The prevalence of obesity has increased markedly in the last two decades in the United States; currently two out of every three Americans is either overweight or obese. Furthermore, 300,000 deaths each year are associated with obesity, which puts it second on the list of preventable deaths, behind smoking. Obesity and being overweight are associated with heart disease, certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke, arthritis, breathings problems and psychological disorders such as depression.
Obesity in America has a direct correlation to lack of proper aerobic exercise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 23 percent of adults in the United States report regular, vigorous physical activity that involves large muscle groups in dynamic movement for 20 minutes or longer three or more days per week. Only 15 percent of adults report physical activity for five or more days per week for 30 minutes or longer, and another 40 percent do not participate in any regular physical activity. These numbers are far too low.
Physical activity is important in preventing and treating weight problems and obesity and is extremely helpful in maintaining weight loss, especially when combined with healthy eating. Regular exercise has proven to provide several benefits:
- it helps reduce blood pressure in people who already have hypertension,
- lowers the risk of developing non-insulin-dependent (type 2) diabetes mellitus,
- reduces the risk of developing colon cancer,
- helps people achieve and maintain a healthy body weight,
- reduces feelings of depression and anxiety,
- promotes psychological well-being and reduces feelings of stress,
- helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints,
- reduces the risk of having a second heart attack in people who have already had one heart attack,
- lowers both total blood cholesterol and triglycerides and increases high-density lipoproteins (HDL or the "good" cholesterol) and
- lowers the risk of developing high blood pressure.
The closer we look at the health risks associated with a lack of physical activity, the more convincing it is that Americans who are not yet regularly physically active should become active. It is recommended that Americans accumulate at least 30 minutes (adults) or 60 minutes (children) of moderate physical activity most days of the week. 43 percent of adolescents watch more than two hours of television each day.
Skating and More
One good way to get your recommended aerobic activity is in-line skating. According to the Sporting Goods Manufacturer’s Association, 19.2 million people skated in 2003, making it one of the most popular fitness activities in America.
"In-line skating is a great way to get fit while having fun," says Nicholas Skally of Rollerblade. "As one of the top aerobic activities, in-line skating burns approximately 350 calories in a 30-minute workout while producing less than half the shock and impact to joints when compared with other physical activities."
And Now, a Message From our Sponsor
One recommended fitness skate is the Rollerblade Aero 9. Its revolutionary Total Fit System system makes putting the skate on quick and effortless, while fitting more precisely than possible with laces or buckles. The system also enables an exact fit every time, by adjusting to the contours of your foot.
Visit Rollerblade's web site for more information on the fitness benefits of skating, tips for beginning skaters, or the latest line of fitness and recreation skates. For a Rollerblade, Inc. dealer in your area, call (800) 323-roll or visit the "dealer finder" on the Rollerblade Web site.
Reader Patricia Stinson weighs in on winter workouts for the mature skater
Happy New Year, Liz! I am still skating but the weather is cold and the freeze/thaw/rain cycle leaves the park's walkway flooded in some spots. Although I am not skating regularly, I have joined a gym to get a more disciplined workout with classes, weights and a medicine ball, etc. I've noticed that my muscles are getting stronger, bit by bit.
I still have a long way to go, but in the few weeks of these classes, I have improved my skating level and in my belly dance classes. The skating is more effortless. I’m stronger on little inclines and I don't even notice the change in surfaces from smooth to one rough patch. I am becoming one of the skaters I admired in the spring who just glide along. I thought it was their youth, but it's a matter of conditioning, I think. I am not attempting to become a speed demon or anything, but my improved body conditioning is helping me skate so much better with longer, smoother strides instead of the stumpy little steps.
I thought you may want to share with your readers that skating is great conditioning, but in the older body, more is needed. Only two years ago, I was playing soccer with much younger women but some personal losses made me less active. My body slid back. While I took up skating, my body needed still more work. When it comes to fitness, one must really do the whole thing: run, swim, walk, work out, bike—do it all to maintain and improve conditioning. No single activity is enough for the older body.