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Battling Fitness Indifference

With so much information about fitness benefits, why do we keep getting fatter?

Written by John A. Anderson

Fact – over 55% of people in the United States are overweight. Fact - more than 60% do not get enough regular exercise. Question – Why? There is certainly no lack of information about the benefits and even the necessity of regular exercise and proper diet. Health providers, physicians, fitness guru’s, even our local Healthy Magazine and highly popular website perpetually pump endless admonitions about healthy living, and condition prevention. So why is this information discarded to the tune of a majority of obese Americans?

That question has been on the mind of the health club industry, which is motivated by the idea that couch potatoes could become clientele. So they set out to find some answers and conducted a survey of “average” Americans. The results were intriguing.

When asked how they felt about obesity and being overweight - 74% of those polled said they feel just fine about it. Regardless of medical advice to the contrary, they were apathetic about being fat and didn't worry about their lack of exercise. "The accepted norm has shifted to an overweight person who does not exercise," said the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, which commissioned the survey. "Most Americans are satisfied with their health, yet are most likely overweight." It appears that the real enemy of preventative medicine, or the ally of heart disease, Diabetes, and other obese induced conditions, is our own indifference.

On a recent fitness getaway I picked up a local newspaper. I found something I thought I would share. The Daily Camera from Boulder, Colorado summarized this health industry poll in their newspaper, delineating both "fat" and "fit" Americans into six categories that describe their attitude about fitness.

  • Abracadabras- describing 14% of participants as those who pursue fitness benefits from a bottle in the form of a magic pill.
  • Sitcom Skeptics –13% who feel fitness is over rated and unnecessary. Because these feel that the exercise push is a media play, they do not exercise regularly.
  • Woulda-Shoulda's –the 12% who know they should but don’t, so they live in a kind of fitness guilt state.

Still, there were other categories of people who get their exercise for one reason or another.

  • Conscientious Preventors –8% who are focused primarily on the health benefits of fitness.
  • Social Competitors – 20% of a younger mindset that don't exercise as much for health as they do simply for fun and socializing.
  • Balanced Holistics – 13% exercise because it not only benefits their bodies, but also enriches their mind and spirit with a positive outlook.

Whatever our outlook towards exercise, we should not ignore the facts or perhaps the costs of our exercise apathy. Even modest exercise pays dividends by reducing heart disease and lengthening life. Regular exercise also helps tackle depression and diabetes. And who knows, you may even develop a positive outlook and pick up a few new friends along the way. So, whatever the reason, get out there and put a wiggle in it. It will definitely enhance your life.

Article Reviewed: August 17, 2013
Copyright © 2014 Healthy Magazine
With a love of life, learning and laughter, John revels in the world of creation and creativity. Guess that's what you'd expect from an English Major-MBA with a Master of Health Organization Management—forever the student. Once that fire is lit, it's hard to douse the drive to make a living writing, reading, communicating, and interacting.
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