This week I dug into some public statistics on obesity rates and the percentage of Kansas City area residents in Jackson, Wyandotte, and Johnson Counties. I don't know why I was so alarmed because the national statistics are just as scary. In all three counties, the percentage of overweight or obese adults were at least 59% in all three counties. Johnson County had the lowest at 59%, followed by Jackson at 65% and Wyandotte County at a whopping 69%.
Rarely do you hear any of the local media addressing our city's extreme epidemic. Has it become socially acceptable to be overweight? With as much education that is available about the benefits of staying within a healthy BMI, people continue to make poor decisions when it comes to eating (it doesn't help that KC BBQ is a classic staple in our diets). After returning from a year of living and working as a trainer in NYC, I took notice of the changes I have made in my daily activities. Sometimes I drive a half mile away for a simple chore. Simply walking a half mile there and back would only cost me about 20 minutes of my time. In New York, I wouldn't dream of taking public transportation or even a cab to save that kind of time.
Living in a south KC suburb, sometimes walking down the sidewalk on a busy street sparks some interesting attention. People will often stare at me as though maybe I don't have access to a vehicle or am wandering aimlessly on the street as if I didn't live in the neighborhood. We are a high consumption society (food, material items, etc.) and this has become clear to me upon my moving back, especially when walking down the street makes me feel like an outsider.
Don't get me wrong. I feel like I have moved back to paradise after escaping the overworked and fast-paced environment of NYC, but I desperately want to inspire people to change their habits.
Here are some simple ways you can utilize daily to achieve a more active lifestyle in an effort to decrease our waistlines to help us become more healthy and productive citizens:
1. Park far away from a store's entrance.
2. Don't drive if your trip is less than a half mile away.
3. Order water or iced tea when you are out to eat and skip the sweetener!
4. Find a local restaurant you like that is within a walkable distance.
5. Sweat everyday.
6. Make an effort to get 10-15 minutes sunlight each day.
7. Start going to Farmer's Markets (they're fun!)
Now get to work Kansas City!
Thick into golf season, professional golfers have recently been highlighted in a New York Times article about how fitness for golfing has evolved since the era of Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. Part of the golf culture, professional or amateur, included walking 18 holes, accompanied or followed by moderate to heavy drinking. Some professional golfers, most notably John Daly has always been known to be a partier, smoking on golf courses and getting in trouble with the law outside of the golf course.
Especially since the Tiger Woods era began, golfers have become extremely fit and more conscious about their diet and exercise regimen outside of countless steps of walking on a golf course. Many pros work with physical therapists and personal trainers multiple times a week, increasing their mobility and core strength to get the absolute most potential from their physical capabilities. They also have been more conscious of their aerobic strength, as some are active runners and endurance athletes. Years ago, golfers thought that any change to their physicality meant that their swing would change or they would lose their touch on the putting greens. Workouts are now designed to help golfers through that transition.
Here is an example of a golf specific exercises that increases mobility and strength:
Do each exercises 10-15 times for 2-3 sets.
1. Medicine ball twist: uses a weighted medicine ball like you would a golf club
2. Split squat with medicine ball rotation
3. Squats with dumbbell lift: when coming up from a squat position, holding a dumbbell with both hands, lift the dumbbell over one shoulder
4. Cable rotation
5. Mini-band sideways walking
Track and Field's "nice guy" Tyson Gay tested positive for an illegal substance over the weekend that makes him ineligible to represent the United States at the World Championships in Moscow next month. The news has disappointed track fans from around the world, and is an embarrassment to a sport that doesn't get a lot of press outside of the Olympics every four years. In fact, Gay's picture is still shown on the USADA's website promoting their organization "My Victory" where big-named athletes have promised to take on their sport without illegal performance enhancing drugs.
Personally, chatting with a couple former pro-athletes a couple years ago revealed to me that "everyone is doing it". How discouraging! Ryan Hall, Olympic marathoner, tweeted today "Not taking my daily multi vitamin this morning. Not worth the risk." This may be sarcasm, but it may be in reference to Gay's statement about how he was taking supplements a professional was providing him and wasn't aware that it contained an illegal substance. He said he is very careful about what he puts in his body but is confronting the results with acceptance and is seemingly willing to take responsibility for his actions (or his trainer's.
Track and Field is such a unique sport that displays every aspect of human performance - Citius, Altius, Fortius - Faster, Higher, Stronger. As an advocate of a sport with organizations that bring a sense of self-worth and discipline to so many youth throughout the country, this is a major dagger to the heart of the sport.
Pending results of a followup test, the USATF needs to make sure their punishment corresponds with the damage that situations like these do to their sport.
After graduating college from an Iowa school in 2007, I moved to an unfamiliar Kansas City area to embark on starting my fitness career. After a short stint in corporate wellness, I found great opportunities in home fitness. As each year went by, I got more and more experience working with a very diverse Kansas City area population - the young, the old, the fit, the fat.
I’ve always been a curious traveler and started to become a frequent weekend vacationer. I realized I was becoming stir-crazy and plotted my next move - New York City.
I moved to New York in June of 2012 and found an amazing opportunity with an elite in-home fitness company - PPTSWellness with celebrity trainer, George Guerin. Not only was I acclimating to a faster pace of life and a cut-throat environment, but I had the chance to tune up my resume by learning from one of the best.
Fast forward twelve months, I had come to terms that the New York lifestyle wasn’t for me and I missed Kansas City (I wouldn’t have dreamt that I would ever say that). Although my work experience couldn’t have been much better in New York, I missed the friendlier and more reasonably priced environment to which I was returning. I am so thrilled to be back and feel more energized than ever to have realized slowly that my life's purpose is to help a community evolve into a healthier and positive place to live.
I look forward to the many, many years ahead of exploring the Kansas City fitness community to help people reinvent themselves in order to live a longer, more fruitful life!