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    Andy Garcia Puts Family First

    Marriage and family may be his top priority, but the actor and director still manages to find time to grow as an artist and practice the hot Hollywood fitness trend Pilates.

    Pilates for a Healthy Back continued...

    In fact, Pilates -- which focuses on core muscles that keep the body balanced and support the spine -- is an excellent antidote for back pain and is a good way to prevent it, says William C. Lauerman, MD, a professor of orthopedic surgery and chief of the spine surgery division at Georgetown University Medical Center. He recommends Pilates for his patients who have scoliosis and disc problems, whether or not they have had surgery.

    "It is a core and trunk muscle strengthening regimen," Lauerman says. "You basically build up all of those muscles in the core of your trunk, and it unloads the strain on the discs in the spine."

    And for Garcia, Pilates also has the benefit of keeping his back in prime shape for hitting the fairway. "Pilates seems to be essential to keeping a healthy back," he says, "especially if you want to play golf once a week."

    An Active Father

    He and Marivi are both excellent cooks; they prefer making simple Italian and Cuban dishes, such as spaghetti carbonara and black beans. The two have been married for nearly 25 years, and he likes to tell the story of meeting her at a club and proposing that very night. "She claims I proposed to everybody that night, but it's not true," he says, deadpan. "And even if it was, that doesn't matter, because she was the one I married."

    In a home where there is no such thing as down time, the actor plays a role in the lives of each family member. The Garcias live in Los Angeles and have three daughters -- Dominik, 23; Daniella, 19; and Alessandra, 16, who all currently live at home. As for the 5-year-old train buff, Andres, he accompanies Dad to L.A. Lakers games, on fishing trips, and to the golf course. Garcia also coaches his son's T-ball team.

    Garcia has always been active. Back when he was a boy in Miami he played a lot of basketball (as point guard) and baseball, and he had hopes of taking his athleticism beyond high school. But now he dismisses such ideas as pie-in-the-sky fantasies of a teenager. "Every young athlete has illusions of being a professional athlete," he says, laughing softly. "Certainly, we all grow up with those."

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