Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Fit in!

The other night while channel surfing, I ran across Nightline. They had a news report about people who were getting harmed by doing too much exercise. As a former PE teacher this seemed hilarious to me. Oh, I felt sorry for the people who developed problems, but this new malady that ABC was pushing just didn't make sense.

Basically what they were raving about was that people who exercised too much could be more prone to injuries or suffer from affects of anorexia. Sure, these could be an outcomes from to much exercise, but to make it an issue worthy of national exposure went too far. 
The US may be the fattest country in the world. I believe the last report I read said about 60% of Americans were overweight.  It also said that of those, 35% were obese.  Of these fat people, men are the worst at over 70%, compared to women’s 60%.
Because of this overabundance of overweight people about 1/2 million people develop heart disease, while close to that number also suffer from diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney failure and more. The list of complications that relate to being overweight is incredible!

So a few thousand people suffering injuries from being in shape is laughable. Sorry Nightline.
Oh, I understand how news organizations have to sensationalize the news to get noticed. But blowing up something like fitness defies logic. Sensationalize all you want, but at least show some balance. Nightline did not. Oh, they briefly mentioned the obesity epidemic (yeah, I’m sensationalizing too), but it was almost like they said it under their collective breaths. 

I didn't see the whole show, so maybe I missed it, but I didn't see one interview with a doctor. If they did interview one earlier, did she say something like "oh, people need to cut back on exercise?"  I doubt it.

The real problem with reports like this though, is that I think it feeds into Americans ideas that they don't need to exercise. Oh, around the holidays when they really overeat (I mean more than they usually do, because a majority overeat all the time) they might think they need to exercise a little to work off a few of those holiday pounds. But then if they hear of reports like the one on Nightline they'll just say, "why bother? I could get injured."

It's bad enough that Americans have all sorts of other misconceptions. Things like it is natural to get fat as you age, or that if they just walk around the block once in a while it will be enough. Or that sitting at a desk for eight hours in the day is acceptable and part of American lifestyle.

For thousands of years, humans were hunters and gatherers. This meant that they moved a lot. (Exercise, if you will) they weren't naturally skinny, they were skinny because they moved a lot and didn't eat too much. This was the natural state of being. We got away from this by deciding it was okay to be sedentary. 

It is not.

I’m not saying everyone needs to go out and do intense exercise for two hours every day. However, I am saying you DO need to go out EVERY day and get some exercise. If all you can do is muster 30 minutes, then make it a good 30 minutes. And it should be as much of your daily routine as brushing your teeth (you do brush every day, right?) or eating breakfast. In other words, if you don’t exercise, you should feel that something is wrong. If you have a family—take them with you! That’s right, everyone needs to exercise as this country has a childhood obesity rate that is disgusting.

So don’t believe crazy news reports about the dangers of too much exercise. Worry more about what happens if you don’t.

Whew, the PE teacher in me just had to get that out. 
 (Yes, I exercise)

Next time, I’ll talk more about the War Between Men and Women as usual. You know, something like, women exercise to look good to impress other women—which is why men do it too.

 Exercise together!

(images courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/)