Fitness for Americans: Fitness from the neck up, or getting your head fit: (part 3 of 3)

When I talk about “head fit” I’m not talking about shopping for hats. There is so much that happens to our bodies when our head is not healthy.  It sounds like I am constantly insulting Americans but the fact is we have many attributes that open us up to ridicule. This time I will say that Americans are stress junkies. We work too much, don’t leave work at work (we bring it home), and we often don’t have constructive outlets for our stress. No, beer is not constructive.

There is a story that as future health teachers we were told in college: They tell me it’s absolutely factual but I heard from one professor that it was a man and from another as a woman, so “absolute is maybe not so absolute, but the point is essential. It seems that there was a woman, yeah I went with the girl version, that was stressed beyond belief. Her home life was a struggle and she had conflicts and communication issues with her husband. Her children were growing uncontrollable and her job was nearly killing her. So she decided that she would be better off not being anything and she resigned to end it all. In order to get her family the insurance money (I was in college awhile ago so it seemed feasible at the time) she couldn’t commit suicide, it needed to look  like an accident. So she decided to run until she had a heart attack. (Thinking as I’m re-telling it, her problems were probably more from her not being too bright, but I digress). Sooo, she runs and runs waiting for the chest clutching pain to begin, but it doesn’t. Convinced that she is right in her plans, she tries again the next night and the next and the next.  The heart attack never comes but instead she finds her energy level going up, she completes her work, communicates better with her family and resolves most of her issues. So the story is not so absolute but the point is valid. When we are unhealthy we cannot think straight, we are less productive and more destructive. There is a reason why so many corporations added fitness centers to their offices back in the 1980’s. Because they saw production go up, absenteeism go down and worker satisfaction sky-rocket.  True story: my friend Karl graduated with a degree in fitness and went to a large corporation back in the early 80’s and told them that he would not take a salary for one year and would personally pay back the company for all of the fitness equipment that he would use in setting up the corporate program. Long story-short, Karl never had to pay a penny; in fact he was pretty heavily bonused and became the director of corporate fitness for the company worldwide. Nice move Karl.

So the last few weeks we talked about how the landscape of fitness is a daunting one and can often scare people into being un-fit. I spoke about how hucksters will sell you a state of health akin to selling you a mountain resort in Florida and they have no credibility, just a great ability to sell stuff. I talked about how the best diet is one that is simple but involves good decision making and even more will power. I mentioned how getting fit via activity was simple if done in small steps and I concluded by giving examples of how being fit is win-win with your relationships, your family and your self.  There is no task that we cannot accomplish, there is no obstacle we, as Americans, cannot overcome. We need to get fit and healthy, it’s not that scary and it’s worth even ounce of effort.

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