Fitness in America

After a few days stay in Wisconsin and Chicago it occurred to me – what a great place for fitness the USA is.

I’m aware of the ‘fitness-rules’ approach in parts of Southern California – I’ve served my time running up and down stairs in Santa Monica, and been one of the smallest guys in the gym in Gold’s at Venice Beach on quite a few occasions – but this is the first time I’ve realized that the rest of this country is just as great for fitness as the LA area is.

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When in Wisconsin

I’ve spent time with great fitness friends, Jane, Will, Eric and Anne, all of whom are age-eligible for Fitness Over Fifty.

In just a few days, I’ve attended:

– multiple spinning classes

– kayaked down a long river in rural Wisconsin

– cycled a major trail from mountain to lake – think ‘sea’ not ‘lake’ for a more accurate picture.

As well as this, I’ve visited gyms in all my locations which are open all hours, friendly folk, kept tidy by the users and all massively helpful to temporary visitors. Since I was from the UK, I benefitted from free guest passes for multiple days both in Wisconsin and Chicago.

So all in all a trip that was very fitness-oriented.

fitness in america_2Why is obesity such a huge problem?

That picture I have just painted is entirely genuine and wide-spread from state to state as I have travelled extensively in the USA. Yet there is the underside of the same coin that we are also very aware of.

So how come, in the environment that I describe,  there are so many obese people over there?

In one small town we went to, our group was the only bunch of people in a bar (good local craft-brewed ales) that didn’t need some serious fat loss activities. And pretty much all of them were eating mounds of chips (fries), huge burgers and battered fried fish – with mammoth ice creams and cakes for dessert.

And this in a small country town in the middle of some of the freshest air on the planet, with a huge amount of the great outdoors on the doorstep!

Too much of a good thing

There are many exercise and fitness opportunities available, in general far easier to access than in the UK, but there is also plenty of food available, with less-than perfect eating choices available on every street and at every corner.

I guess the conclusion is that this is the land of the plenty, and the land of the free.

One restaurant we went to admitted by their menu they didn’t offer any dessert for much less than 1000 calories. It was a boast!

Another restaurant – and not a downmarket one – had six different types of bread, eight different types of potatoes – but absolutely no green vegetables. It would be funny if it weren’t so alarming.

It’s the land of the plenty indeed, and that of the free – and people are indeed free to make their own choices.  It’s a concern to me that so many seem to make these choices without considering what is best for their health, fitness and a happy, long life.

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