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What Has Changed in Health & Fitness Over the Last 30 Years?
There have been many changes in fitness over the past 30 years. It is human nature to remember times past. That’s great, but let’s not forget that things change too. This is certainly true in the field of health and fitness. “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get the results you’ve always gotten” is true, but what if the situation changes? Then what used to work is no longer a viable and effective way to get the results we want. In this article, I’ll describe seven things that have changed over the past 30 years that affect the way we view health, fitness, exercise, and what’s considered “best.” Let’s look at some of these changes in Fitness.
1. Level of activity
This change in physical form is quite obvious. We don’t move as much as we did 30 years ago.
Currently, the average sedentary person living in an urban environment takes between 900 and 3000 steps per day. Uh…that’s an insignificant number! The Journal of Sports Medicine gathered the existing literature to establish a general guideline for what would be a good number of steps per day.
The author, Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke, translated different physical activities into equivalent steps per day. A rate of less than 5,000 is classified as sedentary, 5,000 to 7,499 is not very active, 7,500 to 9,999 is somewhat active, 10,000 or more is active, and 12,500 or more is very active. So what does 900 make us? Close to death! But it’s not hard to imagine. Get up, take the elevator to the parking lot, drive the car, take the elevator to the office, sit down, order fast food, reverse the process to go home and go back to bed. Just keep in mind that 1 km is about 1300 steps.
It has gotten to the point where we have to deliberately bother ourselves to increase our activity level. Here are some suggestions (which show us how pathetic our average activity levels have become).
Park at the far end of the parking lot and walk to your building Instead of dropping the kids off in front of the school, park a couple of blocks earlier and walk them the rest of the way… 10,000 is actually consider LOW. estimation for children.
Walk around the mall or supermarket at random. With today’s super malls, that’s big!
Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator (well if you work on the 50th floor, maybe go halfway up to begin with)
Give the dog an extra 5 minutes on his walk (we need it even more than he does)
Stop emailing colleagues in the same office, instead go and talk to them (surprisingly effective considering the amount of email we send every day!… great for team building too)
Go for a walk during your lunch break, walk for lunch, or find a place to eat
Get up and do something, run up and down the stairs, say during TV commercials (no excuses here!)
Walk to the corner store instead of driving or popping in on the way home
Walk to friends’ houses instead of driving
Take public transport and walk from the train station
Dr. David Bassett studied an Amish community to see how things were in the past. These guys have no cars, no electricity and do hard manual labor to put food on the table. It’s like time travel to the past. They eat 3 hearty meals a day with lots of meat, vegetables and natural starches like potatoes.
The 98 Amish adults Bassett surveyed wore pedometers for a week. The men took an average of 18,000 steps a day. The women took an average of 14,000 steps.
The men spent about 10 hours a week doing hard work such as plowing, shoeing horses, throwing hay bales and digging. Women spent about 3.5 hours a week on heavy tasks. Men spent 55 hours a week in moderate activity; women reported 45 hours per week of moderate tasks such as gardening and laundry. Wow, that’s a lot of manual work. Get a pedometer (it’s only like $20) and see how you do.
2. Percentages of fat and obesity
Activity level brings us directly to this point about obesity. The alarming rate of obesity is one of the most obvious changes in fitness.
The obesity rate among study participants in the Amish population was 4 percent, as determined by body mass index, or BMI. The current obesity rate among the urban population is 30% or more. Okay, obesity rates are a scary thing because obesity is already in the “VERY high risk of many bad ways to die” category. There is still the overweight category (obviously fat but not reaching the medically obese range) to consider. These people are already at high risk!
The total percentages of overweight + obesity are truly wild… reaching close to 70% in some cities. Compare that to the 1980s average. 10-15% obesity in most cities. It rose to an average of 20% in 1995 and is now at an all-time high.
According to point no.2 is, of course, the diet. This is another obvious change in fitness. It’s very simple actually. Now we eat more refined foods (white bread, sugar, rice, flour, noodles). In the body, these give pretty much the same answer: fat storage. The only time we should eat these items is immediately after a hard workout. As we can see from point no.1, there is not much training. But eating a lot is!
We also eat less fresh fruit, vegetables and meat. We eat more snacks like chips and cookies (which are also refined despite what advertisers claim).
These changes in fitness are made more concerning because even natural foods today are not as good for us as they once were. Current cultivation methods cause the vitamin and mineral content of fruits and vegetables to drop by around 10-40% depending on the mineral. Corn-fed meats do not give us as good an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio as we used to get from grass-fed, free-range animals. (this means we don’t have as many healthy fatty acids)
And, of course, we’re also consuming more calories. The Amish in the study of point no. 1 ate about 3600 calories/day for men and 2100 calories/day for women. Many sedentary people consume a lot and more! How? Well, a fully “highlighted” coffee bean or Starbucks gourmet coffee can add up to 500 calories in one instant of caffeinated madness.
That’s a 2 hour walk for an average sized woman.
Just remember, the quality of the calories counts too. 2000 calories of vegetables, meat and healthy fats is infinitely better than 2000 calories of chips. It is almost impossible to get fat with the first, and almost impossible not to get fat with the second.
I like that car analogy. If you had a $2 million dream car, would you put low-grade or high-grade gasoline in it? High grade, of course! So why do some people put low-grade dirt on their bodies that are far more important than the car we drive?
4. Games that children play
The average child growing up in an urban environment is a weak motor. As a hobby, I coach youth basketball. In our talent search, I have the kids do a very simple exercise of dribbling in and out and around cones. There are so many kids who can’t do it and some who I think might fall over if asked to RUN through the cones without a ball! This contrasts with the past where children ran, chased each other, played physical games and sports of all kinds, where the playground was the center of fun for the little ones. This lack of activity not only causes a change in the physical form of the child in his youth, but also has a profound long-term effect.
Of course, this change in fitness is the result of a combination of possible factors.
Parents who only believe that academic success is worth striving for, who only give recognition and praise to their child when they do well in academic subjects.
An education system that also values book knowledge over other things and takes out physical education classes to put more academic classes in there.
Poorly taught physical education lessons that don’t help a child develop motor skills in the key early years Busy dual-income families where parents aren’t free to play with their kids (or don’t care enough to… the money they are not everything). parents)
The crazy computer game addiction situation where virtual life is more important than real life. I think this is the reason for all the empty basketball courts in my neighborhood. Teams used to line up to play there. Now it’s only played by people my age (20-30). No more small children.
But really, so what? The problem is that if children stink at sports and physical activity, the well-known psychological factor of “competition” is. Simply put, we generally do what we’re good at. If our next generation is poor in sport and physical activity, they are even less likely to be! Which, combined with elements 1 to 3, amounts to a deadly health crisis for many countries. Obesity costs the UK 7.4 billion in national health care a year! If we don’t help our children, this will only increase and become an ever-increasing burden on everyone.
5. Social support
This is a more subtle change in fitness. People are common animals. We stick with things because there is a supportive community behind us. Even drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers recognize this. We all need social support. But social ties are getting weaker and weaker. And no, Friendster and MySpace links don’t make up for it.
In a more connected but less close world (I know so many people who are only comfortable behind a computer screen and not in front of a real person) there is less social support than in the past (extended families, community living , strong friendships inside). a neighborhood, etc.) and it’s hard to stick with something that requires dedication and sacrifice like an exercise program. I’m not a sociologist, but I think there’s a reason why exercise classes work better in terms of membership than one-on-one training. Most of them are certainly not as effective as great one-on-one coaching. But the social factor comes into play when it comes to sustaining a lifestyle change.
6. Free time
This subtle change in physical form is quite clear. We just have less time than we “put”. Bosses, social, family and other commitments make free time a very precious commodity and add difficulty to the fact that time is our only non-renewable resource. When we decide to exercise or spend time cooking to maintain a healthy lifestyle, we are competing with movies, games, television and other things for free time. We know exercise is good for us, but it has to not only be good for us, it has to be BETTER in our minds than the latest episode of Desperate Housewives or the latest computer game . This is the problem. We must prioritize long-term health over temporary fun.
7. Training methods
Well, this is where we are doing well. 30 years ago, the aerobics craze took the Western world by storm. It is not a very good training method both in terms of results and in terms of results per unit of time. Add this to the fact that we have such minimal time to train, we can’t afford to train in a sub-optimal manner. Now we know a lot more. Fortunately for us, there are good methods that smart trainers use to improve training efficiency and get RESULTS even with less training time. Some of these include intelligently designed resistance training programs, interval training, and good assessment techniques to determine individual needs. With a coach like this in your corner, you can turn back the clock and avoid becoming one of the ever-growing statistics of people whose health is going in the wrong direction. Stay fit and strong and good luck!
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