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Battle the bulge by ending laziness

by Loren Moreno, Editor


The American Heart Association reports that 134.8 million Americans 20 years and older are overweight. It’s no wonder the United States is considered the fattest country in the world. According to a recent survey by the American Council on Exercise, Americans are just too lazy to get to the gym. The most common excuse made by survey responders for not working out on a regular basis was time deficiency. But fitness experts say it’s just an excuse—most people have the time, but are just too lazy to make time to workout.

 

According to the Wellness International Network, 75 percent of Americans are not meeting the basic, daily, activity- level requirements and 25 percent of Americans are completely sedentary. In other words, fast -food joints and consumerism have reinforced a couch potato culture. Hawai‘i, with its outdoor culture, has successfully remained above the obesity curve. According to the CDC, Hawai‘i has the second lowest obesity rate in the nation. But there is still work to be done. Nearly 30.5 percent of Native Hawaiians are obese, followed by 14.7 percent of the Asian population.

It’s almost indisputable that schedules have become busier and more demanding. But according to the ACE, time should never be an excuse to not stay healthy. And it’s true. Most of us are busy, but we make time for routines and people we deem important in our lives. The first step to overcoming the most common excuse for not exercising is to make exercising a priority.

Jarnett Lono, coordinator of Intramural and Recreational Sports at HPU and director of the HPU fitness center on the windward campus, recommends starting off by setting aside at least 20 minutes a day to exercise. “The key is to develop a routine,” Lono said, “Even if you’re only getting out for a walk.” Keeping a time set aside everyday for a short, rigorous workout is the first step to developing a routine.

Once the mind is trained to think in terms of a routine, more rigorous activities can be added, such as weight training, aerobics, yoga, and Pilates. Unfortunately, the ACE also found that the majority of respondents to its survey are afraid to go to a gym or fitness club. Lono agrees, and adds that many people are intimidated by the buff gym bunnies and overly complicated equipment found in most fitness centers.

Lono believes it’s easy to be intimidated by the brawny frequenters of gyms, but the focus should be on getting yourself active and not on some hard body on the lat machine next to you. She also advises not to be embarrassed by your body’s current shape. Everyone at the gym has the same intentions as you: to be healthy, active and to improve their outward appearance.

Lono advises people to start a routine of going to the gym on the same days and time each week. “It’s about building your confidence,” she said.

According to the ACE, however, many people are also confused about what to do at the gym once they are there. Most gyms have personnel ready and available to help people figure out proper usage of equipment. But according to the ACE, 3 percent of respondents avoid asking for help because they are embarrassed. Lono said she doesn’t mind questions about equipment because she’d “rather see people use it correctly.”

If going to the gym is still out of the question, there is hope yet if you have a normal active routine.

"Sometimes just taking the stairs or going out for a walk is better than nothing,” she said. At least it’s a start to doing something about our growing sedentary bodies.

 

2005, Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.
 
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