Boomer Families: Make a family pact to keep ‘moving n’ groovin’

By: Christine Crosby

Dr. Oz recently reported a Vanderbilt University study: average Americans spend nearly eight hours a day—more than 50 hours per week—planted on their behinds. There’s a cost to all that downtime.

Sitting, our bodies undergo a metabolic slowdown. We use less blood sugar for energy and burn fewer calories. Sitting also decreases the activity of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase, which works to eliminate fats in the blood. Not surprisingly, the research shows that chronic ‘sitters’ have larger waists, a higher body mass index and higher levels of blood sugar and blood fats than someone who takes frequent breaks to stand or stretch.

Families today have a serious health challenge that previous generations didn’t share. Despite stunning advances in medical technology, life expectancy and certainly the quality of that life, are not increasing for many and are actually decreasing for some. The US now ranks 49th in the world in life expectancy, down from 5th in the 1950’s. What can we do to turn this ugly trend around for our families?

First; know thy enemy. Along with diet, it’s about MOVEMENT or the lack of it.

● We can do something physical every day, preferably building muscle with weights on some days and building endurance with aerobics on others. If that’s too big a leap all at once, make a habit of taking a vigorous walk every day.
● You’re setting the example so invite, cajole or bribe your kids or grandkids to join you. This may be your best time alone together.
● Set limits on electronic entertainment and when there’s a choice, the Wii can be hugely more athletic than watching a Harry Potter movie for the fifth time.
● Get up from the computer every half hour and stretch, move, do anything physical except opening the refrigerator.
● Most of all, be a model to the rest of your family. You don’t need a scientific study…a quick trip out in public reveals that kids tend to have the body types of their parents. I’ve heard it said, ‘if your dog is overweight, you don’t get enough exercise.’ How much more does that apply to our families?

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