Friday, February 22, 2013

What is the biggest issue? Obesity? or Lack of Fitness?

We all know that being overweight is bad for you. Your blood pressure goes up. Your cholesterol creeps up. You might start to have problems with your blood sugar levels. Plus, it's hard on your joints, affects your sleep, energy level, etc.

But which is it that is causing all that? The extra weight? or the lack of fitness which almost always accompanies obesity?

I keep seeing all this stuff about American's diet. Too much of this. Too much of that. Portions are huge. Food is too dense in calories, etc. It's all true. I'm not denying that, but...

Why do we not see much more about moving more? Getting off our butts? Why aren't there more recesses added to a kid's school day versus the fights over their school lunches? Or better gym programs? Or, here's a novel idea - Free physical activities for kids - free ballet, free soccer, free swim lessons, etc. Right now, all of that comes out of the parent's pockets to have their kids move/exercise.

Kids need to move. It would reduce the ADHD problems in schools too. Yet... recesses are getting shorter and school days are getting longer. Kids sit all day long. No one runs around the neighborhood any more. Hardly anyone walks or bikes to school any more either.

Skip to adulthood. Again, why do we always think about "I need to lose weight." "I'm getting fat." And not, "Man, I need to get in shape!" Sure, some people realize they need to work on their fitness, but most of the time people want to exercise to lose weight. If they didn't need to lose weight, they probably wouldn't think about fitness. The main reason they are exercising is to lose weight, not to get fit. Though, once they start getting fit, they might start to realize the benefits of it.

Why is that? Exercising regularly reduces stress, helps you sleep better, gives you energy AND it can reduce your blood pressure, reduce your cholesterol and help with your blood sugar levels. It can stave off all kinds of ills like osteoporosis.

Yet... even as adults we hear - eat low fat. Eat low sugar. Eat less. Ok. I can get on board with eat less, but why not start with - move more.

I look around me. I see a lot of thin people but are they healthy just because they are thin? Maybe. Maybe not. Will they be healthy well into their 80s? Maybe. Maybe not. My money is on the thinner person who is active. Then I would bet on the overweight person who is physically active and then the thinner, non-active person and all bets are off with an overweight, inactive person.  As a former member on a weight loss forum I frequent was told by his cardiologist, "Look around you X. How many old fat men do you see?"

And I can ask myself too as I look around my community. There are a lot of octogenarians in my area. A lot of them are really, really healthy. Want to know what else? They are also very, very active - golfing, walking, gardening, even tennis. Their inactive peers are in nursing homes or retirement homes, fading away.

My personal belief is that the biggest issue is fitness. And shock if you are more fit, you can control your weight better too!

Now how to convince everyone of that?

1 comment:

  1. Yes I too believe that we need to move more. I struggle with the how, being disabled does not leave a lot of options for me and I find that I sometimes become lax on my exercise routine.