Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Unit 3 Ethical Essay: Exercise
How can it be? Exercise facilities seem to be popping up on every corner. But you don't need to be an expert to know that obesity is on the rise in our country, not only in adults but in children as well. So why is it on the rise? Because of the way we view exercise.
To start, what does exercise mean? Does it mean dragging yourself to the gym every day and plopping yourself on a treadmill for 20 minutes while you watch TV or read a magazine? Or does it mean throwing a dvd into your player at home and doing 30 minutes of cardio-kickboxing? Neither sounds like much fun to me. How does going for a walk with your spouse sound? Or pushing your kids on the prairie path in the stroller? Maybe today you ride your bike to the video store instead of driving. Then maybe tomorrow you take a walk up into the mountains to get some fresh air and take in a great view. We need to change our perspective on what it means to get exercise.
Secondly, there are a few problems with using exercise - especially exercise at a gym - as a means to achieve the goal of weight loss. First, what happens when you reach your goal? Do you stop exercising? Do you end your membership? Is it fun to be inside, when the weather is beautiful outside? I don't think so. And is exercise fun when the whole point of it is to lose weight? Probably not. Instead of using just weight loss as a goal, what about combining it with things like:
Tomorrow I am going to walk the same distance, but I am going to do it 1 minute faster.
Tomorrow I am going on my hike except I am going to walk 5 minutes past the point where I turned around today.
As you reach these goals, set new ones. And what about combining these small specific goals with more geneneral goals: I want to feel healthy. I want to my lungs to burn a little. I want to feel the burn of lactic acid in my muscles and tomorrow I want my muscles to ache a little. I want to feel invigorated by the cold morning air. I want to feel strong.
Lastly - if at all possible - exercise needs to be a family event and it needs to be outside! The obesity problem in our nation's children is not going to improve unless they learn from their parents the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. There are so many wonderful ways to give your body a workout in the great outdoors. While you are outside getting some exercise, your children can be learning to appreciate the importance and greatness of our National Parks. Especially in the Prescott area, we are so blessed with 1.25 million acres of acres of beautiful National Forest land. And unlike a gym membership, when you excercise outside - you can get in a good workout - for free.
So there you have it. We need to change our view about exercise. Forget the gym. Get outside and take your kids. Take in the view. Make it a priority in your family. If you need to lose weight, combine that goal with small specific and big, broad goals. Your body will be happy.