By: Daniel L. Muñoz
La Prensa San Diego
Just the other day, after I had returned from my daily 3.5-mile walk/jog (albeit a little sweaty), I sat down on my couch, propped up my feet and picked up a book that I had recently received to review. It was a gaily colored, high-gloss book with an intriguing title: "FITNESS For Health and Sports" written by Patricia G. Avila, M.D. I flipped idly through the pages and quickly noted that it had beautiful, glossy photos of various athletics. "Wow," I said to myself, "This makes a super conversational piece to keep on the living room table or fireplace mantel!" I then briefly thumbed through the Table of Contents, noting the moxie of the author in listing "The Joy of Physical Fitness," as the first part of her book. I then noticed that she chose to end her book with a final chapter dealing with sports injuries!
Undaunted, I turned to the part of the book that lets the reader know about the author. I was impressed. It was written by Doctor Patricia G. Avila, M.D., M.P.H., one of the preventive medicine physicians for the USOC's ARCO Olympic Training center. The one that just happens to be located in Chula Vista! Now here is a writer that must have first hand experience on `what she speeketh of'!
Dr. Avila loses no time in making you quickly aware of the `joy' of physical fitness. With stunning photography she takes you through the beauty of being physically fit! Of course how can you not be a stunning beauty when she uses a shot of Tracey Mills, the Olympic diver, soaring gracefully through the air! In like manner, she uses action photography to demonstrate flexibility, strength, endurance, longevity, camaraderie and victory. By this time, I was ready to put on my sweats and go another mile or two!
Then came the bummer for this reviewer. Part ll, the assessment chapter, makes you take all kinds of physical checks to see if you can go through training and conditioning. Dr. Avila includes various assessment tools to determine such things as heart condition, aerobic fitness,
muscular fitness, strength, endurance, what to eat, when to diet, etc. There are all kinds of charts to determine whether you are fit or unfit.
Needless to say, all of the graphics are in color and very clear. Photography is spread throughout the chapter to make sure you understand the message that she is trying to convey. The bummer is that most of the charts begin at age 20 and stop charting at 65! What's a fellow to do if he is sneaking up to becoming an octogenarian (although still a very fit 74 year old)? For the rest of you who are reading this, don't be disheartened. FITNESS is still a very good book to have around the house on your coffee table. You might fool some of your senior club members into thinking you're still "very much with it!"
If you are into fitness, this book is for you. The Appendix section will provide you with plans, logs, tables, weight charts and stress tables, all in very readable and understandable form. And if you have a problem, the author lives in the San Diego area.