Here is a copy of Ernest’s January 2013 Arundel Voice Article

What Is Your Plan to Become Healthier in 2013?

What is it in our life that causes us to wait until the last minute? We seem to want to use every minute to procrastinate to the last possible moment.  Recent examples; our leadership with the “fiscal cliff” or the NHL hockey lock out. I can think of a few things that we really can’t wait to the last minute on, one of them being our health.

I’ve come across some alarming statistic about just how much we procrastinate or don’t take our health as seriously as we should.

 

  • Nearly 30% of Anne Arundel County residents are obese and another 39% are overweight!
  • In 2005-2006 AA county topped the nation in prevalence of diabetes and high blood pressure!
  • In 2012 AA county obesity rate topped the state average

For me one of the most concerning statistics is that today one-third of children in the U.S. are overweight or obese, more than triple the number 40 years ago. (Bikes Belong)

There are plenty more  statistics, but deep down I think many of us know that we can do more and should do more to improve our health/take care of ourselves.

There is some good news. You can start today and take a small step each day to improve your health. It isn’t hard but you have to start. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends we get a minimum of 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity for physical health.

Exercising with your family is a great way to motivate each other to get in shape while connecting with them more. There are many ways to get in shape and one of my favorite ways is to ride my bicycle. Cycling is a great low impact aerobic activity. Whether young or old many people have the ability to ride a bicycle. In our area we are very fortunate to have lots of great places to ride.

With a little bit of effort and time the results to your health can be quite great and rewarding.

Three hours of riding per week reduces the risk of heart disease & stroke by 50%. (People for Bikes )That’s just thirty minutes a day six days a week or an hour a day for three days. Women who bike 30+ minutes a day have a lower risk of breast cancer. Adolescents who bicycle are 48% less likely to be overweight as adults. Have you ever thought of riding your bicycle for that errand instead of using your car?

Biking for transportation is listed as the safest way to get physical activity.  Did you know that 49% of trips Americans make are less than 3 miles? 39% are less than 2 miles and 24% are less than 1 mile. How many of your trips could you take by bike? Some ideas might be to ride your bike to school with your children, ride your bike to get the grocery items you forgot or to the hardware store. Need to get your kids to sports practice? Let them warm up by riding their bike with you to practice.

In upcoming articles I will introduce you to some of the many places to ride locally. I will also share with you some of the many things I have learned over my years of riding to help make your riding more fun. So now take some time to plan your riding for 2013 with your family or your friends. Set an obtainable goal that you can measure by either days of riding, (a favorite of skiers) miles of riding, or hours. I have one friend who tracks her athletic activity by the minute across all of her sports.  I wish you and your family a healthy and happy New Year. What is your plan to become healthier in 2013?

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