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ACSM Health/Fitness Summit 2002
Orlando, Florida

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I just returned from this year's American College of Sports Medicine Health/Fitness Summit.  This is the largest gathering of fitness professionals in the country each year.  The ACSM brings the top researchers, educators, and program leaders from around the country to present workshops, interactive classes, and lectures on a wide variety of fitness-related topics from sports medicine to mind/body.  Nothing energizes me like the ACSM Summit...it's one of the highlights of my year professionally and personally.  I get so much energy from attending plus great ideas that I can use when I get back home with my clients and students.

This year's buzz was the dramatic increase in obesity!  Health and fitness professionals are extremely concerned about the rapid increase in American obesity the last 15+ years.  There is NO plateau in the ascending curve--this is the most grave concern.  Without an end in site, it's only going to get worse before it gets better.  What's the answer?  Eat better and get some exercise!  No rocket science here...no magic pill...just a common sense approach to lifestyle choices.  Sounds simple doesn't it?  However, I'm amazed at how much psychology factors into exercise.  

I learned a lot at the summit about exercise barriers people bring into an exercise program--hang-ups about body image, previous failures to exercise regularly, bad experiences with "dumb jock" instructors, etc.  It's sad that people have so many problems with exercise, but I'm hoping to keep learning more about how I can help improve a person's exercise experience and their adherence to regular exercise.  There are some great new programs and ideas out there for giving people a really high chance for success--at ANY fitness level or age!  You don't have to be an athlete to exercise!  Exercise is for everyone--young, old, fit, or unfit.  One of the best experiences at the Summit was trying a Nia class with Dr. Deborah Kern.  The Nia technique is a mind/body program that combines dance, martial arts, and free movement flow to create a truly pleasant and joyful experience. 

Ron Jones
April 2002

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