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Fitness - How to Develop the Attitude

During a catalogue search at my local library, I came across this title: "Fitness without Exercise - The Scientifically Proven Strategy for Achieving Maximum Health with Minimum Effort." This book by Bryant Stamford and Porter Shimer really misses the point. After all, fitness is more of an attitude than a destination.

I found another title for a book that is a better concept and is one with which I completely agree. "Walking: the Pleasure Exercise," a book by Mort Malkin. Actually, during my research at the library, more than 20 per cent of the items had *walking* in their titles when I used *fitness* as the search-word. Makes sense, doesn't it?

Walking is naturally one of the best places to start creating a Fitness Attitude. For one thing, it gets you outdoors, and that's good for the fitness of your head! In addition, it uses all the large muscles in your body, it's low-impact, and it doesn't require any special equipment. It is something you are already expert at doing, and your body is perfectly designed for it. Hooray! You've got an awesome place to begin on your way to having a Fitness Attitude: Go for a walk every day.

Now, I'm going to make a confession. Even though I place a high value on health and nutrition and fitness in general, I sometimes have to really make an effort to get out the door with my walking shoes on. Today, for example, it was rainy and cold. I had a back-log of emails to answer, and had eaten a heavy lunch. It would have been really easy to make a very good case for staying indoors by the woodstove with my computer screen glowing away.

At a time like this, momentum helps. I feel weird when I have to miss my daily walk because over time it's become a part of my life. It easier to walk consistently when you make it a routine, or you have a ritual to help you get out the door. A routine will also to carry you along. Decide on a length of time for your walk, rather than setting a distance. Then, go! Some routes will become your standards, and then you won't have to plan - which is one of the benefits of a routine. Used appropriately, routines free your thoughts, so you can contemplate topics more interesting than whether to make a right or left turn at the corner.

Good for you, if you use a treadmill, gym, or other walking strategy such as mall walks. Still, if you can possibly make arrangements, spend at least some of your walking time outside. Time in the open air is part of fitness as an attitude.

Which brings up the question of food as it relates to the attitude of fitness. Generally, when you are eating foods that have a good natural basis, (like salads that aren't drowning in some oily vinegar dressing, or a vegetable stir- fry that isn't heavily glazed with high-sugar sauce), you don't crave garbage non-foods like my personal favorite: red licorice. Still, the packaging of 'snack foods' and the ease and portability they afford in our frenetically paced culture means that sometimes, you're going to eat junk. Once you've established your Fitness Attitude, though, processed 'foods' stop being a staple in your diet, and that's a better fit.

As you put attention on fitness, your life will soon include the pleasure of walking daily and a natural hunger for whole foods that are nourishing to you. A Fitness Attitude isn't complicated, and you'll feel better. You simply will.

Helen Norse has written on a range of health and fitness topics. She is contributing author to Health First News, the best on-line health information resource. Be sure to refer to all Helen's articles at:

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