With our society becoming ever more sedentary, our desire to cram more and more things in to less time and with the huge leaps in technology we have seen over the last decade, can we blame ourselves for wanting an easier more convenient life? Social interaction involves poking your friends on Facebook rather than actually going out to meet your friends for lunch. Exercising the thumbs’ from texting rather than cycling to work might be the most activity our generation gets. Then there is the food we eat – fast, convenient foods loaded with fat and sugar whet the pallet of most of us rather than chicken and broccoli. It’s no wonder the government are trying to meet this challenge head on with initiatives such as Change For Life. Halting the decline in health and rapid rise in obesity is a challenge for everyone in the country.
Risk for unfit kids
The number of people classed as obese is on the rise, especially children. In 2001 The National Audit Office estimated that 8.5% of 6 year olds and 15% of 15 year olds were obese, and unless things change The British Medical Association suggests that by 2020 20% of boys and 33% of girls will be obese. The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology have highlighted the health consequences of being obese, leading to a whole range of disease in adulthood, including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, arthritis and cancer.
Body mass index (BMI) is the most common way of assessing if you are obese; however the waist to hip ratio (WHR) is also used.
• BMI – divided your weight in kg by height in meters squared. Say you are 1.5m tall and 52 kg BMI would be 52 divided by (1.5 x 1.5 = 2.25) 2.25 = 23.11. The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology suggest of a BMI of 20-25 is a healthy range.
• WHR – measure around the narrowest point of the waist the widest point of the hips. This should be of 0.8 for women (i.e. the waist should be 80% of the hip measurement) and 0.9-1 for men (i.e. the waist should be 90% of the hip measurement). Anything more than this means you need to get active.
Summer shape up
Inspire yourself and your friends to get off the sofa this summer and get out in the sunshine. Get yourself and your friends to look and feel better, be healthier and have a happier life.
Bootcamps and organised outdoor fitness groups like PeakXVfitness bootcamp on Wandsworth Common would be a good place to start. Check the Internet, yellow pages or just click here. Outdoor fitness training groups not only offer great workouts, but they are a fun and social way to exercise. Many people enjoy the group sessions and get inspired and motivated exercising with friends. Plus you have an instructor setting out the session, telling you what to do, checking your technique and making sure you have a great workout.
One of the secrets of PeakXVfitness bootcamps is that we use weight bearing activities such as kettle bells, medicine balls and resistance exercise bands. These types of exercises are great for girls as having a little extra muscle is a great way to burn extra calories and burn fat. These types of exercises also should help promote bone mineral density which is especially important for women, as it helps to offset the development of osteoporosis.
Summer is also a great time to join and outdoor fitness group to top up the vitamin D levels in the sun – great for the immune system, strong bones and healthy muscles.
Some other great places to start to exercise would be to go to the pool such as Tooting lido or Balham Health Centre. Local council gyms are generally affordable and have reasonable facilities but you are left to your own devices in these places and unless you know what you are doing your might not get the best workouts to reach your goals. Also look at the Change For Life website and see what local schemes are going on in your area to get you active.
Using workout DVD’s from social role models such as the Pussy Cats Dolls dance routine or other celebrity fitness regimens will help trim the waistline and burn extra calories and is a good choice if you are a conscious exerciser or can’t get your head around exercising outdoors.