Since the 1960s, my experiences as a clinician, professor, and researcher, as well as a parent, have taught me much about the connection between mental vitality and physical fitness. Throughout my career, I have been intrigued by interactions among play, creativity, self-esteem, gender identity, body image, physique variations, exercise styles, and eating patterns. A great deal of my research and writing has centered on how parents can contribute to the fitness and wellness of their children while at the same time enhancing their own lives. During the last two decades, my interests have increasingly focused on how men and women are able to get and stay fit not just on a short-term basis but throughout adulthood.
In my clinical activities, I have been especially impressed with the benefits of enjoyable fitness endeavors in alleviating anxiety, depression, and body image insecurities. Whether or not they are in therapy, individuals are more likely to successfully deal with their problems by getting and staying in shape. Moreover, developing a personally meaningful exercise routine can be a catalyst for giving up other unhealthy habits as well as for improving family relationships. Pleasurable fitness endeavors are highly effective in promoting wellness and mental vitality at any stage of life.
Creative Fitness integrates exercise, nutrition, and health research within an applied developmental psychological framework. Readers are presented with ways of making fitness an enjoyable and positive force in their daily lives. Although a major focus is on how to get in shape, the primary mission is to en-