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Fit Nation

By: Natalia Mehlman Petrzela
Narrated by: Natalia Mehlman Petrzela
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Publisher's Summary

The United States is hardly a "fit nation." Only 20 percent of Americans work out consistently, over half of gym members don't even use the facilities they pay for, and fewer than 30 percent of high school students get an hour of exercise a day. So how did fitness become both inescapable and inaccessible?

As a leading political and intellectual historian and a certified fitness instructor, Natalia Mehlman Petrzela is uniquely qualified to confront the complex and far-reaching implications of how our contemporary exercise culture took shape. She explores the work of working out not just as consumers have experienced it, but as it was created by performers, physical educators, trainers, instructors, and many others.

For Petrzela, fitness is a social justice issue. She argues that the fight for a more equitable exercise culture will be won only by revolutionizing fitness culture at its core, making it truly inclusive for all bodies in a way it has never been. Examining venues from the stage of the World's Fair and Muscle Beach to fat farms, feminist health clinics, radical and evangelical college campuses, yoga retreats, gleaming health clubs, school gymnasiums, and many more, Fit Nation is a revealing history that shows fitness to be not just a matter of physical health but of what it means to be an American.

©2022 Natalia Mehlman Petrzela (P)2023 Tantor

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  • Mick
  • 15-07-2023

A very interesting history of fitness in our culture.

A very interesting history of fitness in our culture. Not exactly what I was expecting, but found it very interesting. The performance is generally good, but there are some awkward pauses, and a few word stumbles.

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  • Yogi Lola
  • 12-05-2023

Fitness over 50

We’ll, I said 50 for the alliteration, but I’m actually a 72-year-old woman who has practiced yoga since the 60s, was at first excited and then disappointed by the PE movement. Started pumping iron in my late 20s, Ran a bit in my early 40s, fell in love with and taught the Body Firm method in the ‘80s, adored Jazzercise - in short, experienced just about everything in this book. Now I do Zumba and Restorative yoga (elbow injuries and arthritis), and am glad that I’ve been a lifelong exerciser mostly for the fun of it. This book is a GREAT history of fitness in America and an important call to make it accessible and equitable for all. And stop all the body judging and just let people find what they love to do. Her look at the yoga industry is spot on. So many teachers! So hard to make a living.

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