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Fitness on the Coast

01/06/2014 02:17PM ● Published by Nancy Babin

I have heard people are classified in three ways:
  1. Those who make things happen
  2. Those who watch things happen
  3. Those who wonder what happened

Which is it for you this year? Are you starting 2014 with a plan? If not, as soon as you finish reading this, make a list of what you want to happen this year – your goals. The second step is to develop your action plan for all those goals. Yes - what you can do today to move you forward toward accomplishing those things you want to get done.

Let me help you this year with a goal: Get more active. If you feel like you are starting behind the start line, great: Start anyway. If you have an injury that prevents you from becoming superhuman, great: Start anyway. If you have been active for a long time, great: Set new goals to make yourself better. You may feel like status quo is okay for you. I’ll go out on a limb and say it is not. You are aging, whether you admit it or not, and that means you have to work smarter and harder and be more disciplined than you were just a few years ago.

There are people with lab coats, following people around and taking notes, who tell us regular physical activity reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, depression, heart disease, stroke, some cancers and other medical conditions. Unfortunately, 70% of U.S. adults do not meet this simple government guideline of regular physical activity. Tie that into the childhood obesity rate of 17% which is triple the rate of a generation ago.

What are the consequences of childhood obesity? (From the CDC website)

Health risks now:
Childhood obesity can have a harmful effect on the body in a variety of ways.

Obese children are more likely to have:

High blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). In one study, 70% of obese children had at least one CVD risk factor, and 39% had two or more.

Increased risk of impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Breathing problems, such as sleep apnea, and asthma.

Joint problems and musculoskeletal discomfort.

Fatty liver disease, gallstones, and gastro-esophageal reflux (i.e., heartburn).

A greater risk of social and psychological problems, such as discrimination and poor self-esteem, which can continue into adulthood.

Health risks later:
Obese children are more likely to become obese adults.

Adult obesity is associated with a number of serious health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

If children are overweight, obesity in adulthood is likely to be more severe.

The government guidelines recommend at least 2 1/2 hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (able to maintain a conversation) such as brisk walking. If you want to work vigorously (i.e. jogging or running), the time can be cut down to 75 minutes a week. Also listed is the necessity to perform muscle-building exercises.

As a dad, personal trainer, gym owner, and youth sports coach, it is amazing to me that people are not active. Simply walk, ride a bike, get outside from under a roof! Simple activity is often free and has been shown to significantly reduce or eliminate, as mentioned, many health problems and diseases.

Some simple ideas to bump up your activity to the recommended 2 1/2 hours per week:

Go for a brisk 30-minute walk at least five times per week. If your body cannot withstand that, start with 5 or 10 minutes.

Join a softball team.

Go dancing for an hour.

For 30 minutes, do some yard work, or go biking or running. Don’t be afraid to mix it up and try some new activities.

Don’t forget weight training at least two times per week. Our bodies tend to shed muscle weight as we age. Weight training helps battle this as it can slow it down or even add muscle.

DO SOMETHING! Get out! Get active! Have fun!

Of course, when in doubt, check with your doctor prior to beginning a new exercise program.

About the Author:

Paul Hunter lives On the Coast with his wife, three children infusing his playful style with science to yield astonishing results at Grayton Beach Fitness. Grayton Beach Fitness has recently been voted, “Best Place to Workout on 30-A.” You may reach him at
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