You Can Be Fit

Steven M. Horwitz, FCER, 1993

You Can Be Fit is a short (75-page), easy to read book for a patient or lay person interested in beginning a basic fitness program. The book covers such topics as how to pick a gym, an introduction to aerobic and anaerobic exercise, stretching, simple injury management, home program, and nutrition. I would overall rank this as a good book for a patient interested in beginning a fitness program.

There were probably three or four areas where individual physicians may disagree slightly with explanations or advice given. There were also some areas that could be confusing or were just plain incorrect. For example, the author had an artist draw silhouettes of men and women to demonstrate exercise and stretching positions. This worked well, however, those same silhouettes were used for instructing patients on muscular anatomy. For a lay person, this could be confusing and I feel that a little more detail would have helped a lot.

In the nutrition chapter the author states, and I quote, "A multivitamin/mineral supplement with about 100% of the RDA for each vitamin and mineral may be a good idea. However, if one tablet is good, two are not necessarily better." The problem with this statement is that there is no way to put 100% of the RDA of all vitamins and minerals in one pill. One pill per day multis commonly contain only a fraction of the RDA of calcium and magnesium. A patient could definitely be confused between taking one pill or taking the handful necessary to obtain 100% of the RDA for each vitamin and mineral. Although someone who is educated in nutrition could infer what the author means, one cannot assume this will be the case when your target audience is the man or woman on the street.

There was what I considered a great call in the running section when the author advised the patient to buy two pairs of running shoes instead of one. However, without an explanation as to why to do this (rotating with two pairs of shoes lets shoes "recover" between runs and will last as long as three pairs worn consecutively), it is very unlikely a patient would follow this advice.

Overall I will rate this book as good for patient education. With a few changes I feel a second addition could have the potential to be excellent.


G. Douglas Andersen, DC