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Outdoor-fitness book goes the distance with helpful advice

SHARE Outdoor-fitness book goes the distance with helpful advice

"Conditioning for Outdoor Fitness," (second edition); by David Musnick and Mark Pierce; Mountaineers Books; 2004; $24.95.

Almost all New Year's resolutions focus on getting in better physical shape and/or losing weight. This book addresses the entire scope of outdoor fitness better than perhaps any other publication.

Admittedly, this book isn't a fun read. This is serious stuff. However, you have to be serious to stick with and improve physical condition over a long period.

It's well-written but reminiscent of some physical education classes that focused on boring calisthenics. Some are required if you really want to be in top-notch shape.

This book covers many special stretching and conditioning exercises for various activities. Cross-training makes many suitable for those in other sports.

This isn't just for hikers or climbers. It is geared to cover fitness for rock climbing, snowboarding, skiing, snowshoeing, windsurfing, running, road and bicycle racing, canoeing, kayaking and rowing.

Part one describes the basics, stressing warm-up, nutrition, goals and training concepts.

The second part centers on the body parts — knees, feet, shoulder, neck, etc. — with an accent on preventing and treating injury.

Part three zeroes in on various outdoor activities with eight chapters covering the main 15 sports.

The book's fourth part delves into special problems for women, weight loss, fatigue, arthritis and other special considerations.

Since its 1999 first edition, much of the book has been updated.

Co-author Mark Pierce is an owner of the Sports Reaction Center in Bellevue, Wash., a physical therapy and sports rehabilitation clinic.

The other author, David Musnick, is a sports and internal medicine physician at the Sports Medicine Clinic in Seattle and at the Northwest Center for Environmental Medicine in Bellevue, Wash.

The doctor and trainer are a near-perfect combination to discuss outdoor conditioning.

The cover is a fantastic motivator in itself. It shows a mountain runner in full stride and midair.

Here's a sampling of some of the book's general activity/health suggestions:

Even if you are not exercising, you need eight glasses of liquid a day — more to replace exercising in hot weather. Your urine should be light or clear or you are not drinking enough liquid.

Drink frequently, even in cold weather.

We live in a time when soils are depleted of minerals and vitamins. Thus, supplements are a good idea.

Food cravings are one of the biggest obstacles to maintaining a healthy weight. Eat snacks and meals that prolong blood-sugar levels because a drop in blood sugar triggers cravings. The usual breakfast (hot drink and a bagel or scone) and salads for lunch lead to quick declines in blood sugar. Sweets won't work either. Try protein bars, apples, celery or nuts.

Supplements containing L-carnitine can help burn fats while exercising.

E-mail: lynn@desnews.com