Building a Better You: 8 Great Reasons to be Fit

By Martin Brown

Early last month I blogged about a trip I recently made to Indianapolis and Chicago. I called it “Midwest Spread” because I saw a lot of people who appeared fit and within their proper weight range, but disturbingly the site of the obese and morbidly obese is becoming more and more common particularly in the nation’s heartland.

I wrote of one businessman, who I would guess to be in his mid to late thirties, sitting at a popular Chicago lunch spot with a stomach that rested on his lap and extended almost to his knees. When his food arrived, a monster portion of what appeared to be pulled pork slathered with barbecue sauce and stuffed into a bun, he ate his meal with an air of grim resolve. Eating for him seemed to be more of a commitment than a pleasure.

One young woman I spied while I was sitting in a hotel lobby was, and I say this without the least exaggeration, utterly enormous. She was in excess of 400 pounds and I would guess in her late twenties. She was busily engaged and exceedingly pleasant as she greeted people who were working some reception planned for one of the hotel’s ballrooms that evening. She reviewed with them their assignments and regularly referred to her clipboard. All I could think of was what a tremendous strain she was placing on her body just by the limited physical activity she was performing.

In that fact is probably the most tragic aspect of the obesity crisis in America:

None of us were designed to function well with excess body weight.

Ten or twenty pounds above our ideal weight is unhealthy, but now commonplace. Forty or fifty pounds over is extremely dangerous to our health in a variety of ways, and the individuals that I just referred to, who are morbidly obese, are simply committing slow motion suicide.

Have you ever noticed that you rarely see morbidly obese people who are fifty or over? There’s a simple reason for that: either they slimmed down and got closer to their proper body weight, or they have died.

But weight loss, in and of itself, is not your actual goal. What you are seeking is fitness. Being fit is using your body the way it was meant to be. If your one goal is to get trim and stay trim, that is nearly impossible if various forms of exercise are not part of your plan. Fitness and healthy weight go together.

But why stop there?

Here’s a list of eight great reasons to be fit:

  1. You will feel better.
  2. You will build a healthy heart and stronger bones.
  3. You will have less body fat and more toned muscles.
  4. You will sleep better.
  5. You will slow the aging process.
  6. You will improve and increase your sex life.
  7. You will boost your immune system and have fewer sick days.
  8. You will end the unhealthy cycle of yoyo dieting.

The simple truth is that fitness is a gift you can give to yourself. If you’re like me, you spend a good part of your day doing for others. You can get into one of a hundred different fitness programs and do that just for yourself. Although this gift that you give yourself will benefit others, because you will be a stronger and more positive person to all those who count on you for your support.

In one of my recent health columns I wrote about advances that scientists are making in the search for a “fitness pill.” No one can tell you today if such a pill is five or fifty years away. I have little doubt it will come one day. But don’t wait. Whether it’s biking, jogging, swimming, weight training, tennis, dancing, or much, much more, your body is begging you to get up and move. Think of your body as a million dollar moving machine. You wouldn’t keep a million dollar yacht in port. You would take it out regularly and enjoy it. Do the same for your body. Make the most of it; you’ll be so glad that you did.

This is the first of four articles on Building a Better You! Next week’s subject will be the connection between healthy bodies and healthy minds.


Other SMW Fitness Articles

Affordable Fitness: How to Work Out at Home

How NOT to Run Like a Girl

Why You Want Muscles—and How to Get Them