Your health:


Stacey Collins
When the Chief Medical Officer for England tells us that inactivity affects more people in England than smoking, alcohol misuse and obesity combined, we have to wonder whether fitness should be taken more seriously.

We have all seen the Change4Life morph-like creatures on the adverts that were issued by the government telling us to adapt our lifestyles.

News reports surrounding obesity are constantly being covered, reminding us that Britain is the fattest country in Europe with one in four men and one in three women classed as overweight. We are also aware that one in every 11 deaths in the UK is linked to obesity, but what are we doing to combat our over-consumption and cowardly approach to exercise?

Whilst most of us have either been to the gym or at least contemplated going at some point in our life, many of us lack the motivation that is needed.

Not only do we need to consider attaining the level of fitness that the government recommends (30 minutes of exercise a day), but we also have to think about maintaining it. And I am sure as many of you know, that is not the easiest feat.

The word gym can conjure up thoughts of fear, guilt and expense- but it doesn't have to. According to new reports, physiologists suggest that 20 minutes a day of high-intensity fitness may be just as good as 30 minutes. Your gym sessions can be transformed from a chore to a comfortable part of your everyday schedule.

And you do not have to give up an arm and a leg in order to pay the costs of keeping fit. Whilst free or cheap gyms are available, exercise can be carried out almost anywhere. You can keep your arm and leg to use when running up and down those stairs at home or around the local park.

I have begun to attend my local gym. My motive? The fact that it is free is one incitement, as is the fact that I will be spending time in America this summer and want to be in shape.

What is your motive to get in shape?

Whilst some may find the constant urging of the government to get fit tedious, commanding and ever-so-slightly patronising, most people will have an alternative aim to attain the right physique. Whether the cause be health-related, due to peer-pressure or because of glossy mags full to the brim of anorexic, photoshopped celebs, getting trim is much easier to do with a motive in mind.

As much as getting in shape is about the physical, it is also about having the right state of mind. Your mind needs training as well as your body.

But if we are happy with our body image, should we really listen to the advice of physiologists and peers? The Dove campaigns for real beauty serves to remind us that we should not give in to pressure and conformity but be happy with the way that we were created and have created ourselves.

So the pursuit of fitness is one of happiness. Maybe we should worry less about being 'fitain', and more about being Britain - a country of diversity consisting of all shapes and sizes.
Stacey Collins

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