Monday, May 7, 2007

Startling Infomation About Fitness

Constantly, we are hearing it in the news that there are more people that are obese than ever before. In fact, almost 65% of the U.S. population is considered to be overweight or obese. But at what cost is there to you if you fall in this category?

To begin, it will cost you about 37.7% more money in healthcare cost compared to someone of normal weight. You will spend more time at the doctor’s office due to diseases such as Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, cancer, and heart disease, just to name a few.

If you’re an employer think about the cost to you. Increased absenteeism, higher healthcare premiums, and high turnover. According to CNN Money, “one study found that businesses lose $47.6 billion annually due to indirect cost of obesity, such as lost productivity and higher absenteeism among excessively overweight workers.” Interestingly, a health promotion program perceived to be expensive would cost them much less.

As an individual, let’s go beyond the cost in dollars. The cost of quality of life is far greater. Recently, in Smart Money Magazine they featured an article called Live Long and Prosper. The article talked about 3 components that one must include in their life to “live long and prosper.”

First, you must eat right. This does not mean that you must go on a diet. “Diet” is a four-letter word. It has a different meaning than it used to. Everyone is on a diet. But if you’re on a diet of pizzas, ice cream, and French fries, you are not going to fair as well as a person on a diet of raw vegetables, fruits, and lean meats.

We have heard every thing is to be blamed. Dr. Atkins says its carbohydrates. Others say it’s fat. However, it appears to be all the above. It seems as if it doesn’t come from a box, a plastic wrapper, or through a drive through window, no one will eat it. The truth of it is, that moderation, variety, and balance are the key elements. It’s “okay to have your cake and eat it too.” That’s only after you eat what is naturally grown as the staple of your meal plan. You need these natural foods to fight obesity, cancer, heart disease, and many other diseases.

The second component that you should incorporate is cardiovascular exercise. This does not mean to do the “mall paced walk” you so often see on the sidewalk, or of course, in the mall. Instead, you have to walk briskly enough to break a sweat and get the heart rate up. Consistency is most important. Cardiovascular activity should be done 3-5 times per week, at a duration of 30-45 minutes. It should not be based on distance (i.e. 2 miles), but time. Keeping the intensity up will help you burn more calories and improve your cardiovascular health.

Last, but definitely not least is weight lifting. Unfortunately, this component is most often overlooked. Most people are either intimidated, fear that it will “bulk them up,” or simply don’t like the thought of lifting weights. Yet, it is the only form of exercise that helps you burn calories at rest. Cardiovascular exercise helps you burn more calories as you’re doing it, but weight lifting helps you burn more calories as you are sitting behind that desk. This is due to increased muscle tone. Three additional pounds of muscle can help you burn an additional 10,000 calories a month! Weight lifting should be performed 2-3 times a week, involving all major muscle groups. It can prevent and decrease obesity, osteoporosis, arthritis, injuries to joints and muscles, low back pain, and so on.

Do it for the right reasons. To feel good about yourself, improve your quality of life, and save money. They say, “Patience is a virtue.” Stay committed and set realistic goals. And, most important of all, don’t wait another day. Start now! -Randy Zarecki

Visit Fitness Together to find more information and to contact the staff to help you get started on improving your health.

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