No pain, No gain? Staying Fit By Eating and Exercising Sensibly
Everyone has a fitness plan, book, machine or work out video these days. Despite the fact that fitness has become a national obsession, most Americans are overweight and out of shape. Why? Because we eat too much and do not get enough normal exercise. The key word there is ‘normal’. We sit around far too often sipping on exotic smoothies and calorie monster coffees while thinking to ourselves, “If it doesn’t taste like candy, it isn’t coffee!”
According to a recent survey the number one dinner choice for most Americans aged 16 to 24 is pizza. Burgers and other fast foods easily come in second. Why? People in that age range excuse themselves from healthy eating because they say they do not have the time or do not have the money to eat properly. The truth is that no food is as expensive as fast food. Sadly, junk and fatty foods are shoved in front of us every day through constant advertising and let’s face it: Those dollar menus and chain restaurant specials look very appealing to people struggling with their finances.
It is not all our fault. There was a time when only some greasy spoon cafe would serve you what amounts to nothing more than a huge plateful of fat and grease disguised as ‘comfort’ food. Even places like Howard Johnsons restaurants, which specialized in nicely prepared quick food and ice cream fountain choices, served better food in reasonable portions that was healthier than what we eat when we visit most meet up or chain restaurants today.
Almost all fast food and chain restaurant menus are filled with dishes that reek of fat and calories. With all kinds of ‘two for’ deals and discounts, customers are encouraged to continue to make bad eating choices and develop a taste for unhealthy foods. Those places want you to feel full so that you will come back and feel full again. That is a sure recipe for a heart attack and it’s no wonder that America has become the world’s leader for people who are newly diagnosed with diabetes each year.
Most people either under or over exercise. I remember when the jogging and running craze began in the 1970s. Everyone was doing it, but what most of the people who did never counted on were things like heel contusions, flat feet, muscular decay as the result of not eating properly and other possible side effects. They also probably forgot that they would get older one day and, at some point, no longer be able to exercise that way without risking their health instead of improving it. High volume exercising has a cost and it not successful over the long term.
As a kid I watched Jack LaLanne Show reruns from the 1950s. His exercises were low impact and designed to get people fit for the long haul. The proof of the success of his system is that fact that he was still fit and performing amazing feats of strength like pulling a dozen train cars with his teeth well into his 90s. He lived to be 96 years old and probably looked a lot better dead than most people who are still living look like in their twenties.
The idea that Pain was necessary to get in shape came from military exercise programs designed to turn flabby recruits into mean, green, fighting machines in just a few months. It was not designed to help civilians get in shape or stay that way for a lifetime. Pain will come when you over-exercise and that is a non-starter for real fitness that lasts the rest of your life. Just ask any of the 1970s era joggers and runners who, now in their fifties and sixties, can barely walk or suffer from all sorts of bone and muscle problems.
Normal exercise is all about balancing the time you spend sitting in front of a TV or computer screen, with the time you spend walking or performing physical tasks each day. It’s easy to get caught up in the cyber world or watch TV shows for hours on end. It’s a lot more sensible to engage in some low impact type of exercise like walking, ball playing, archery or swimming to offset what has become a couch potato lifestyle for too many people.