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The Healthy Skeptic Book Review: The No Sweat Exercise Plan by Harvey B. Simon, M.D.

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The No Sweat Exercise Plan by Harvey B. Simon, M. D. -– an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School –- is the best book that I have read on the subject of health and fitness for the masses.

When I review a book that I like and recommend to people –- as opposed to a book I hate — I try not to reveal too much about its contents. If me and my big mouth tell you all of the good things that are contained in Dr. Simon’s book you might have less of a reason to spend your money on this excellent book, and take money out of the good doctor’s pocket as a result. Not only does Doc Simon deserve praise for his book, he’s entitled to make some dough as well.

First I want to address the minor criticisms that I have with this book so I can spend the rest of my time –- and yours –- praising the work of Dr. Simon and his colleagues at the Harvard Medical School.

The biggest problem with The No Sweat Exercise Plan has nothing to do with anything that is contained inside the book, but is with the title itself. I don’t like it. I think the materials that make up this book deserve a much better title. Can’t these eggheads at Harvard come up with something a little better than this? What is that you say? Why don’t I come up with a better title? Well I didn’t go to Harvard. I’m being a smart ass, but I am serious about not liking the title.

This great book warrants a better title, a more descriptive and less gimmicky sounding title. Dr. Simon’s position –- which is backed up by oodles and oodles of scientific research –- is that low intensity exercise is actually more beneficial to most people than high intensity exercise. I agree with Dr. Simon’s position that doing chores around the house, walking during a round of golf, walking up stairs and taking small walks throughout the day are all forms of “non-gym based exercise” that can make you healthier and happier … but they will make you sweat as will most forms of activity done at the proper level. You get the idea. And once you read the book –- which you should -– you’ll understand what I’m saying. But again, this is a minor quibble.

Of the remaining other nits that I would pick with Dr. Simon about his book, the only one worth mentioning is that he oversells the low intensity aspect of this program to such an extent that people may wind up doing less than they are capable of, and as a result not get the most out of this excellent program. In the overall scheme of things, this is hair-splitting.

Besides these two points the only other things that I take issue with would be boring and pedantic to anyone not “in the business.”

So let’s get back to why you should buy this book.

Most health, fitness and nutrition books recycle the same information – info that can be found in many other places for free – and give you little in the way of original content. However, The No Sweat Exercise Plan – geez I hate that title – is loaded with info that you won’t find in other places – at least not in the places that are easy to find. Dr. Simon brings us up to date with regard to the state of research as it pertains to exercise, health and longevity.

The No Sweat Exercise Plan is a great reference book – Dr. Simon has compiled the results of the most significant exercise/health benefits studies done to date – and can be the roadmap that starts you on the way to living a healthy lifestyle.

This book is a must-read for those of you who are sedentary. If you have no intentions of starting an exercise program this book will help you to change your point of view. You don’t have an excuse for being lazy or too tired or too busy. And deep down you know that you need to exercise. Life’s too short to go through it sick, or to shorten it even more by inactivity and apathy of the self. Ooh, “apathy of the self,” I like that.

This book is a must read for you if you want to exercise but don’t know how to start. The No Sweat Exercise Plan will give you everything that you’ll need to know in order to change your life.

This book is also a must read for those of you who are killing yourself in the gym and have a hard time keeping up the grueling pace that far too many “fitness gurus” recommend. If you already have the motivation to live a healthy lifestyle but are frustrated by the lack of results that come from your high intensity program, Dr. Simon’s book will help you to focus your efforts, enjoy your workouts and save yourself wasted time and energy, all while reaping the benefits from exercise. How can you go wrong?

People need to realize that research has always indicated low to moderate levels of exercise – performed properly and regularly – can provide benefits that improve and extend life and provides preventative health benefits. What’s happened is that too many people involved in the fitness business have decided to sell people a bill of goods, in that you need to pound yourself into a pulp for health’s sake.

This is not to say that high intensity exercise isn’t beneficial. But high intensity exercise should be a choice that people make, not a necessity. Unfortunately, too many people – both fitness pros and fitness fanatics alike – have made high intensity exercise de rigueur.

This book should be required reading for fitness professionals and fitness fanatics. As someone who has worked in the field for almost 20 years I can say this with 100% certainty. Too many of “us” have told too many of “you” that you have to turn into exercise-obsessed zombies in order to achieve health and wellness. Too many fitness nuts out there have become obsessed with exercise – and the pursuit of exercise – to the point where they measure their self-worth by how much they do and how often that they do it. I have lost a fair share of clients over the years that insisted that they needed to kill themselves in order to get into shape, to be healthy. I don’t believe in that and I never have. The No Sweat Exercise Plan will act as a much-needed slap in the face to the exercise obsessed.

So go out and by this book; you’ll be happy you did, and so will Dr. Simon.

Eight and a half stars out of ten.

Sal Marinello is a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach and Certified Personal Trainer, a U.S.A. Weightlifting Certified Coach, a full-time, private Professional Strength and Conditioning Coach, an assistant football coach and a Head Strength Coach for a suburban New Jersey High School. He has no free time and writes a lot.

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About Sal Marinello

  • This article has been selected for syndication to Advance.net, which is affiliated with newspapers around the United States. Nice work!