My Column

“I love Marilynn’s articles because they are informative, funny and come from a lifetime of experiences. . .wisdom loaded with inspiration and smiles.” —John G.

I dreamed up the Energy Express column in 1976, while working as a TV, film, theater critic and feature writer at my hometown paper, the Chicago Tribune.

Great job, no time for exercise. I was out of shape and I was so not alone. Fitness was just beginning to creep into the consciousness of the nation, right up there with CB radio and needlepoint. Jane Fonda was going for the burn, Jim Fixx was inspiring a running revolution, and most people thought yoga and yogurt were interchangeable terms.

At the time, I was doing a lot of thinking and writing about mind body medicine and the holistic health revolution. It occurred to me that there were many people in Readerland who would benefit from a new kind of newspaper column.

At the time, all the medical columns in newspapers were about pills and diets, headaches and hemorrhoids. I wanted to talk about the mind body connection, fitness, wellness, injury prevention, smart eating, the perils of a sedentary lifestyle and why the very last person to ask about nutrition is your doctor.

“As a former triathlete, I’m now fighting the good fight to stay fit. Your work has prodded me to explore such areas as nutrition, yoga and meditation.” —Chris C.

When I asked Mike Argirion, the Tribune’s features editor, if he’d be interested in a new kind of medical column, he asked for some samples. […and then said yes.] Forty one years later, I’m still writing it.

In the beginning, I called it “Dr. Jock,” after Dr. Spock, and wrote it Q & A style with a leading Chicago sports medicine doc named David Bachman advising me.

“I’m a runner with sore knees. . . how can I prevent tennis elbow?. . what’s the best way to lose weight?”

After David escaped to the ski mountains of Colorado I wrote the column with another sports medicine specialist in Chicago named Dr. Mitchell Sheinkop and after while, I went solo, having become a healthy lifestyle expert myself.

In 1991, I changed the name of the column to “Energy Express” to reflect the wide range of healthy lifestyle issues I now cover, including adventure travel, kid fitness, senior fitness, workplace wellness, green and conscious living, and my personal favorite, yoga. (My sister is always telling me I write way too much about yoga.)

“I hope you will refrain from adding your political views to a column I used to like.” —Mary W.

The story of this long-running column is still being written. In 1996 I became an A.C.E. personal trainer and some years later I trained as a certified Wellcoach.

And now, after more than 40 years, I’m happy to say that Energy Express has earned championship status as America’s longest running syndicated fitness column. In April, Creators Publishing comes out with my newest book, “All is Well: The Art {and Science} of Personal Well-Being.” I’m excited.

I‘ve done a few other things in my work life. I’ve written several books, more than 35 TV shows, won two Emmys, and performed on camera as the co-host of two [different] TV series.

I was the founding chair of Girls in the Game, a life changing non-profit that helps girls get the healthy lifestyle and leadership training they need to become strong, powerful women. I’ve given dozens of fitness talks and workshops, run a successful TV production company, and had two plays produced. A third is in the wings.

The one true red thread that runs through everything I’ve done and believe in is expressed in my ongoing column, and now, the new book: Stay active. Practice kindness. Eat real food. Spend time in nature. Be happy. Be grateful. Live your best life. Help others.

All is well.