Wednesday, March 24, 2010

No Time to Get Healthy? Yeah, no one cares.

Reality check: your body doesn't care if you "don't have time" to get healthy. It's going to keep getting slower, softer, and fatter as you age, and a measly thirty-minute jaunt around the neighborhood each morning ain't gonna do anything about it.

So put down that latte and think again sister.

It's no secret to women that one of the great rewards of enduring years of hormonal swings, childbirth, breastfeeding, and monthly trials of feeling as if your life is being squeezed in a vice is being told to pedal faster: our metabolisms also start to slow down, adding a sucker-punch to the reality of living in a country where women are overtly judged by their appearance, the maintenance of which is biologically sabotaged. Except in cases of Helen Mirren, whose aging process appears to have been permanently frozen. She's 63. Yeah.

Cynical lately? Nah, just realistic. Research has recently shown that, contrary to popular advice and belief, it takes more than the usual American output of physical activity to gain any ground in the battle of the bulge. For years we have been prodded into physical activity, lured by the promise that just three moderate 10-minute spurts of activity each day could be enough to keep heart disease at bay. But it turns out that while taking the stairs is a great idea, it's not going to make up for all those mini quiches you had at Bunco.

One of the most frequent reasons for people to avoid facing the reality that becoming and staying healthy requires effort is that they do not have time. I can understand, we're all busy. But as many times as I hear someone say they "can't" make time to exercise, I see another story of someone who manages to do it despite greater odds. We can do it. We do have time. The truth is, we make time for what we really want to do.

And the more important truth is, we don't have time to not have time.

It is estimated that within the next 15 years, over half of our population will be obese. Children are getting fatter and fatter each year. Each season of The Biggest Loser features contestants who are breaking records of size, weight, and health issues. When are we going to face the reality that nature is going to take its course regardless of whether we have time to address it?

Long ago, I read an article about life in Sweden. Someone I knew was moving there and I was curious about their culture. One thing stood out - the physical activity of its citizens. I remember being tickled by the admission of one man that he would be embarassed if his friends saw him riding in a car because he would be considered "lazy," and also saddened that we do not share the same cultural habit.

We don't have time to not have time. The world does not care that we are busy. Please, get some exercise today, REAL exercise.


Work hard.

Challenge yourself.

And set your alarm to do it again tomorrow. It's time to stop not having time.

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