September 9, 2008
Recently, Greater Cincinnati took a bit of a beating when studies showed that Kentucky ranks seventh on the list of fattest states, with Ohio coming in at an also- unimpressive 17th. The fifth annual "F is for Fat" report, issued by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found that 28.4 percent of adult Kentuckians are obese, as are 25.9 percent of Ohioans.
As a Cincinnati-based fitness professional, I'm not surprised by these statistics. After all, we live in the land of biscuits and gravy, goetta and five-way chili; long, cold winters and hot-as-blazes summers - none of which encourages healthy habits. If you take a look at the leanest state, Colorado, you'll see a very different picture: lean, healthy eating choices and abundant natural resources that encourage activities like hiking, walking, skiing and snowshoeing.
The good news is, every day I work with clients who have taken stock of their health and made the commitment to improve it by developing a healthier lifestyle that focuses on proper nutrition and regular exercise. You don't have to work with a personal trainer to get your body back on track; just a little common sense and ongoing tweaking to your habits will start you on the path to optimal health. Together, we can get Kentucky and Ohio off the "fat" list and onto the "fit" for good. Here's how you can start your path from couch potato to lean machine in manageable, easy steps.
- Forget what the experts tell you. If you're sedentary, just do something, anything, to get off the couch and away from your desk. Walk to lunch; park further away from the office; order fresh fruit as a side instead of fries. Make one small change this week, another next week, and keep at it little by little.
- Forget about "exercise." A treadmill isn't necessary. Think about physical activities you enjoyed as a kid and how you can incorporate them as an adult.
- Use your walk to improve your mind. Download a book to your iPod and enjoy! Your walk will be done before you know it.
- Think about WHY you want to improve your health. Want to make sure you're around to meet your grandchildren? Tired of feeling sluggish and exhausted? Research shows that people who know why they want to do something, and create a plan to achieve it, are 10 times more successful than those who don't.
- Take 15 minutes of your lunch break for a brisk walk. Then take 15 more after dinner. This will reduce your appetite and can result in a 15-pound weight loss over the course of a year!
- Keep at it! Research proves that sedentary people who exercise consistently for six months develop a psychological habit - you just might find you've become one of those people who love to exercise!
Give it just three months of your life. You can start any time, any place, but the key is to actually DO IT. At the end of those three months, you'll be leaner, have more energy, your mental state will have improved, your clothes will fit better and we will turn the tide to a healthier city. All it takes is one small step, followed by another.
And for those looking for a change of pace to your workout, check out this total functional workout that you can do anywhere! Click here to watch the TRX Suspension Trainer on FOX!
Alright Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, let's get to it!
Your friend in fitness,