Health vs Fitness

There is a major problem in our society when it comes to our overall health and that problem is continuing to get worse. There is a rise in diseases related to lifestyle and rise in the loss of life attributed to completely preventable disease.

The problem stems from the way we get, retain and prioritize information. That information is coming at us from a million dollar industry that has a lot of marketing on its side – the fitness industry.

The fitness industry has set it’s sights on convincing us that a healthy body is one with six pack abs, bulging arms, and an overall ripped physique. If you can achieve that, good for you and you will definitely be sexy, but striving for that ahead of striving to be healthy.

There are a few reasons over the last few decades that have led us to this point.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Life has becoming increasingly sedentary. Life in general has moved away from being physical and active and more towards sitting. Less people have physically demanding jobs than in the past and are instead working in jobs tied to desks, chairs and computer screens. Meanwhile, our leisure time is often spent sitting and watching TV or being obsessed with our handheld devices.

Food

We have started to view food in two categories: food that makes us skinny and food that makes us fat. The problem with that is, neither of these two categories addresses which foods actually make us healthy. Experts, and I’m using this term loosely, promote cleanses and diets that promote fat reduction alone, which isn’t the same as promoting healthy foods.

Avoiding Fitness

A lot of us, most of us in fact, aren’t going to end up with the Rock’s body, no matter how much work we put in. We aren’t going to achieve the “Super Hero” bodies promised by fitness plans. The Chris’s, Pratt, Evans and Hemsworth, have stated that while filming movies as Super Heroes they generally have to be working out or injecting protein every moment that they aren’t filming scenes, which is not realistic for a banker or a teacher. The fact that people set their sights on this sort of unachievable physique, makes going to the gym and working out every day demoralizing as you are striving for a goal you are never going to reach. What’s more, that goal is more about looking good in a bathing suit than it is about being healthy, and people have begun to avoid fitness all together as a result.

Importance on Appearance

As mentioned above, we now place a lot of importance on our appearance and we are more likely to engage in activities and exercises that will improve the way we look than our overall health. How we look has begun to have a huge impact on both our emotions and happiness as well.

The Fitness Industry

In a lot of ways we have become increasingly savvy in terms of knowing when someone is going out of their way to sell us something, but we also seem to turn a blind eye to an entire industry built on selling us products, diets, supplements and work outs.

What food is, is fuel. We need it to keep our bodies moving and to help protect us from disease. Exercise, for its part makes us feel happier and better about ourselves thanks to endorphin’s and the chemical effects on our bodies.

Game Plan

So let’s say you want to change your outlook and attempt to be healthy, versus trying to be sexy.

Sleep

You’ve heard it before. You need to be sleeping 6 – 8 hours every night. Best advice here is to create a routine that prepares you for bed. It should take between 30 and 60 minutes and it should avoid screens. It’s like a cool down for your mind.

Sitting

We started out by mentioning the sedentary nature of modern life, but it doesn’t mean that there is no way to do your desk job and still be healthy. Find time every 20 to 30 minutes to go for a walk, whether it means just walking to the bathroom or to get some water or going and having a conversation with someone down the hall rather than emailing them. More and more people are using desks that work both standing and sitting to help with this. The key is that there are ways and plans out there to help with this, so look for ways to be less sedentary.

Relax

Find a way to relax, whatever that may be. If going for a run is something that relaxes you then do it. If it’s the gym, then doing, but if it’s listening to some music, playing a video game or going for a stroll, then do it. They key is to unwind and de-stress yourself. Avoid work and do something that genuinely makes you happy and you will be healthier for it.

Balance

A healthy life has a lot to do with balance. Healthy families aren’t the ones who overload themselves with activities. They save some time to eat together and have unscheduled activities. Find a balance and slow your life down.

The point of all this isn’t that you shouldn’t exercise. No one is saying that you shouldn’t get ripped and I’m not saying to go home and eat a box of Oreo’s. The point of this is to alter your life approach in a way that will make you happier and healthier.

One of the most important potential takeaways from this is to question the fitness industry. There are thousands of experts out there, so when they offer their best advice, put some serious thought into whether it makes logical, healthy sense or whether they are trying to sell you something. Always remember that the fitness industry is not built on normal people succeeding, it is based on normal people failing and then spending more money to try something different, and failing again. The fitness industry is built on this vicious circle of spending and failing.

That’s a reason that this site and other sites like it are so important. We are constantly striving to present you with people who genuinely believe in fitness. It is people sharing their stories and experiences with getting fit and being active. These people and their journey’s can be worth more to your overall health than all the other “expert” advice the fitness world has to offer.

 


Posted by Lorne Marr.
Lorne Marr is a Toronto-based fitness enthusiast and lifelong advocate of healthy living. He is on a journey to discover the best methods of training and nutrition for athletes and weekend warriors over 45. Connect with Lorne on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Comments

  1. Lorne,

    Great insights into the fitness industry. The notion of “sell them what they want, not what they need,”is never more evident. If you’d like to share your story and message on my Never Too Late for Fitness Radio show, let me know.

    Cheers,

    Phil

    1. Hi Phil,

      Thank you for the kind words. I would love to share my message on your radio show! Feel free to reach me at info@lornemarrfitafter45.ca and we can discuss details there.

      Thank you and look forward to hearing from you,
      Lorne

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