In the U.S., the percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s. However, this alarming statistic should come as little surprise given our own difficulty with the battle of the bulge.
I wish I could tell you I am going to give you some easy fix to weight loss or a healthy lifestyle. However, I would be lying to you if I did and writing this article has got me questioning what kind of role model I must be for Andrew and Chandler. I appreciate the opportunity to allow you to reflect on my own less than stellar physical condition.
As I am writing this article, I am 20 pounds heavier than I would like and 35 pounds heavier than the man who finished the Buenos Aires Marathon with a personal best time of 4 hours and 11 minutes on October 10, 2010. The only way I remember this date is that it was 10/10/10. I ran two more marathons after Buenos Aires, one in Sydney, Australia, and my last one in Malibu, California in 2012. I have run a total of four marathons over four years. However, this morning I laced up my running shoes and was unable to finish a little two-mile loop without taking a break. What in the world has happened?
I suspect that what has happened is the same thing that has happened to the one in five children in this country who are obese. I have simply gotten out of the habit of regularly exercising. I attribute this to not having a concrete goal since 2012 and the habits that go along with those goals. Without goals, we do not develop the habits necessary to stay fit and we are a floating along aimlessly like a ship without a rudder.
One habit that has changed since I was a kid is the fact that very few children walk to school any more. In 1969, 48 percent of kids in the U.S. walked or biked to school. Around 88 percent of children living less than a mile form school either walked or biked to school in 1969. Today, only 13 percent of kids in the U.S. walk to school. In addition to the thousands of calories your kids will burn up over the course of a year, walking to school (unaccompanied) builds self-esteem. This one life habit will have a positive impact on your child’s health.
Andrew and Chandler are fortunate enough to be at a stage in their lives where goal setting related to physical activity is just par for the course. Andrew and Chandler play high school football at Bozeman High School. Football at Bozeman High School is a 365 day a year undertaking. Thanks to an excellent weight training program by Shawn Beckman, Andrew and Chandler have clear goals and a program that keeps them on track. I worry about what will happen when they are not fortunate enough to have a personal trainer available every day. Heather and I hope to provide a good example, even if it means reassessing our physical condition on occasion.