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Active Living Every Day, 3rd ed.

Author: Blair SN, Dunn AL, Marcus BH, et al.
Category: Healthy Lifestyle
Audience: Consumer
Length: 179 pages
Publisher: Human Kinetics
  Year Published: 2021
List Price: $49.95® Rating: Excellent!

Active Living Every Day, 3rd ed. provides guidance to consumers on how to add more exercise and physical activity into their weekly routine. It evolved from materials used in a research study called "Project Active." The 2nd ed. was published in 2011. The 1st ed. was published in 2001. Over 45,000 copies of this book have been sold worldwide.

Recommended for: All adults who wish to improve and maintain their health!


Steven N. Blair, PED, FACSM, FAHA, certainly has the credentials to author a book on how physical activity can improve and maintain health. Currently, he is a distinguished Professor Emeritus in the departments of exercise science and epidemiology at the University of South Carolina. Previously, he was a leading researcher at The Cooper Institute in Dallas, TX. Dr. Blair has published more than 700 scientific papers and book chapters. His publications have been cited more than 60,000 times. He is one of the most widely recognized exercise researchers in the world. He is one of only a few individuals outside the US Public Health Service to receive the Surgeon General's Medallion.

Andrea L. Dunn, PhD, is an emeritus senior scientist from Klein Buendel in Colorado. Prior to this, she was an investigator at The Cooper Institute in Dallas. In 2012, Dr. Dunn was named the Dorothy Harris Memorial Scholar by Penn State University's department of kinesiology. In 2017, she received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Georgia. She is a Fellow in the American College of Sports Medicine and the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

Bess Marcus, PhD, is a clinical health psychologist. She is currently a Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Brown University. Her work focuses on promoting physical activity in underserved and vulnerable populations. She has published over 275 papers and book chapters, and 3 books on this topic. Dr. Marcus is a member of the board of directors for the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance, and the editorial board for the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.

Ruth Ann Carpenter, MS, RDN, received a Masters degree in applied nutrition, with additional coursework in exercise physiology from Penn State University. She obtained a second Masters degree in instructional systems and online learning. She worked for 22 years at The Cooper Institute in Dallas. She has authored 6 consumer books and 15 research papers in nutrition, physical activity, weight management, and health promotion.

Peter Jaret, MA, is an award-winning journalist. He writes about health, science, food, and the environment. His work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, National Geographic, Newsweek and other publications. In 1992 he received an award from the American Medical Association for medical reporting. In 1998 and again in 2008, he received the James Beard award for journalism. He earned his Bachelors degree from Northwestern University and his Masters degree in English and American Literature from the University of Virginia.


This 179-page book is organized as follows:

  • Chapter 1: Ready, Set, Go
  • Chapter 2: Finding Opportunities for Activity
  • Chapter 3: Overcoming Challenges
  • Chapter 4: Setting Goals and Rewards
  • Chapter 5: Gaining Confidence
  • Chapter 6: Enlisting Support
  • Chapter 7: Avoiding Pitfalls
  • Chapter 8: Step by Step
  • Chapter 9: Defusing Stress
  • Chapter 10: Finding New Opportunities to Be Active
  • Chapter 11: Positive Planning
  • Chapter 12: Making Lasting Changes


  • Appendix A: Stages on the Way to Becoming Active
  • Appendix B: 2020 PAR-Q
  • Appendix C: Energy Expenditure Chart
  • Appendix D: Forms for Progressing Toward an Active Lifestyle


Chapter 1: This chapter asks readers to add up how much time they spend sitting and being inactive. It then prompts them to begin thinking about identifying health goals.

Chapter 2: This chapter briefly explains the difference between moderate exercise and vigorous exercise and offers tips on how to stay motivated.

Chapter 3: This chapter addresses common reasons why people don't exercise and offers suggestions for overcoming those obstacles.

Chapter 4: This chapter is about setting achievable goals. It also encourages readers to give themselves small rewards for reaching those goals.

Chapter 5: This chapter focuses on the amount of calories burned by different activities.

Chapter 6: This chapter is about motivation. It encourages readers to find support from friends and online.

Chapter 7: This chapter discusses reasons why an exercise routine can't be maintained: injuries, travel requirements, holidays, weather. It offers possible ways to deal with those set-backs.

Chapter 8: This chapter looks at counting steps. It discusses fitness apps and wearable devices. These technologies are only mentioned in a general, the authors do not recommend or endorse any specific products.

Chapter 9: This chapter discusses sources of stress and how to deal with it.

Chapter 10: This chapter identifies several other strategies to keep motivated: sports leagues, dance classes, home-exercise equipment.

Chapter 11: This chapter circles back to making a working plan and sticking to it.

Chapter 12: This chapter prompts readers to reflect on their accomplishments after pursuing an exercise/activity plan for several months.

Other details:

Photos & Illustrations: This 3rd edition of Active Living Every Day contains lots of full-color photos of people exercising and being active. These do a good job of enhancing the message to be active.

Tables & Graphs: Each chapter contains useful forms and checklists. The book could be used as a workbook, or these forms could be photocopied. Several tables and one graph appear. These are presented legibly.

Documentation / Accuracy: The authors are leading experts. Thus, this is a science-based book. Research citations -- from 2 to 10 per chapter -- appear at the end of the book.

What I Liked About This Book:

This book evolved from materials used during a research study called "Project Active" 20 years ago. This study showed that regular people were more likely to exercise and be active when it was part of their lifestyle, as opposed to joining a gym to work-out. This book contains many of the forms and educational/motivational concepts that have been proven to be effective during the ensuing 20 years. Thus, it is science-based. Nevertheless, it is succinct and not difficult to comprehend. It has a good Index.

What Could Be Better:

Dozens of times throughout the manuscript, the reader is referred to "ALED Online," however, the web URL address is only listed once (in the Introduction). The 2020 PAR-Q form (Appendix B) is difficult to read and use: the font (text) size is too small. The Energy Expenditure Chart (Appendix C) needs some minor editing: Instead of being properly alphabetized in the Table, basketball, football, handball, hockey, racquetball, soccer, tennis, and volleyball all appear under the letter "P", as these activities are listed as "Playing Basketball", etc.


Active Living Every Day, 3rd ed. is succinct, yet thorough. And it is solidly science-based. This is a resource that all adults should add to their library. It will help them include more exercise and physical activities into their weekly routine. All consumers will find this book easy to read and use. I can highly recommend this book.


A related book -- "Healthy Eating Every Day" -- evolved from the "Lifestyle Nutrition Study" that was also conducted at The Cooper Institute in Dallas, TX. The 2nd edition of that book, authored by Ruth Ann Carpenter, MS, RDN, and Carrie Finley, MS, was published in 2017.

Reviewed by: Stan Reents, PharmD 2/4/2021 8:40:40 AM

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