How Our Government Let Me Down

Thursday, October 9, 2008
Well, if I'm being completely honest, our government has let me down in many ways.  But the latest actually directly involves my line of work.

This is how the government let me down - a new fitness recommendation.

That recommendation?  Adults should get 2.5 hours of moderate exercise per week.

Now, what makes the government think it has any clue whatsoever about fitness is beyond me.  A full two-thirds of the country is overweight - more than a third of the country is obese - and they still recommend moderate activity.

The government needs to keep it's garbage away from our fitness.  It crams food groups and food pyramids down our throats.  It makes ever-changing exercise recommendations, none of which ever mention anything about intense or vigorous exercise.  It clearly lacks an understanding of how great our country's weight loss problem is, and is even more lacking in solutions.  Why it thinks it has solutions is an absolute mystery.  The Secretary of the Health and Human Services, Michael Leavitt, has a degree in economics and business.  And he oversees a department that pretends to know what's best for our health?

Any exercise recommendation that involves raking leaves, as this one does, doesn't get it.  There aren't enough trees in North America to keep Americans fit by raking up after them.

And go on as many brisk walks as you want, but don't call it exercise.

We try to coddle the same lifestyles that got us fat in the first place.  If you want to change your body, it's time to change the way you view exercise.  And if you think yard work is the same thing as getting exercise, then you haven't exercised (and yes, in case you're wondering, I have done yard work).

I spend a lot of time telling people that the whole low to moderate intensity school of thought has caused more harm than health.  I just believe it's a poor model of fitness.  A lot of people are fairly resistant to the notion that what they've always been told about fitness is wrong.

How about you?  What do you think about intense versus moderate exercise?

Do you agree with my approach?

Let me know what you think.

1 comment:

Mary said...

Yes, I think our esteemed government has--once again--issued guidelines aimed at the average American. Which unfortunately means that they are appropriate for very few actual real people. At best, not particularly helpful. At worst, dangerous misinformation.