Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sign up for a race and get fit! Now! Go do it!

Hopefully you read my last post about my friend Josie who is doing the Trek Across Maine this coming June. If you haven't, go ahead and take a look by clicking on the link above before reading the rest of this post...

...Ok, welcome back. Now get ready to be lectured for a bit.

I've said it before and I'll say it a million more times: The health of Americans is in a large (pun intended) amount of trouble. More than one-third of adults (37.5%) are obese and one in six children (16.7%). OBESE! Do you know what this means? Obesity is worse than being overweight, although being overweight is nothing to smile about. Obesity means that you have TOO MUCH BODY FAT that can have adverse affects on your health. I'm bolding the following because it's incredibly important that you know this:

Being obese means that you are more susceptible to heart disease, sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, stroke, certain types of cancer, high blood pressure, increased bad cholesterol (LDL) and decreased good cholesterol (HDL), infertility, fatty liver disease, asthma, gout, lower back pain, the list could go on. Don't know what some of those conditions are? Look them up.  And to think that 37.5% of Americans are more susceptible to these diseases and conditions and ultimately cost this country $147 BILLION in 2008 (2102 statistics aren't out)... WOW. I wonder if that money could help with our country's current economic state? Not to mention the medical cost of an obese person is about $1,429 dollars more per year than those of an average-weight person. 

Don't take a breath of relief if you're overweight! Being overweight makes you susceptible to all of the conditions of obesity, but to a slightly lesser extent. Still not good. But you know what? There is help, and there is plenty of it!

Of course there are gyms. At $10 a month you can't beat the price of a Planet Fitness. YMCA's are usually a little more pricey, but you usually get a swimming pool and group classes in the cost of membership. There are countless other gyms out there ranging from less expensive to more expensive. Really, there is no excuse to not be able to find a gym that works for your lifestyle and your budget.

Then there are trainers, such as myself. If you're obese, you could take that $1,429 you are spending per year on additional medical costs and pay a trainer to whoop you into shape. The price of a trainer ranges, but say you found one for $60 per session. That $1,429 will buy you about 24 training sessions, which is just about one every other week throughout the course of a year. A trainer could set you up on a plan, week-to-week, and all you'd have to do is follow the plan and meet with him or her once every other week. Doesn't that sound better than buying pills or getting surgery or whatever?

You know what's a hell of a lot cheaper than gym memberships and trainers, though? Signing up for a race. Throw down 20 bucks on a local 5k (find one near you here) and 100 bucks for a pair of running shoes and you have $120 invested in getting fit. Running isn't really your thing? That's okay, spend $35 for a bike race like the one at the Yarmouth Clam Festival here in Maine. Or maybe you want to take on a bigger challenge, like my friend Josie, and do a long-distance bike trek for a great cause. Neither biking nor running is your thing? That's okay, maybe the Peaks to Portland, a 2.4 mile ocean swim here in Portland is more your thing. Or maybe you want to pull out all the stops and do ALL THREE! Triathlons are becoming more and more common, and there are a variety of distances to choose from. You can find one near you at www.trifind.com.

Maybe you've done a few 5ks or 10ks and a triathlon or two, or more. Maybe you're ready for something else? How about an obstacle race? Those are really growing in popularity too and will test your ultimate fitness and mental fortitude, and will improve your fitness level tremendously if you train properly. The Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, or even a local event like Maine's own Raid Series could have you training like a champion.

Even though America is facing an alarming obesity rate and spending billions of dollars on obesity, there are many solutions. That doesn't necessarily mean it will be easy, but it doesn't mean that we, or you, are hopeless either. It's spring time, people. So stop reading this, get off your ass, go buy a pair of running shoes, and sign up for a local race this summer. You won't be sorry!

No comments:

Post a Comment