Health & Fitness: A National Obsession the U.S. Turns on to Exercise

At the dawning there were isolated stragglers, determinedly circling suburban high school tracks or pacing through city parks. Most Americans did not suppose these were the harbingers of a U.S. craze. But by the end of the 1970s joggers were everywhere, all seemingly in training for the marathon. Other citizens, plunging into alternate activities, were equally fervid. Swimmers boasted of laps completed, cyclists of long-distance touring, and weight lifters of pounds pressed. Today Americans live in a land where fit is proper. Strut your sweat. The majority, who remain woefully unfit, are now the ones who feel out of step; shamefacedly,...

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