Location matters. Culture matters. Especially when it comes to exercise. And fitness.
According to the CDC, 77 percent of us are slugs. We fail to get enough exercise.
Mississippians are the worst. The best state when it comes to exercise and fitness is the one I’m not allowed to mention around the house. My wife thinks I believe this state is perfect. She’s tired of hearing about it. So I won’t mention it. At home. But it doesn’t change the fact. When it comes to physical activity and fitness, Colorado leads the pack.
I think climate plays a role. It’s harder to muster enthusiasm for outdoor activities in high humid climates. Or where the sun doesn’t shine. Colorado’s mix of abundant sunshine and low humidity is conducive to getting out and about. Hiking. Biking. Climbing. Walking. Running. Whatever.
But climate can’t be an excuse. When I moved to Indiana, it was just that for a while. I didn’t get on my bike the first summer. The heat and humidity were insufferable.
This year, I decided I couldn’t live that way. I’ll just have to deal with the rivers of sweat. And so I ride.
The alternative is unacceptable. Ignoring the needs of the body does no one any good. Muscles demand use less they atrophy. Joints demand the support of surrounding muscles. The heart gets stronger with use. The mind and mood benefit as well.
We all know this. Yet more than three-quarters of us fail to get a minimal level of exercise. I suppose most of us fail to do things we know are good for us. Or do things we know (or should know) are bad for us. I know I do. And don’t.
I remember the day soon after we moved to Boulder, Colorado, that it hit me. I knew something was different, but the light hadn’t gone on. Then it hit me: I rarely saw anyone who was fat. Exercise and fitness were valued.
Such values don’t have to be limited to Boulder, of course. And they aren’t.
No matter where you end up living, Vera, I hope you value the benefits from exercise and fitness. America has more than its share of slugs. We don’t need more.