How many people do you know who don't exercise? Any type of exercise, even darts qualifies. I have asked that question in all my classes this week, and you know what, most of the people who are already into fitness have lots and lots of friends who don't move a muscle.
Sad, isn't it? Even with you pushing and shoving your friends to get fit, it isn't working. Why is that? I know when those same people were age 15 they were active. It's part of the teenage years. What happened when they became adults?
It has nothing to do with not having time. Really, having no time for fitness is not an excuse. If you wanted a coffee mocha or a Big Mac, you'd find the time to drive somewhere and buy one. If you wanted to go to a movie, you'd find the time.
One reason for the lack of exercise seems to be the aging factor, combined with a lowering of the metabolism and a large increase in caloric intake. All those extra pounds you put on make it hard to move off the couch. The types of medication you use as you age are another contributing factor that leads to non-exercise.
No other species has reached the level of aging that the human species has. Because of this, a lot more adults are using life-extending drugs. Because we are living longer, we require more medical attention for chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and stroke. It has changed the way life is lived and also changed the quality of that longer life.
It's never too late to find an activity that you enjoy. Age is not a factor in fitness health. And you can lose those extra pounds that keep you on the couch. Medical studies show that dietary restrictions and a lowering of caloric intake may in fact slow down some of the parameters of the aging process. And changes in diet, exercise and daily routines may postpone the aging process.
Did you know that Americans' time spent in a disabled condition in later life has grown faster than the time spent while healthy? This means you might lengthen your life, but the part of life that is lengthened would be the disabled part.
This is where daily activities come in, and I mean every day you need some form of movement that encompasses exercise. Bowling, gardening - you can buy a pogo stick if that's your interest. We all want to live longer, but we also want our quality of life to be wonderful while we live those longer years.
We seem to be caught up in a sedentary lazy lifestyle. But you can change that. Keep trying to motivate your non-exercising friends. It can't hurt, and maybe once they move off the couch you'll have someone with whom to exercise.
n Jerry Vance is owner of The Sweat Shop/Wet Sweat. She offers classes through Carson City Recreation and Aquatics Center and is a fitness instructor for the Senior Center.