise" as effortful movements emphasizing muscular strength, Trager work (and other systems such as the Alexander Technique and the Feldenkrais Method) use movement to return the body to a natural state of alignment and relaxation. This book includes an introductory overview and instructions for Mentastics (mental + gymnastics) in the words of the system's creator. The photographs of Milton Trager performing the movements in youth, middle age and old age are a testament to their potential. - Sharon Seymour

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