Written by Fleet Feet Sports West Hartford Owner, Stephanie Blozy
The CDC released a frightening statistic on Monday: an additional 32 million American adults will be considered obese (not just overweight, but OBESE) by the year 2030. That means 42% of our adult population will be obese - with 11% being severely obese (over 100 pounds overweight). Even in Connecticut which is one of the healthiest states, our obesity rate has increased steadily from less than 10% in 1989 to 22.5% in 2010.
Unfortunately, this disturbing trend is mirrored in our children. One in three kids is currently considered obese, many by the time they are 6 years old. Obese kids become obese adults. The cost to our healthcare system is estimated at over $550 billion. No wonder our health insurance premiums are sky-rocketing.
Contrast this to a study released by Danish researchers that found that those who jog at least one hour a week live an average of SIX MORE YEARS than their non-running counterparts. The findings come from the Copenhagen City Heart Study which began in 1976 and follows the cardiovascular health of 19,329 people.
Since the study's inception, there were 122 deaths among the joggers versus 10,158 deaths among the non-joggers - a 44% reduction in the relative risk of death. An added bonus: the joggers reported a higher overall sense of well-being which the researchers interpreted as those living longer being happier.
What I found impressive is that you need not be an elite runner to gain those additional years of life. The study found the optimum benefit for those who jogged a slow-to-average pace (think 10-14 minutes/mile) for one to two-and-a-half hours per week, divided into multiple sessions. That means jogging for 20 minutes, three times a week can yield a longer, healthier, happier life. You can't get much easier than that - even with our uber-busy lifestyles.
We all know that change is hard, especially when it involves something that might make us sweat and feel uncomfortable. But the benefits of exercise are real and not impossibly hard to achieve. Spread the word: get moving for 20min/3x week. Even better, grab your spouse, your kids or a co-worker and invite them to join you for a 20 min power walk/jog. Not only is it a great warm-up to your own run, but you might just extend a life.
Be the Movement!