Obesity is a big problem (no pun intended). As kids no longer play in the street but watch TV and play computer games, the traditional balance between diet and exercise is going askew. And general lack of fitness is a real downer for leading a happy fulfilled life. And being fit prolongs your life as you are less susceptible to those killer cardiovascular (heart and circulatory) diseases.
Diet is important – see Food, diet and cooking – and fewer chips and burgers and more salads and vegetables can help. But exercise is necessary too.
You’ll find loads of advice on how to get the right amount of exercise. I find it all to be a lot of noise, quite confusing. That said, I would make an exception for the well-balanced NHS site – go to http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/Fitnesshome.aspx - where they get you to understand what it’s all about. For what it’s worth here’s my opinion – and we’d love to hear from others.
It’s no good treating exercise as a chore (“God, I must go to the gym!”). Who wants to live that way anyway? Exercise should be doing the things you like doing. Dancing’s great, any sport, walking – they all do the job.
Having and expending energy are often more to do with an attitude of mind. If you are an “I’ll do it now” kind of person (and you can simply choose to be) then you’ll nip upstairs for something rather than leaving it till later. You’ll walk to the shop rather than take the car. You’ll simply do more. And there is a virtual circle in this – the fitter you are, and the less fat you carry around, the more energy you have and the more ready you are to nip upstairs (for whatever reason).
Really it’s just down to getting up off the sofa. But for many kids the question is motivation. Why bother? And this is to do with leading a full and happy life – see Being Happy.
One small note for exercise junkies – beware. Excessive strenuous exercise can generate harmful free radicals that can shorten your life (see Smoking) – what we want here is frequent gentle exercise. Geronimo lived to more than 100 because he rode a horse every day – fantastic considering the conditions in which he lived.