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Posts Tagged ‘pilates’

The Cost of Inactivity

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

I subscribe to the Harvard School of Public Health newsletter and recently read an article that gave some staggering statistics regarding the cost of inactivity. The article stated that “according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, inactivity was associated with more than 9 million cases of cardiovascular disease in 2001, at an estimated direct medical cost of nearly $24 billion.  Another CDC analysis suggests that because individuals who are physically active have significantly lower annual direct medical costs than those who are inactive, getting people to become more active could cut yearly medical costs in the U.S. by more than $70 billion.” Take that to the bank…or should I say Federal Reserve.

The definition of being sedentary or physically inactive is this: expending less than 1.5 kcal/kg per day in leisure physical activities. This is the equivalent of walking a little over two kilometers or 1.3 miles, or approximately 3000 steps in one day. For most people, that is a walk of 25 minutes or less.

I find it interesting that despite all the promotion in this country to get active, “only about 30 percent of adult Americans report they get regular physical activity during their leisure time—and about 40 percent of Americans say they get no leisure-time physical activity at all.”

Yet according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day. That’s quite a contrast!  And while many of us may feel perfectly okay with an evening in front of the TV, as long as we got our workout in, the article published by Harvard School of Public Health challenges our defense. It is not only important to to exercise more, it is actually more important to sit less! And in an article appropriately titled Meet the Active Couch Potato, Dr. Dunstan writes, “It is important the general public become more conscious about what they do in their nonexercise time. Almost everybody should look for opportunities to reduce their daily sitting time and move more, more often, throughout the day.”

I plan to give some thought to this. While my solution to inactivity is to go run for an hour, and then invite you to come take a class or try Pilates at the Butler Community School, it’s what we do with the rest of our time that appears to be even more important.

Check back next week. I’m quite intrigued with the possibility of saving 70 billion dollars a year.

Real People – Real Stories

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

One of the best things about my job is meeting the people who take classes at the Butler Community School. I love the stories of motivation, determination, and success. They happen all around me every day. One thing I have learned from listening to these stories is that inspiration and motivation are unique to each individual. What does it take for someone to step into their workout clothing and get active; to keep going? Motivation is a lot more complex than most of us realize. I am intrigued by it. And because I am touched and inspired by many of the people who tell me their stories, I will pass these stories on in the hopes that you too may be inspired.

I received the following in an email a couple of weeks ago. While she chooses to remain anonymous, her story should be a motivation to all of us:

“In December, my husband surprised me with tickets to The Nutcracker, and while we were waiting for it to start, I saw the advertisement for fitness classes at the BCS.  The next month, one day after getting on the scale, I decided it was finally time to get healthy.  I also saw my 35th birthday looming, and I realized that not exercising would only get harder the more I put it off.  I accepted that not exercising was irresponsible and having not done any regular exercise in YEARS (a decade?) was not good.  So, I made the decision to change my way of life and signed up for a $99 unlimited pass for fitness & dance classes at the BCS.  I had always put off exercising because of the cost, type of activity, or any other reason.  Up through college, I was much more active – swimming, tennis team, horseback riding, canoeing, and ten years of ballet.  After college, other things took up my life and exercising/activity seemed to fall away.

Using the unlimited pass, I was able to get myself going right off the bat.  I tried Toni Bravo’s Body Sculpting, Brittany Harpole’s Below the Belt, Arms & Abs, Body Stretch, and Turbo Kick®.  I also tried Zumba® and HAPA.  For one month I went to 24 classes and I felt so much better.  It was a real struggle at the beginning transitioning from a sessile lifestyle to one where I was pushing my body almost every day.  I had absolutely no strength or stamina and I often had to rest during a set or do it at a slower pace.  And was I sore!  But now I can go to Toni’s class and, while it’s still challenging, I can keep up.

I am so glad I found the BCS.  It provides fun exercise, a positive environment, and personable instructors I enjoy.  There are no more excuses for me. I recently signed up for the Thera-Band® Stretch Workshop, which I am finding very challenging, but in a good way.  All the classes have improved my breathing, flexibility, strength, and overall health. I still have a long way to go, but the positive results I’ve seen so far are a great motivator.

About a month ago, my husband and I also started a gentle, beginner jogging program to add regular cardio exercise.  The BCS classes, the jogging, and making subtle changes to my diet have resulted in a 10 pound loss so far.  Weight loss is a goal, but I really just want to have overall better health.  I have about 15-20 pounds to go until I reach a healthy weight and I am hoping to be close to that by the end of this calendar year.”

What’s your story?

Email me at vicki.parsons@balletaustin.org and you might see yourself in Real People – Real Stories.

Motivation Is What Gets You Started

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

If you could get up the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.” ~ David Viscott

Ready…set…go…

Well actually, let’s stop for a minute. Rather than jump right in to the active part, do you first need to change your mind? Take a few steps back and rearrange the way you think about certain things. Garfield, One of my favorite cats, certainly never had a change of mind. Maybe you agree with Garfield’s attitude when it comes to exercise, “I might as well exercise. I’m in a bad mood anyway.”

Change your mind about exercise. A negative attitude about exercise might be what stands between you and fitness. Challenge your thoughts! They’re holding you back!

Psychiatrist David Viscott wrote, “You must begin to think of yourself as becoming the person you want to be.”

Who do you want to be? How do you want to feel? How would you like to move?

Behavior is a follower. Before you do there is generally a thought behind it…good or bad! What are you thinking about physical activity and healthy living? Have you already decided that you can’t?

I once read, “A thought is just a thought. It doesn’t mean it’s reality.”

Your goal is to acquire the identity of an active person; to think like one and behave like one. You want physical activity to become a part of who you are instead of what you do.

Put the Garfield quote away. Begin to believe you not only can, but want to become more active. Change your mind and you just might change your body, your health, your life.

 

 
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