Tuesday, July 10, 2007

We need fun exercise

CNN report on Obesity

I grabbed this map from CNN which is doing a report on the obesity epedemic in the U.S. They have a nice flash animation that transitions through each year to show you the shift in waistlines over the past 20 years. The most dramatic is the shift from 2001 to 2004.

What stands out here?

The least overweight states UT, CO,
MT and VT are states that provide some of the finest skiiing in the U.S.
Skiing like many sports is pretty exclusive to individuals that are in decent shape. You don't see many large folks plowing down the mountain. Does this mean that skiing alone has
trimmed the waistlines? Probably not at all, it's served to pull in a demographic of people ( or select for) that enjoy skiing and are fit.
Why skiiing?
Skiing is an adrenaline based/highly addictive type of sport and so the amount of effort needed to stay in shape is rewarded with the thrill. We humans crave thrills. Basically, given a big enough incentive, people can become motivated to do a lot of crazy or ambitious endeavors. That's my theory of what is going on in the obesity map. If bigger thrills demands being in better shape then the incentive is there to endure the pain of cross training or even the exhaustion near the end of the ski-day.
What about skating?

The same goes for skating. Except the cross-training and thrill are all wrapped into one activity-that's even better and it's available year round. Plus it's great cross-training for winter sports.
So one would presume that Kentucky which has the largest skatepark (Louisville) in the U.S. would also be one of the fittest states. But Kentucky is just as overweight as Tennessee right?

It appears that way but.....CNN also listed the top 10 fittest and fattest cities. Louisville as you can see from the picture below is the # 9 fittest city while Memphis is the 6th fattest city.

Eventhough Louisville is located in an obese state it is one of the fittest cities.
I think the presence of a major skatepark and one of the best parks and recreation systems in the country has a serioius impact on the health and fitness of their city.

Going for a healthy addiction

Let's face it. Eating is fun especially when you're bored, stressed or need
a quick escape from whatever ails you.
It's also entertaining and accessible.
This is all good until that's your main
way of recreating.

So let's get this skatepark done so Memphians have a way to burn off all that great food that we have around here!
Clearly no current exercise or activitiy is doing a very good job here but we have Louisville as a prime example of what can happen if people are given the access to some world-class park facilities. Nothing makes food taste better then a healthy dose of exercise- expecially the non-torturing kind. It's a no brainer!

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