July 18, 2012

Sedentary Lifestyle Kills Millions!

Seriously! This was the headline this morning as I was enjoying my morning eggs (trying really hard not to choke on them). Really? Kills millions? Is this true? I do understand that leading a life less active is related to chronic disease as is eating a diet rich in white bread and Kraft Singles (mmmmm....white bread and fake cheese). But come on! Do we have to get so bloody dramatic about it?

But wait! It gets more ridiculous! The same article made note of a medical researcher suggesting that with the upcoming Olympic Games people should be inspired and motivated to exercise. Helloooooo!!!!!! Are you new? I'm assuming all those years of education either glossed over or failed to cover the basic concepts of health psychology. If not, you would understand that watching an athlete bounding over a few hurdles or running toward a finish line does not an active lifestyle make.

The same crooked and ignorant belief was held in BC when Vancouver hosted the Olympic games a few years ago. We saw money flood into our province for active living programs and grants for anything that would promote physical activity. What happened you ask? Do we now live in a physically active utopia (do you really need to ask)?  The same people who watched the games on their TV are the same people still watching their TVs (not getting up to go for a walk...absolutely no judgement).

The Olympic Games as we know it will not promote life long physical activity (so let's all stop pretending they will). Athletic keynote speakers won't do it, cyclists in tights won't do it, and medical doctors with no education in health psychology or exercise science won't do it. The only people who have a chance to influence those in the Lazy Boys are friends, family, and community (but in reality, it really comes down to the individual). In fact, spandex clad, muscle bound, anorexic-looking, "athletes" will only intimidate those that need the coaching the most.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is if the medical profession is truly interested in getting people moving, they might want to revisit the what motivates the non-active person and not look to the Olympics for inspiration (I know...I'm painting the entire canvass with one brush...but stereotyping saves me time).

Yes, physical inactivity may not be the best thing for your health. But, again (insert heavy sigh here), these research stories are compartmentalizing one health behaviour and labeling it deadly without taking into consideration other lifestyle factors. Perhaps a socially active and chronically happy person is just as healthy as a physically inactive one? Perhaps one who manages their stress well or has a high level of personal resiliency makes good health their bitch...while resting on their comfy couch watching the Olympic swimmers in their cute little spandex tights.

.....and there's nothing wrong with that!

Oh..and by the way, I am sorry if my spelling sucks. This blog host is acting all screwy and won't let me spell check..it's all Blogger's fault!

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