A human body is designed for--and craves--so much more than modern living demands of it. We all know about the trouble a body has when we learn to ignore its pleas for sustaining nourishment and exercise.

My mother made sure I received proper nutrition when I was a child. She also made sure my shoes fit properly, that I was always dressed correctly for the weather, and that I received medical attention when I needed it. I'm grateful to her for that care. So is my body, which now operates on a solid foundation.

Beyond the dance classes that mom enrolled me in when I was six years old, and beyond the fact that my folks rarely drove me to school or any other place, I had to discover exercise on my own. My family was not physically active, nor were my friends. I hated rough-and-tumble play and contact sports, where things happened too fast for my brain to work out an appropriate response. I was a studious reader, singer, and violinist and I didn't seek opportunities for vigorous cardiovascular challenges. I dreaded gym class. Breathing hard made me cough and running made my legs shaky. I loathed that I had to walk everywhere I went or that I had to ride one of my family's three bicycles to orchestra rehearsals out at Weber State College, my violin and music strapped awkardly and precariously to the handlebars.

A high-school phys ed class in modern dance changed all that. It helped me develop flexibility. It let me compete against myself instead of the knees and elbows of other girls. I loved it. It was the first PE class in which I excelled. It involved music. It was fun, creative, and made me feel beautiful and graceful.

Still, I haven't always adhered to sensible fitness. During my senior high school year and for a couple of years beyond, I took an unfortunate detour around fitness with an affliction with cigarettes--oops--but that didn't last long and was cured, with but a two-year relapse, by bicycling and yoga. Business travel, school, vacations, fatigue, emotional turmoil, and boredom have derailed me--sometimes for years on end. Still, I've been lucky always to return to the habits of fitness. More than any other factor, it's fitness that supports my backward living. These pages tell of my adventures in staying healthy.