September 25, 2012 | life

Designed to Move: Get Off Your Ass!

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.

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10 Comments

MrsB

What a post! I blogged about the attitude that people have towards movement just the other day and wondered how the heck do we change it?! These kinds of stats and these kinds of posts that you’ve just written totally encourage me to move more, so I’m hoping they will encourage those who do not move much at the moment. I will tweet this post til I’m blue in the face πŸ™‚

Eleni Drinks Tea

Wow, I had no idea where that video was going, and BANG did the ending hit hard! I’m glad my mum made us go to dancing lessons when we were little, because otherwise we were not an active family – we didn’t go out for walks or bike rides together, and holidays meant sitting on a beach for two weeks and eating out every night.

Although, I did used to walk or cycle to school (my sister caught the bus!) – that’s the easiest way to get kids active, and it’s a habit that has stuck with me. If it’s less than a 40 minute walk, I’ll walk it. My car is for long distance journeys and big supermarket shops only!

kathleen @kat_rocket

The evidence that has come out lately about inactivity being a bigger killer than many other conditions is so worrying. As a physio I have treated people with back pain and lower limb pain or injury. I even had people referred to me for general aches and pains. The main cause of the pain? Inactivity. Part of my treatment would be to encourage people to make exercise part of their life but it’s amazing (and very frustrating) the types of barriers people will put up against exercise. We are going to pay the price for inactivity in years to come with an epidemic of morbid obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes and heart disease. 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5 times a week is all that is recommended. Surely people can find a way to fit that into the week? Just move people! The mild, transient pain is exercising is worth it when you consider the consequences of not exercising at all.

Lara

Yes Bangs!!! I’ve had a very lazy patch recently, but I’m really moving my ass from now on; no excuses.

As ever, you are and inspiration

Cass

It is scary to think what the human race could be evolving into. It irks me to see overweight children that have adopted the bad habits of their parents, and annoys me further when they don’t seem to care.
There is a problem with inactivity, but there is also a big problem when it comes to food education. People slam parents that feed their children processed foods and stuff that can be chucked in the oven etc, but the real question is whether they would know what to do with fresh produce if you put it in front of them. Chances are that cooking anything from scratch is a completely alien concept to them. So this in itself could be what some parents are handing down. Basic food education needs to be brought back somehow, getting people to care about what they put in their bodies first of all.

I agree with Alex. Some parents are reluctant to let their children out of their site these days for fear of them being abducted and what not. I can’t say I blame them, having a young nephew. That being said, whatever chance my sister gets, she takes him out to the park to have a run about!

The PE teacher thing is something that was discussed a little while back. Whilst I agree that some make excuses for their inactivity, I think for some, the scars left behind from childhood trauma (and yes, in some cases it IS as bad as trauma)cannot simply be shrugged off. I’m sure if they could simply ‘get over it’ they would, especially if its something that stops them having a full life. I’m always weary of how easy it is to tell people to just get over stuff, even if it seems like something small to me.

In all, I hope that the campaign helps people get moving in the right direction. I fear that there will still be a section of society that just don’t care enough though, no matter how much they are battered over the head with it. Sad but true.

Nina

For me the trick is finding exercise I enjoy. Gym memberships don’t work long term for me but dance and circus classes do. I also walk everywhere

SJP

Brilliant post! I agree with some of the comments that it’s important to find a type of exercise you enjoy. For me it’s running, though I’ve been blighted by blisters recently and I’m running a half marathon on Sunday so I’m a bit worried about it : (

Jet

I was definitely one of those people not moving until three or so years ago. I’ve also heard every excuse in the book because I too have made them. Actually, I still make them but I have realised what bullshit they are are just get off my arse and go to the gym/go running/walk to work.

People are very quick to say they hate exercise but there is something out there for everyone. People tell me how they don’t understand how I can run. They’d never be able to run. They can’t run for more than a minute.

Ladies and gentlemen, when I started running I hated it and couldn’t do more than about 15 seconds before I wanted to die. I did it. People twice my size at my heaviest can do it. Stop making excuses and just get on with it. If running really is the worst thing in the world then walk, play football, chase the kids around the park.

No excuses.

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