NEW PALTZ — “The Woman’s Guide to Peak Performance: The Ultimate Reference for All Levels of Fitness” (Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts, 1998. $21.95. 470pp.) is a comprehensive new sourcebook for women of every age and one which recognizes the diversity in female lifestyles, their levels of fitness and their exercise routines. The authors are three physically active women–all State University of New York faculty members–who throughout their lives have managed to continue to exercise despite the obligations of home, education, and career. Not only do they view exercise as a necessity, but they have come to understand that, at least for women, the Af@ in fitness must stand for Afun.@
Adelaide Haas and Susan Puretz, two of the authors, are current and former faculty at SUNY New Paltz. Donna Meltzer, the third author, is on the faculty at SUNY Stony Brook.
“The Women’s Guide to Peak Performance” is dedicated to the female body and shows–through illustrations, charts and other examples–how every woman can get started on an exercise program and be able to maintain it while juggling commitments of work, relationships and parenting. Each information-packed chapter is enriched by the contributions of hundreds of women exercisers who completed a detailed questionnaire or participated in personal interviews. These women range in age from 14 to 81.
For beginners, the book is a valuable tool for setting realistic goals. For those who desire to go a step farther, it describes and maps the path from beginner to competitor. In addition, it provides suggestions for selecting appropriate equipment and clothing, especially for the female athlete.
The Surgeon General’s report on Physical Activity and Health, which was released in 1996, indicated that 60 percent of Americans do not engage in regular exercise, and 25 percent of adults do not exercise at all. From the teen years onward, women, more so than men, are more likely to be sedentary, and the situation worsens as women age.
Adelaide Haas is a professor in the department of communication disorders at SUNY New Paltz, where she has taught for more than 35 years. She earned her doctorate in speech pathology at Columbia University. She is a feminist scholar and an amateur dancer, runner, skier, biker, swimmer, and hiker who has long recognized the importance of having an exercise guide geared to women.
Susan Puretz is the former chair of the Division of Health and Physical Education at SUNY New Paltz. She taught courses in health, fitness and dance for more than 20 years and she keeps fit through hiking, running, swimming, equestrianism, and dance.
Donna Meltzer is a board certified family physician at SUNY Stony Brook, where she is the director of obstetrics and the associate director of the residency training program in the department of family medicine. She is an avid runner and cyclist who also enjoys cross country skiing and kayaking. Dr. Meltzer has a long-standing interest in sports and wilderness medicine and women’s health issues.
Ariel Booksellers of New Paltz will host a publicity party for Puretz and Haas on April 3, beginning at 5 p.m. Ariel Booksellers is located at 3 Plattekill Avenue, on the corner of Main Street. Poet and writer Lorna Tychostup will read a collection of quotations which appear throughout the book.
This is the second book of which Haas and Puretz have collaborated. The first, “The Women’s Guide to Hysterectomy,” was published in 1995, also by Celestial Arts. That 294-page soft-cover book is both a practical catalog of the latest medical information, as well as much needed reassurance for anyone facing a hysterectomy. It was written from their firsthand experiences with hysterectomies, as well as nearly three years of extensive research.