As I walked into my fitness studio the other day, my business partner’s jaw dropped.
“Have you lost your mind?” Debby asked, staring incredulously at the half eaten Krispy Kreme donut in my hand.
“Nope. And I brought some for you too,” I said, revealing the five remaining donuts in the box behind my back.
Debby instinctively began backing away as though a box of spiders was being proffered in my outstretched hands.
“Relax,” I said, “I’m celebrating. An article in today’s paper reported that the latest research from the National Institute on Aging shows that calorie restriction does not increase our lifespan. So I figured we might as well enjoy a Krispy Kreme or two.”
Debby folded her arms resolutely in front of her, a study in willpower. “But eating that donut – is it healthy for you?”
There it was – the million dollar question. Needless to say, I did not have seconds that day. The answer, of course, is no – eating a steady diet of junk food is not healthy for you. But it’s really more about balance and moderation. My philosophy – and what I tell my clients – is that if we eat healthy 80% of the time and engage in physical activity at least one hour every day, we’ll handily win the fight against obesity.
Sadly, obesity-related diseases represent a $254 billion per year problem in the United States. According to the American Heart and Stroke Association, “If current trends in the growth of obesity continue total healthcare costs attributable to obesity could reach $861 to $957 billion by 2030.”
But imagine the positive impact if we all took ownership of our health, if we all started making better choices, if we all started being more active. It would mean fewer doctor visits, fewer insurance claims – and thus, far less strain on the U.S. economy.
Prevention is a key component to health. As a Personal Trainer, I’ve seen first-hand how healthy lifestyles aid in rapid recovery from illness, disease and injury. Even the normal aches and pains of age tend to subside with regular physical activity. And this is why I chose to use my gifts and talents as a coach and wellness advocate, championing prevention as a cause through my company, Fitness Scouts, its education arm, Coach Stacy’s Healthy U, and its nonprofit arm, We Play It Forward. Through these endeavors Debby and I serve as Game Changers in the fight against obesity.
Two more Game Changers I want to spotlight today are colleagues and friends of mine, Shellie Pfohl, Executive Director of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and Patti Howell from JAMmin’ Minute. Their passion and tireless efforts are changing the landscape in the world of health and fitness.
Under Shellie Pfohl’s watch, America’s Youth Fitness Test has gotten a makeover. More than two decades after its last update, the physical fitness test many of us did in school has a new look. Just in time for the new school year, the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (PCFSN) announced that the former Physical Fitness Test is now the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, and that it will focus primarily on assessing health versus athleticism for America’s youth. Since less than one in five youth get the exercise they need and high rates of childhood obesity are sweeping the nation, PCFSN and its partners recognize the importance of motivating children to get active, whether through sports or physical activity on the playground, in the park or in the backyard. Research shows nearly one in three children are overweight and one in six are considered obese. These numbers can have a major effect as children grow into adults.
The updated program will now provide training and resources to schools for assessing, tracking and recognizing youth health-related fitness. Support available to all schools includes Web-based access to test protocol, standards for testing, calculators for aerobic capacity and body composition (BMI), promotion of the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+), online training, school recognition programs and more. Changes to the Presidential Youth Fitness Program were developed in partnership with experts in health promotion and youth fitness including the Amateur Athletic Union, the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Cooper Institute. To learn more about the Presidential Youth Fitness Program visit www.presidentialyouthfitnessprogram.org.
Patti Howell is founder and CEO of Health E-Tips and creator of JAMmin’ Minute, a one minute physical activity routine that can be done anywhere and anytime. A remarkable fitness event is scheduled for September 27. Help our schools and kids lead the nation in the first ever JAM World Record 2012. It’s a quick, easy, FUN routine that all ages and abilities can do, wherever you are, to be part of a World Record. This national initiative has been created to raise awareness about the importance of making good health choices and physical activity as a daily habit. JAM World Record 2012 with Let’s Move in School also urges everyone to support our schools where every student has the opportunity to learn healthy habits and participate in a quality physical education program. In the spirit of friendly fun, there is a state competition and the state that recruits the most people to participate will be named the National JAM winner. Sign up today to be counted in your state’s totals and learn the easy routine at www.jamworldrecord.org.
So there you have it, two new ways to be a Game Changer with us here at Coach Stacy’s Healthy U. No matter what activity you choose just remember, when you’re moving you’re improving! And please, Pass the Health and forward information about these two Game Changing programs to family members, friends and colleagues who’d like to join in our movement.