Celebrate What You Are Doing

By: Brad Deel

Wow.  It's been a while since I posted an entry.  I can't think of any real reason it's been so long other than just those crazy, hazy, lazy days of summer.  Or perhaps it's just me being lazy.  For better or worse, an idea came to me, of course while I was out running, about a new blog entry and it is simply this: Go Celebrate.

What do I mean by that?  There has been a wonderful series of articles in the Charleston Newspapers entitled "The Shape We're In."  Both West Virginia and Kentucky have obesity rates in excess of 30%.  Add in the number of people who are merely "overweight" and the sad reality is that those in the "normal" weight range are in the minority.  Along with that reality comes all of the expected health problems such as knee and ankle problems, heart problems, and diabetes.  People more knowledgeable than I have asserted that the brouhaha over health care reform is a chimera and the real problem facing health care in this country will be the millions with Type II diabetes from obesity.  Not much to celebrate there.

Yet, go to a race.  I am looking at a page on tristateracer.com and I see an advertisement for the "Path to the Cure" race.  I look at that picture and what stands out to me is what I don't see.  I don't see the typical group of people I am used to seeing in the tri-state area.  I see a bunch of people who appear to be in the normal weight range and, more importantly, they are engaged in vigorous physical activity.  I say "most importantly" because there is some evidence that those who are a bit overweight but regularly engage in vigorous physical activity are healthier than those who are in the normal weight range but are sedentary.  There is a lot to celebrate there.

The folks in that picture are not part of the problem; they are part of the solution.  Lest I be mistaken, I am not suggesting that everyone should start running.  Some people enjoy running about as much as I enjoy weight lifting which is to say, not at all.  The point is that they are not overweight and they are engaged in vigorous exercise.  While nothing in life is guaranteed, they are much less likely to need hip or knee replacements.  They are much less likely to develop arthritis in their knees and ankles.  That's right.  Runners are LESS likely to develop arthritis in their knees and ankles than non-runners.  They are less likely to develop Type II Diabetes.  They are less likely to spend the latter years of their lives unable to enjoy the world around them.  They are less likely to develop Alzheimer's.

So celebrate what you are doing.  The next time you finish a run, give yourself a hand.  The next time you step on the scales, give yourself a pat on the back.  None of us are going to be out there setting world records but celebrate being part of the solution to what will be an exceedingly difficult problem in our nation's future.  

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