Yesterday, Nike posted a link to this site, Designed to Move, and as I scrolled through it, my jaw hit the floor (take a moment to check it out for yourself so you can see where I’m coming from). Here is all the research needed, slapping us in the face with stats, about the real cost of inactivity. We have stopped moving. A couple of generations ago, movement and exercise were a part of daily life, now we have gadgets and machines that do all the moving for us so we’ve become sedentary, inactive and basically, lazy. Designed to Move details the cost of this, physically, emotionally and economically, if this downward trend is to continue. When I read stats about how inactive kids have become and what that’ll mean for their futures, it hurts my heart. So allow me to reiterate what Designed to Move says, but in not quite such a delicate way: GET OFF YOUR ASS!
Seriously. Get off your ass. This is no longer someone else’s problem. This no longer doesn’t apply to you. This cannot be put off til it stops raining or you put the cookies down. We need to get off our collective asses and get moving. Right now. We have reached a critical point. In the space of two generations, physical activity has gone down 20% in the UK (expected to go down to 35% by 2030 – 46% in the US and 51% in China).
Between the ages of 9-15, the activity level of American and European kids drops 50-75%, 92% in China! Inactive kids score up to 40% lower in tests. This is the first generation expected to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
I remember when I was a kid, on the morning TV shows, there was always an exercise break. Rosemary Connelly or Mr Motivator would pop up and get you doing five minutes or so of exercise. We may look back and laugh at that now, but it was a reminder to make exercise a part of your day. What do we get now? An in depth look at what kind of nail acrylic some idiot from TOWIE is using. Give me strength.
A couple of years ago, I’ll fully admit to being a couch potato, but two years on with seven half marathons, one full one, regular boxing, Pilates, MMA Circuits and a bit of cycling thrown in (plus three half marathons next month), it’s safe to say, I’ve turned that around.
And trust me, I used every excuse in the book to not get off my ass. I’ve heard them all because I used them all.
I could go on and on about the mental benefits of working out, how much stronger I feel, how much more focused, how much mental clarity I have – but you won’t really get all of that until you do it. My words won’t mean a thing. You have to want to do it. But screw that – at this point, you can’t afford not to.
Oh I know, I know, everyone is mentally scarred by their school PE experiences. You were picked last for the team or other such horror stories. Allow me to slap you with a little hard truth here: GET OVER IT. Seriously, if this stuff happened more than 10 years ago, you really need to get over it and move on. Are you honestly going to let what some idiot said to you in the playground when you were 12 prevent you from being a healthy, active person now? You know better. You are older now and have the ability to separate that emotion out of it. Stop using it as an excuse. Yes, I said it.
If you are a parent and your kids are inactive, furthermore, if you’re a parent and you are not active with your kids, you need to address that situation pronto. It goes for everyone that exercise should simply be part of your lifestyle, but this is especially important if you have kids in the house. They need to learn this and form these habits early so they grow into healthy, active adults who enjoy exercise. God forbid we have yet another generation who view it as a punishment and a chore.
We live in a culture where it’s cool to say you do nothing, where inactivity is celebrated. Just the other day I read an article about how much exercise sucks. That attitude is being celebrated now – it keeps everyone comfortable, it makes everyone feel safe and reassured that at least they’re not the only one being lazy. Oh puh-lease – stop enabling each other and pull your finger out. Grow up, grow some balls and have the guts to stand up and do something (literally and figuratively).
We cannot keep waiting for other people to step up and take the lead.
We need to be the change here. It’s is not someone else’s problem.
Yes, changes need to be made in schools and we can harp on all day about how that’s the problem, or we could make a real, genuine and focused societal change. We could each take the bull by the horns and take charge of the fitness in our own lives. Whatever ‘being active’ means to you, start doing it. This notion that it’s only ‘working out’ if you’re killing yourself for two hours in the gym is utter nonsense. I don’t even have a gym membership and I work out 5-6 times a week. For some people, simply walking the dog may be where you start, or only taking the bus for half your journey, or walking up the escalators. Every step, quite literally, counts.
Let the Designed to Move statistics be a call to action. Make a commitment to make a change today. Not tomorrow. Stop putting it off. Stop making excuses. Be active. Set an example and let’s turn this ship around.