Summer is almost here and more and more of us are feeling less and less enthusiastic about our bodies and anticipate enjoying the outdoor fun less as a result.
A recent survey commissioned by Anytime Fitness Corporate and conducted by Research Now of more than 1,000 adults found that 76 percent of the survey participants feel the same or worse about their bodies this year compared to last year. Also 45% feel more self-conscious now as compared to last summer because they slacked off their fitness routines and/or gained weight in the past 12 months.
The fact is, one in three Americans has a low or very low body image, which coincidentally mirrors the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control indicating that more than a third of U.S. adults (35.7 percent) are clinically obese.
Yet ironically, those who might benefit most from the health and self-esteem boosting effects of regular exercise are those most likely to feel they are not fit enough to be seen in a gym. This is not unusual. The survey found that more than one out of every five felt like he or she isn’t “fit” enough to be seen in a gym. Women are more likely to feel that way than men.
The survey results give us more reasons to get serious about addressing this country’s obesity crisis. Not only does obesity cause serious health and economic problems, but it also hurts our self-esteem. Fortunately, the solutions are pretty simple: We need to make healthy diets and exercise programs more accessible to everyone.
More than a third of all respondents said that their current fitness level prevents them from enjoying summer activities to the fullest.
More than half of the survey respondents dress in a way to “compensate for certain areas” or “cover up everything they can.”
Women are more embarrassed to reveal their weight as compared to men.
It is important to note that 84 percent the persons who took the survey said that they are more concerned about health and fitness than their parents were at the same age. Perhaps that’s due in part to the fact that experts predict, for the first time in history, the current generation of children in America may have shorter life expectancies than their parents.
We have a chance to change history but we must start now!
Judy Schmoeger, a longtime resident of Lee’s Summit, is owner and general manager of Anytime Fitness.