If you are physically fit, in your twenties or thirties, and would rather walk your dog than drive your car, Windsor at Shirlington Village may have just the apartment for you. This is not to say that if you are a couch potato, younger or older, or really prefer cats, that you wouldn't be happy there--you just might be in the minority.

What first draws people to this 404-unit Arlington apartment complex is its proximity to Shirlington's shops and restaurants.

"Half of our traffic comes from people who see the little village and say, "Oh, I wish I could live here," said David Petner, a marketing representative for Windsor.

Walk half a block to a seven-screen movie theater and a tad farther to a bookstore, a toy shop, a hair salon, several gift shops, a small live theater and enough restaurants to suit almost any taste.

There is no grocery or drugstore within walking range, but both are reached with a five-minute car ride.

About 10 percent of Windsor residents are short-term renters--either on business or in transition between homes.

"I'm not big on cooking for myself, so the village is perfect," said Stu Polk, a campaign worker who is in the area at least through the primaries and, depending on how well his candidate fares, possibly through November. "This is one of the few places that could accommodate me quickly."

The location "is great when you have family visiting," said Jeff Smith, who has lived at Windsor for seven years. "Just walk down the street, pick out a restaurant and grab a movie." He likes avoiding what he refers to as the craziness and gridlock of traffic.

As you approach on South Randolph Street, the Windsor presents a striking six-story facade that camouflages exterior corridors that snake through the complex. Step outside your door on a blustery morning and the wind-tunnel effect will wake you up immediately.

Each apartment features a washer and dryer, an alarm system and a covered patio or balcony. Eight three-bedroom units offer a built-in counter-top barbecue grill in the kitchen. Some units have sunken living rooms.

Tucked away throughout the complex are a half-dozen private courtyards where it is easy to forget that Interstate 395 looms only a construction site away. Work on the site, where there will be an eight-story office building by 2001, may break the outdoor tranquillity for a while. The payoff will be the addition of a few more shops on that building's ground floor.

Ron Rosenbaum, whose apartment overlooks the village on one side and the pool courtyard on the other, said: "It's a great location, and I don't have to pay extra for the gym."

That 7,000-square-foot gym is a big draw for many at Windsor. Open to residents only, the center blends state-of-the-art equipment with a couple of comfy couches. One popular feature is the indoor racquetball court. Residents said they like the convenience of the indoor center because it opens at 5 a.m., allowing the truly dedicated can get in a workout before heading to work.

Brochures highlight a Jacuzzi, but that is being phased out. "Arlington County regulations make it impossible to maintain," said Michele Dooling, senior property manager. "We're required to have someone sitting there all the time it's in use and to monitor the water quality every hour." A survey is underway to determine the most popular use for the hot-tub space.

Pets are welcome, and not just the wee ones that swim around in a tank or sing from a perch. "We accept pets up to 60 pounds," the brochure says. "There aren't any dogs under 60 pounds here," a resident said.

Dooling said that people with large dogs are given ground-floor apartments, with upper levels going to those with smaller animals. Even residents who don't have pets seem to enjoy having them around. Lee Mebel loves animals and said, "I'm always willing to help take care of someone's pet."

It is possible to function without a car at Windsor. In addition to the adjacent village, there is free shuttle service to and from the Pentagon Metro, L'Enfant Plaza and Union Station. Steve Drummond said that when he and friends want to have an evening out in the city, they usually call a cab.

Drummond, a district manager for Johnson & Johnson, lived at the Windsor from 1994 to 1996 before being transferred to New York. When a promotion had him returning to the Washington area, it took him all of 15 minutes to present his boss with his new address. "I knew right where I was moving back to," he said.

Even the short-term residents are impressed with the clientele at Windsor.

Donn Philpot, whose family is waiting for their new Alexandria home to be completed, recently was awakened at 2 a.m. by music blaring from a nearby apartment. "I was angry," he said, "so I sent them a note, not sure how they would react." The next day, he not only received a very apologetic note back but also a personal visit and a batch of muffins from the culprits.

Praise also goes to the office staff. Many of the kudos center on prompt responses to requests and concerns. A six-month survey is sent to new residents, and the responses, anonymous or not, go to Windsor's regional headquarters.

WINDSOR AT SHIRLINGTON VILLAGE

3000 S. Randolph St.

Arlington, Va. 22206

703-379-4141

* Application fee: $45 per person, nonrefundable

* Security deposit: $99, refundable; $200 to $350 nonrefundable decorating fee

* Lease term: One year standard; short-term leases available for additional monthly premium

* Utilities: Electricity not included

* Amenities: Outdoor pool, indoor fitness center and racquetball court, free shuttle service, clubhouse

* Parking: One underground garage space per apartment included; additional spaces available at $55 per month per car

* Pet policy: Pets up to 60 pounds welcome, limit of two pets per apartment. $500 deposit ($300 refundable) plus $25 a month per pet

APARTMENT SIZE--QUANTITY--SQUARE FEET--MONTHLY RENTAL

1 BR--162--560 to 840--$964 to $1,100

2 BR/1 BA--59--975--$1,264 to $1,350

2 BR/2 BA--146--1,100 to 1,185--$1,319 to $1,565

3 BR/2 BA--37--1,174 to 1,387--$1,544 to 1,775

CAPTION: Playing in the snow at Windsor at Shirlington Village are Ron Rosenbaum, his 3-month-old dachshund, Sydney, and Brittany Schwoebel.