Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Please, Sir, I want some more...

I am a man of now, a man of convenience and innovation. I can’t begin to imagine the world before the introduction of many of the modern comforts that we enjoy. But at what point to we say enough is enough? Innovation and convenience are double edged swords; they accompany higher efficiencies for less effort and the possibility of more free-time as a result. But with these ‘conveniences’ comes an implied responsibility to employ your resulting free-time with worthwhile activities.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have attended a few instructor led classes at a local fitness center with my wife. First, let it be known that she is hard core! I have survived all the classes, but she attends these on a weekly basis and completes all the routines as directed; me not so much; so, you know who the ‘cardio-nancy’ in our family is. Any physical activity is good for your heart and beneficial to your muscles and bones and should be encouraged. Not everyone has to go to the gym to exercise, but it is a sole-purpose destination designated to being healthy; outdoor activities and home workouts can also be an enjoyable.

Americans used to be more active when cars, microwaves, laptops, one-stop-shopping grocery stores, cell phones, and the internet did not exist. People would get their exercise by working and doing the things that were required to get on in life. We have become such a service oriented nation that the average person can either have most things done for you or do it without getting up from your computer. I’m not saying that this is a bad thing. But what have we become because of it? Americans are fat! The National Center for Health Statistics [1] released a study that we are all going to die prematurely. Well not all of us, just more than 66%. That is the percent of Americans aged 20 – 74 that are either overweight or obese. This represents more than a 10% increase over the previous 15 years. Based on the 2000 US Census, that translates to 187 million people, 90 million of which are clinically obese!

Innovation and laziness have brought us here. Fast food in general is a good concept. I know that there are times when it is already dinner time and we have not made anything and the go-to is a stop at one of our favorite fast food joints. It is the regular indulgence (daily or more than once a day) of these foods that tends to have more damaging effects. These foods tend to be higher in fat and sodium and lower in useable vitamin and mineral content; couple that with cable and satellite television with their hundreds of channels of American Idol and Dancing with the Stars reruns and you have a disaster. There is no longer any reason to leave the couch.

I also know that this is a sensitive topic. I believe that people should be able to do what they want (within reason) and have their own opinions accordingly. But it just seems with all the problems with insurance companies, hospital bureaucracy, and prescription costs that a little physical activity and some consumption restraint could alleviate some of those issues and improve ones quality of life. I for one do not like the direction that the graphs are going and it’s time to make a change; for you or your significant other, family, and friends.

1 comment:

Allison Claire said...

It is true, Americans are fat. And I have been fighting with a bunch of them about Prop 8 this morning! You do a good job in the classes, most guys wouldn't even try! I like our little stick family over there. :)