Despite the fact that a third of all adults are trying to lose weight at any given time, Americans continue to get fatter. Although we spend 30 billion dollars each year on weight loss products and promotions, as a nation we are gaining weight at an unprecedented rate. The solution is so simple that we are collectively ignoring it and looking past the obvious. We need to PLAY.
Think about it: our predecessors were much more active than we are today. Since there were fewer convenient ways to get our day-to-day chores done, we expended many more calories in almost every task. Even something like washing dishes, doing laundry and other general household chores took more time, and involved more physical activity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a HUGE fan of anything that makes my life easier. I can’t help but wonder, however, what price will be paid for all this “easier.”
I think we fool ourselves by looking at an increase in the life expectancy numbers as an indication that we’re doing things right. Yes, we are living longer … much longer. But what is our quality of life like? Are we living longer just so we can pay enormous health care bills, and take several medications and still not feel well? Are we living longer at home, or in skilled nursing facilities? Are our researchers focused enough on prevention, or on prolonging our miserable disease-ridden lives?
Sports and exercise could help with the reduction and subsequent eradication of preventable chronic problems like obesity. Obesity seems to be a major cause of most of what the population currently suffers from. If we would reverse our attitude about exercise and look at it as a life-saving, fun activity instead of a bothersome chore, we would keep our life expectancy numbers up, enjoy our modern conveniences, and still have the quality of life that we all want.
How do we change our attitude? I’m not really sure. For some of us, it might be too late. Or we could take a lesson from children. I saw a commercial about a program that the National Football League has put together. The suggestion is that children play (actively) for at least sixty minutes a day, every day. This is what I’m talking about … structure without bondage. I know so many people who decide to join the new, large gym with all the latest equipment, and then spend the next year making excuses why they can’t get there. Our lives are too full of business (or busy-ness) to take care of that we are neglecting the fact that we can’t get anything done well if we are not well.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes a list of diseases that are considered to be related to being overweight and inactive.
- Coronary heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- High cholesterol
You can see the entire article on their website at: http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/causes/health.html . So, we have the data, we know how to play … what keeps us from doing it? It’s time for some soul-searching. What are your reasons for not taking the best care of YOU that you can? What do you think your health will be like in 10 years if you don’t exercise now? If you do exercise now, do you think you will continue?
Challenge: let’s all try to find some sport or other form of exercise that we enjoy, and just get up and PLAY, and prevent chronic disease.