Advance your fitness education with new school year

Marilynn Preston

I feel it every September. I’ll bet you do, too. It’s that uneasy sense that, OK, playtime is over, it’s time to get back to school and down to work. Some of us find it more than a little depressing.

Well, perk up. Get with it. If the seasons are changing in your neighborhood, you should change, too. Don’t slide into post-summertime sloth. Instead, starting this month, go back to school yourself to advance and deepen your understanding of what it means to live a healthy lifestyle.

Subscribe to a healthy-lifestyle magazine. A great way to keep yourself interested and educated about fitness, every month, year after year, is to subscribe to one of the many healthy-lifestyle publications out there: Shape, Health, Prevention, Nutrition Action, the Berkeley Wellness Letter, O the Oprah magazine, Men’s Fitness, Yoga Journal, the Mayo Clinic Health Letter, and more. Take your pick.

The Internet is another way to keep yourself constantly updated; if that’s what works for you, fine.

Personally, I like the style and pace and portability of something silent that just shows up at your front door. With a magazine, you can tear stuff out to save for later use (“Killer Abs in 10 Days!”); and one good picture is worth a thousand words, when it comes to demonstrating how to do a particular exercise properly and safely.

Self-care is the best care. The benefit of creating a flow of fitness information into your home isn’t easy to measure, but you know it when it happens. In restaurants, you don’t feel so lost about what to order. You know how to make healthy choices. At work, you become more proactive when it comes to healthy snacking and places to work out, walk out or just stretch. At home, you find more fun things to do than watch TV.

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The constant drip-drip-drip of fitness information, however you choose to get it – from newspapers, magazines, Web sites, personal trainers, bodyworkers, too rarely from our doctors – can add up to a healthier, happier lifestyle for you and your whole family.

Remember: It’s never the wrong season to go back to school and make yourself the most valuable member of your medical team. Learn and relearn and keep learning about ways to exercise safely, how to eat for greater energy, ways to deal with stress and so much more.

Marilynn Preston welcomes your questions and comments about fitness, nutrition, etc. Write to her in care of Tribune Media Services, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1400, Chicago, Ill. 60611, or send electronic mail to