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Easiest way to fight trend toward a fat body? Move it

By Phil A. Lalli
Published July 6, 2003

There is a growing trend in our country over the last decade that you might have noticed. Obesity. Not the 5 to 10 pounds that affects us all at one time or another, but a far more sinister condition known as morbid obesity.

This is the type of unchecked weight gain that is defined as being more than 20 percent heavier than the ideal weight for your body frame.

We have all seen the news stories and have read the articles about how increased body weight leads to all types of maladies from heart disease and diabetes to certain types of cancer and even forms of depression.

Lately, the hot story has been the looming lawsuits on the horizon against fast food restaurants and their alleged culpability in making us into human cream puffs. These lawsuits help to reconfirm another disturbing trend, lack of personal accountability.

Where does this accountability begin?

It begins at home with our spouse and children. We have a great weapon that we can use in the fight against obesity and it does not take a Ph.D. in chemistry to figure it out.

We must simply move.

Our bodies, unlike any machine built by man, grow stronger with increased use. The joy of living, expressed in movement, is a wonderful thing and can be enjoyed by young and old alike.

We, however, as a society do not embrace movement - we avoid it. Drivers hunt in parking lots for 10 minutes looking for the closet parking space rather than facing the prospect of a walk 50 feet longer.

Parents drive their children in large SUVs to the bus stop 1/4 mile from their houses instead of taking a golden opportunity to walk with their children and talk with them and help instill in them the joy of movement. Walking to the bus stop is now looked upon as a chore, no different from taking out the garbage or mowing the lawn.

Unfortunately from the start, kids are taught to avoid exercise. Even our schools are dropping physical education as a required class for K-12 and have added more computer classes and study halls instead.

The end result to this is more children than ever with pent up energy and no way to let it out during school. Is it any wonder why so many kids have attention disorders?

Granted, more children are involved in club activities and team sports. But tell me, when was the last time you passed a ballfield in Tampa that was being put to use in a pick-up-game by a bunch of kids and not as a scheduled league event? Outdoor sports and games have been replaced by indoor videos.

The secret to healthy living, the same thing that I tell all of my clients at my training studio, is to move! Every day. Every chance you get. Take a flight of stairs up to your office one day. Walk around your neighborhood in the evening after dinner. Pick one day during the week and plan a family exercise day at a local park and bring a Frisbee or a football. Walk in a charity event. Ride your bicycle to the Qwickie Mart to pick up the newspaper.

Nothing has to be planned. No special shoes or equipment are needed. Don't worry about intensity, time or target heart zones.

Just move your body.

- Phil Lalli of Citrus Park is a fitness trainer at Sun Fitness in Town 'N Country.

[Last modified July 5, 2003, 08:22:51]

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