A new book gives voice to women's experiences of exercise, and examines the fitness industry, and the media's role in helping or hindering their pursuit of fitness and well-being

From boot camp to step aerobics, yoga to martial arts, women have been pummelled by the fitness industry and messages in the media to exercise in pursuit of the pervasive fit, feminine ideal: to look young, thin and toned.

A new book, Women and Exercise: The Body, Health and Consumerism edited by Pirkko Markula, a socio-cultural scholar at the University of Alberta, sheds light on the complex relationships between women and exercise. It's a timely publication considering Statistics Canada's alarming findings from its recently published Canadian Health Measures Survey, showing that women exercise less than men, and only 14 per cent of Canadians accumulate the minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise.

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