It is difficult to talk about diet, weight and health without including the topic of physical exercise. During my dietary guidelines research, I unearthed a statistic that I have pondered over the past few weeks.
USDA data reports that more than 50% of adults in the United States are not physically active.
While I likely define the words “healthy weight” more loosely than the Obama Administration, I do think that everyone benefits from physical activity. When we discuss fitness at the Feed Yard Foodie residence, we do not discuss weight — rather — we talk about building muscle, cardiovascular strength, and the ability to be active. My favorite farmer and I are life-long athletes.
I devote time to coaching youth athletics because I believe that we need to create a culture of fitness in young Americans. To build a culture, exposure must start early and it must be fun. I hope that my volunteering plays a positive role in the lives of the kids that I mentor just as my dedication to fitness is a result of my parents and coaches teaching me to love exercise at a very young age. Although almost 20 years have passed since I retired from collegiate athletics, I still love a workout. Apart from making me feel good, being fit allows me to experience better health and a healthy weight.
I’ve heard that “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”…
My favorite high school student recently chose to learn to be a Fitness Trainer for a semester project in math/science. She selected family members as her first “clients”. Basic kinesiology, benchmark testing, training, and fitness goals permeate family dinner discussions as our favorite trainer leads the current family fitness journey.
Sunday morning found us at the track doing an “Owen’s Circuit”. I have to admit that when Ashley Grace began my parenthood journey 15+ years ago, no one at the hospital told me that this would be part of the challenge :) For those of you that are unfamiliar with an Owen’s Circuit (which one could argue is a good thing), it is a series of upper body, core and leg strength exercises intermixed with running repeats on the track.
And a myriad of other fun things like push ups, burpees, lunges and dips that help you find muscles that you might have forgotten existed!
While the primary focus of this blog post is to provide a bit of “light humor” in the midst of a very serious discussion, I do want to point out the importance of fitness in life’s journey. Everyone will likely define the word using different difficulty scales (I wouldn’t recommend an Owen Circuit workout to the general public), but the fact remains that being healthy almost always involves some sort of physical activity. Take your dog for a walk, swim a few laps, play racket ball with your spouse, or have a rousing game of tag with your kids in the front yard.
If our country is going to effectively tackle the problem of obesity and its subsequent health challenges, I believe that it is equally important to learn to love exercise as it is to eat a balanced diet full of protein. As many things are, the answer is complex and requires personal buy-in to be effective.
Both diet and fitness are personal choices –As a country, we will make positive change by empowering life choices that can be both fun and healthy.
This isn’t something that occurs through Dietary Guidelines and regulation, it happens when the American people are motivated to become Fitness Foodies…