Most people relegate health and fitness to a fitness studio, gym or spa. But it goes far beyond that. Health and fitness is far more than just wanting to look good. For some people, being fit is a way to enjoy good health and avoid costs associated with time spent in the hospital. Some people want to stay strong so they can play with their grandchildren or engage in active vacations during their retirement. Some people make healthy choices because they recognize that good health affects their job, their social lives, and their children’s health. And finally, what I want to focus on today, is the recognition by some that their health-related choices affect the environment.
You may ask, “How do my choices affect the environment?” The answer is quite simple and I’ll give you a few examples. Choosing to eat at a fast food restaurant wreaks more havoc on the environment than growing produce in your own yard. Buying locally raised meats and vegetables cuts down on the amount of gas used to transport produce to grocery stores. Purchasing organic produce and free-range/organic meats puts money in the pockets of those doing the least amount of damage to the planet, rather than encouraging the use of pesticides, growth hormones, or antibiotics. Basically, every time you purchase food, you are voting. And we need to take this vote seriously, as the obesity epidemic is also damaging our environment.
I read the following quote in a recent article by Reuters:
“Some costs of obesity reflect basic physics. It requires twice as much energy to move 250 pounds than 125 pounds. As a result, a vehicle burns more gasoline carrying heavier passengers than lighter ones.’Growing obesity rates increase fuel consumption,’ said engineer Sheldon Jacobson of the University of Illinois. How much? An additional 938 million gallons of gasoline each year due to overweight and obesity in the United States, or 0.8 percent, he calculated. That’s $4 billion extra.”
So what are we going to do about it?
Years ago, I remember reading that we could become not only fitter but also relieve our dependence on foreign oil if every American biked to work for two weeks every year. I imagine fuel consumption has changed since I read that over a decade ago, however, it is still intriguing. Aside from energy independence, what could it do for our health and the environment? Because, let’s be honest; if the environment isn’t healthy, none of us will be healthy.
Could you bike to work? Could you use Map My Ride and find a safe route and demonstrate your commitment to your health and the health of the environment? Would you be willing to do that? Would your employer laud your efforts? Could you do it on a casual Friday?
Would there by 5 days next month when you could bike to work? Would you like to do it with a co-worker or with a virtual group of people? Let me know if you are in and let’s bike in while we still have some warmth in the air! Stay tuned to hear how it goes.
Learn more about the Health Fitness Specialist Degrees at Globe University/Minnesota School of Business.