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The No Sweat Exercise Plan
by Harvey B. Simon. M.D.
2006

no sweat exercise plan by harvey simon md Be active. Eat well and avoid trans fats and refined carbohydrates. Sounds more like common sense than a fitness program. But if that's so, then the majority of Americans must lack common sense since they aren't active and don't eat right. Obviously that's too harsh. The truth is that while a fit lifestyle isn't rocket science, it does need organization and direction to work. That's where Dr. Harvey Simon comes in. Simon, an associate professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School, has created a plan for people who think they have to eat a restrictive diet and sweat buckets to get and stay fit. Dr. Simon shows up this belief as the myth it really is and points out that the average person only needs to 1) come up with small ways to be more active to improve his or her health, and 2) that a few guidelines and modifications will make all the difference in eating well. And his book offers direction to help you figure it all out.

Dr. Simon uses a point system to help you keep track of your activity, and the good news is that a lot of what you do during the day — gardening, housework, walking the dog, shopping, etc. — counts toward your weekly activity goals. And if you hate the gym, that's fine — there are loads of other suggestions Dr. Simon has for exercise. Staying fit is as simple as walking, taking the stairs, playing Frisbee or dancing (and not necessarily cardio dancing either — ballroom dancing counts too). To see where your fitness level currently stands, there is a self-assessment test. From there you can organize your activity/ exercise plan.

In addition to the activity recommendations, Dr. Simon also points out that staying fit requires four elements: cardiometabolic exercise (CME), strength training, flexibility and balance. While he emphasizes the importance of CME, he also points out that to stay fit as you age, you need to pay attention to the other 3 elements too. Again, health club haters will be happy because all the exercises can be done at home. (Of course, if you enjoy working out at a gym, you are welcome to join one!) Added all together, these elements create a "No Sweat" pyramid that can be modified according to your needs, whether you're already fit, looking to drop a few pounds, or just trying to get off the couch.

Dr. Simon doesn't give much space to nutrition, other than to point out that calories matter, and to offer suggestions on how to make sure you are eating well enough. This is primarily a book about exercise. And it's probably one of the least intimidating books on exercise out there. If you're looking for a way to fit exercise into your life without having to be a jock — if "no pain, no gain" makes you want to roll over and go back to sleep — Dr. Simon's method is what you've been looking for.

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