Fit For Life

More than ever, American kids need to exercise. The Rx: a kinder--and healthier--"New PE"

On a Monday morning in early November, fitness fanatics, connected to computers featuring personalized workout data, pedal on stationary bikes. Nearby, several people scale a rock-climbing wall. All wear heart monitors on their wrists and gold-and-black T shirts bearing the logo of their facility, the Madison Health Club. As one biker gets caught up in watching the presidential candidates duke it out on TV, her heart-rate monitor starts beeping. "Oops," she says, embarrassed to draw the attention of her teacher. "That means I'm out of my target zone."

Most fitness centers, of course, don't require members to wear heart-rate monitors to...

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