Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Need a lure to the cure

The summer Olympics are the pinnacle of sports, a spectacle of athleticism in which a chosen few breathe the rarified air of competition on an international level. The Olympics should be inspiration for the rest of us who face the daily choice of hitting the couch or hitting the trail. Yet, they're not.

Planners of the London Olympics were disappointed in the games' ability to motivate more Britons to engage even in basic exercise like riding a bike or walking. As part of the Olympics, the British government had hoped to get a million more young people into sports and another million people of all ages into general exercise.

Neither goal was met.

It's likely the U.S. is seeing the same lack of motivation because of the perception that Olympic sports are for the elite—despite the numerous stories about Olympic athletes who succeeded in getting there against all odds.

It's a strange phenomenon to see U.S. citizens who are known for complaining loudly about the high cost of health care planted in lounge chairs watching the Olympics on TV.

Today's scientists say we gamble our health by spending too much time sitting. Medical professionals have a difficult time convincing patients to spend just 30 minutes a day in brisk motion, which could save billions in medical costs every year.

If the Olympics are not the lure to the cure to what ails us, what is? Are we really content to invite illness when we could have slimmer waists and fatter pocketbooks if we spent a little time moving in sneakers?

Let's declare war on inertia and learn that movement is for everyone, not just the elite.

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