1 in 4 Americans Inactive — Where Do You Stand?
Hopefully, you’ll do more than sit on your ass and read articles on the Internet today. There’s a nearly 24% chance, however, that you’ll get as much exercise as opening a bag of Doritos Jacked.
According to a recent report by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA), 68.2 million Americans were inactive in 2011. And it wasn’t just an off-year either– oh, no. The number of inactive Americans has actually risen every year since 2007, by a staggering 8 percent. Even in the most active state in the country, Utah, only 61.7 percent of the people exercised regularly. If this trend continues, we’ll all have to get airlifted out of Twinkie-crusted beds a few decades from now.
Where do you fall on the activity scale? Do you run marathons and/or belong to a bowling team? Consider yourself “active.” If, however, you consider trips to the kitchen for mid-gaming Code Red refills a strenuous activity, it’s time you put down the controller and did… well, anything physical.
According to the same SGMA report, the 10 most popular sports in the country are:
1) Walking for Fitness
5) Hand Weights
7) Weight/Resistance Machines
8) Freshwater Fishing
Sure, some of these activities are more involved than others. For example, I’m pretty sure you do more for your body biking several miles than you do dressing up in ratty shoes and knocking down pins while Foghat plays in the background. But even bowlers use more muscles than you would sitting in a recliner watching “Mad Men” marathons.
Whether you live in one of the US states with the lowest levels of physical activity (I’m looking at you Mississippi) or one of the more active, yet still lacking like Utah, you really owe it to yourself to take part in some sort of physical activity. You might be in what seems like decent health now (i.e. you can see your feet when you look down), but a lack of regular exercise will catch up to you down the line no matter your genetic makeup.
If you’re thinking something like “I’m not the exercising type” or “sports bore me,” pause “Call of Duty” for a minute and think about a few things. One, it doesn’t matter if you’re the “exercising type” or not. Your body is not conditioned to your lifestyle preference. Your core doesn’t care if you prefer writing poetry to lifting weights. Two, you don’t have to be a total jock and/or athletic type to get and stay in shape. I haven’t been interested organized sports since I was 13 and crazy for the New York Rangers. I like to run, but I mostly work out because it’s cathartic and essential to my maintaining a healthy, fit body.
Go out and do something physical if you’re not doing it already. Two-hand touch football games with your bros or solitary morning jogs, physical activity is essential to a well-rounded life. Let’s bring the number of active Americans up in the coming years. Heck, you can even play water polo for all I care.
About John Brhel John Brhel is a freelance writer from upstate New York that enjoys picking apart life's idiosyncrasies and listening to Huey Lewis & the News.