As stated by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: “Excess weight, especially obesity, is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some musculoskeletal conditions, and some cancers.” In Australia specifically, we have an obesity rate of 28.6 per cent — that’s 2.7 million adults currently suffering from obesity and facing dangerous health implications as a result.
The measurement to determine if someone is overweight or obese is to assess the body mass index (BMI). Someone considered overweight would have a result between BMI ≥25 and <30, and obesity is determined once an individual reaches a BMI ≥30. These results apply to adults 18 years and over.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not just First World countries facing increasing obesity rates; it is a global phenomenon which can be attributed to increased access to unhealthy foods, lack of education around diet and exercise, or stress, lack of motivation and a time-poor, sedentary lifestyle which comes from living in the modern world.
What is the real cost?
If you aren’t aware of what these health implications really mean, it can be hard to take them on board with the level of gravity required to understand the risks they impose on your health. Let’s break them down:
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a condition which builds over time, typically due to poor lifestyle conditions, which leads the body to become resistant to the normal effects of insulin. Type 2 diabetes symptoms can include heart attack, vision problems or foot ulcers.
Obesity is often considered as a key risk factor in the onset and progression of musculoskeletal conditions of the hip, knee, ankle, foot, and shoulder. There is also emerging evidence which indicates that obesity may have a profound effect on soft-tissue structures, such as tendon, fascia, and cartilage.
In recent years there has been a clear correlation made between obesity and certain types of cancer, including breast, colon and rectum, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, and pancreas. As well as a host of others which you can find here.
What’s the solution?
Of course, no one wishes to be overweight or obese, lifestyle factors and mental health and happiness play a significant role. Overcoming these factors can be a real struggle, but it’s a struggle worth enduring in order to step back from the brink of potentially irreversible conditions, and a lifetime with costly medications and treatments to maintain your quality of life.
Regular exercise can help reduce your risk of becoming obese and the further complications that come with this condition.
If you aren’t sure where to start, we have some tips for inspiration:
1. Join a club
When you’re at the beginning of your fitness journey, it can be hard to get motivated. Joining a club gives you the benefit of having all the equipment and trainers available to you so that you can learn the best exercise regime for your current fitness level, as you build up strength and stamina.
2. Socialise with exercise
Another great way to integrate exercise into your lifestyle is to use it as a way to socialise. You could have walking or hiking catchups with friends, or you could look at active lifestyle groups which organise walks, runs, hikes, climbs, boot camps and a range of other activities to get you sweating while also expanding your social circle with the kind of people who can encourage your journey.
3. Goal set
It is hard to achieve anything without a goal in mind, but goals also need to be realistic in order to be achievable so you will strive for them. Try to think of what a healthy lifestyle looks like to you and set goals to achieve this. Maybe you want to eventually run 5km without stopping. Try setting small goals at the beginning. For example, 20 mins three times a week of fast-paced walking or incline training to build up your fitness. Once your fitness is up, increase your goal to run 1km three times per week, then 2km, and so on.
4. Use technology to measure fitness
They say it takes four weeks for you to notice your body changing, eight weeks for your friends and family to see, and 12 weeks for the rest of the world. Most of us don’t have the patience to stick something out for a month without noticing results. Keeping a record of your progress through technology can play a considerable role in motivating you and highlighting your progress before you get to see the change in the mirror.
What do you have to gain?
Aside from gaining healthy muscle mass, the benefits of adopting exercise are momentous, including helping to prevent disease and the myriad health risks associated with excess weight and obesity — which we’ve mentioned above.
Also, exercise is a low-cost solution to reduce the risk of or counter health conditions for which treatments can sadly send many people broke, as well as causing them to be unfit for work.
Exercise works as your best preventative measure to better health and wellbeing. Technology has advanced to a point where it can significantly help people to monitor weight, motivate, recommend programs, and give people control of their health. But ultimately, it is down to people to take control.
At PUML, we believe that if we work collectively, we can all have a stake in people’s fitness. We are doing our part to facilitate this through the PUML app which leverages blockchain and rewards healthier lifestyles by keeping a secure health and fitness record, which integrates multiple fitness data sources.
By giving users control over their fitness data, we can power the sweat economy and give users the ability to gain, not only health and wellness but also financial rewards by sharing their fitness data to those who can use it to make the world a healthier place.