Sunday, August 18, 2013

SUNDAY SERMON

Congratulations to all of you.

After you complete today's workout, pat yourself on the back. Congratulate yourself, and your training partners, on a job well done. If you participated in a race today, consider yourself elite. You ARE elite. It doesn't matter if you finished first or last, you are among a select, special group of individuals. Age, ability, or body type is irrelevant. You deserve a shout out. You are indeed, a member of an elite minority. You see, you have taken control. You have taken on the scourge that is the 21st century. You have accepted the challenge, and you are winning. You are, and you will continue to be, a winner.

This blog goes out to folks around the world, and I do not possess statistics from other countries, but, statistically, we Americans are killing ourselves!

A headline in yesterday's local newspaper read, "Adult obesity rate holding steady: Americans still too overweight, study says."

The article, based on the latest annual report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, was actually an optimistic one, given the fact that Americans haven't gotten fatter in the past year. However, the average American adult is now 24 pounds heavier than in 1960!

Young people today may be the first generation to live sicker and die earlier than their parents did.

Obesity is defined as having a body mass index of 30 or more, while a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is classified as overweight, according to the CDC. More than two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese.

The consequences are, and if unchanged, will be, murderous to Americans in the coming years. Increased risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and a plethora of problems face us, taxing an already overworked health care system.

In all 50 states, at least 20 percent of the population is overweight, and in 41 of the states, 25 percent, yes, one-quarter of the population is overweight.

So, congratulations to all of you. If you're reading this blog, you are ambassadors for good health, a group folks who refuse to be sucked into the unhealthy pit of modern living.

In my book, "Running Shorts," I wrote a kind of tongue-in-cheek chapter, entitled, 'Eat less, exercise more.' Let's face it. It's really not that complicated. Simply...eat less, and exercise more. You all have, obviously, gotten the concept.

Moderate!

One cheeseburger won't kill you. A cheeseburger a night might.

Eat food, not products. If it's colorful, it's good. Fruits and vegetables are super foods.

Ok, sorry. I know I'm preaching to the choir.

We are runners, so we tend to be a bit narcissistic. Today, I'm challenging you to go beyond yourselves. Mother Teresa once said she would treat "one leper at a time." Each of you need to spread the gospel of healthy living to one person at a time.

Talk to a coworker. Tell them how good you feel after turning in a good workout. Show that person how you've cinched your belt in a couple of notches or how you've gone down a couple of dress sizes. Spread the gospel of running to people of all ages. Volunteer to coach track or cross country at a local high school or junior high school. Organize a race, or start a youth track league. Show the kids how cool it is to run, and how they can actually exercise something more than their thumbs.

A coworker of mine is in his early 30s. He was a fine high school athlete, who let himself lapse into obesity. At 6 foot, he tipped the scales at 250 pounds. He began to ask me about running, and he slowly began the journey, coupled with a better diet. Within 8 months, he had dropped nearly 100 pounds, and had nailed a 5K race in 24 minutes, earning an age-group award. When he showed me his medal, it was as satisfying to me as any award I've earned in my career.

A week before Christmas last year, a group of us, pictured below, gathered in my driveway for our annual 'Christmas Run.' A three-mile jaunt through the streets of my hometown, Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Runners, old and young, we shared the common bond we all share.

I'm convinced that it won't be the government, it won't be the schools, rather, it will be us, through our example, who will reverse America's obesity epidemic.

Consider this my Sunday morning sermon. Take what you have done for yourselves and guide others on the road to fitness. All of us will benefits from your efforts.