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Time To Get Fit

The rise of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease in the United States and in our region threatens the health and well-being of individuals and their families and the upward-spiraling cost of health care to them and their employers.

A welcome tool in the fight for fitness is the Four Seasons YMCA, which opens this week.  Victor Hugo said “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”  The new wellness center is just such an idea, now made reality thanks to the determination of visionaries who long ago saw the benefits of fitness for our community.  The Y is open to all on a sliding fee scale and should be a real boon to everyone interested in building and maintaining good health.

To round out the tools in your arsenal for fitness, the Library offers a number of books on diet, nutrition, exercise, and disease prevention.  Check out this sampler of new titles:

In “Garden Your Way to Health and Fitness: exercise plans, injury prevention, ergonomic designs”, Bunny Guinness explains the therapeutic benefits of one of America’s favorite pastimes.

“Breast Cancer Survivors Fitness Plan: retain health, regain strength, live longer” is a helpful guide for cancer patients.

Walter H. Ettinger, a doctor and professor at the University of Massachusetts, has written “Fitness After 50: add years to your life and life to your years”.  This is a manual for what to ask your doctor about physical activity, how to exercise safely, how to fit exercise into a busy schedule, with plentiful patient stories and good photographs.

Today Show and other talk show watchers may have caught Rip Esselstyn talking about  “The Engine 2 Diet: the Texas firefighter's 28-day save-your-life plan that lowers cholesterol and burns away the pounds“.  An Olympic athlete, now turned firefighter, Esselstyn serves up a rich plant-based regimen to his Texas firehouse crew and has lowered cholesterol and weight and made vegetarian believers of his co-workers.  To be successful in maintaining long-term weight loss and fitness, we must attend to both nutrition and exercise.  Rip includes a number of do-able exercises to complement his diet program.

Esselstyn knows whereof he writes.  His father, Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., also an Olympic gold medalist, is a surgeon, clinician, and researcher at The Cleveland Clinic.  He is the author of “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: the revolutionary, scientifically proven nutrition-based cure”, which includes medical rationale for eating a plant-based diet as well as recipes developed by his wife, Ann Crile Esselstyn, a registered nurse.  They have followed a plant-based diet for more than 20 years.

David Zinczenko, editor of Men’s Health and author of “Eat This Not That”, has also written “The Abs Diet for Women”, which includes recipes and a substantial and varied array of exercise recommendations.

An older (2001) book on nutrition worth reading is Walter C. Willett’s “Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: the Harvard Medical School guide to healthy eating”.  Willett is a long-time researcher and professor and developed his own food pyramid for healthy eating.

Every season brings a new slew of celebrity-authored diet books with not much more than a name and maybe a gimmick to sell them.  The Library provides some of these, too.  But the best advice for maintaining fitness is probably to simply eat a healthy, well-balanced diet of moderate proportions, and to get 30-60 minutes of exercise daily.  You can find lots of good recipes in cookbooks and diet books, as well as fitness guides, at the Library, and an excellent environment for exercise to meet all needs and interests at the Four Seasons YMCA.  For more information, visit the Library at and the Y at

The tools and the power to build fitness are there for you.  Here’s to your health!

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