THE BLOG
04/02/2014 12:26 EDT | Updated 06/02/2014 05:59 EDT

Just Going to the Gym Doesn't Make You 'Healthy'

There are 21 billion reasons to read this whole article. My love of Home Economists is just one of them, and my excitement that I didn't die at the Winnipeg Children's Hospital is another(I got a lot of needles though).

Next week is fast approaching.

January 1st you had 52 weeks to change your health, that's the promise you made yourself. Another week is gone. What did you focus on more this week? If it was family, you are in the clear. However, if TV, evenings out, work, and anything secondary to you being healthy took you away form fitness you are in trouble.

I'm amazed at how many people say they have to work. They've got houses and cars, responsibilities, and all sorts of things to take their focus off of their health. Let me say this very clear.

I work with hundreds of people. I have been blessed with a career that the media has picked up and I get to go on TV, I have a radio show, I make videos and write for Inside Fitness Magazine, TSN.CA let's me share my adventures on their site, and a lot more. It means that I meet people.

It's a morbid fact, and it's something I learned as a kid at the WInnipeg Children's Hospital. The more people you know, the more people you see die. When I was young, the kids I saw were sick through no fault of their own. My memories of those days fuel me to live healthy and balanced life. Once I hit 15, 16 and 17 and was told I was perfectly healthy, I took it to heart. No more missed days, no more fear, just a lot of fun to be had. My car, my home, my clothing will never cost me so much that it takes time away from fitness or time to relax and remove stress.

I'm a country boy, I know what's good for me. It's not a home that requires me to work 14 hour days(I don't want to be at an office longer than I'm in my own home), or a car that started to depreciate the minute I drove off the lot. There is nothing more precious than time with friends and family. The worst time to realize that is when it's too late. Did you buy a big house to entertain friends? Do you do it? Can you, or are you too busy working?

Cold hard facts, 17 million people died in 2011 from cardiovascular disease. Most of that is lifestyle related according to the World Health Organization.

Head over to Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the stats don't get any better

The highlights:

- in 2008 almost 1/3 of all Canadian deaths are related to CVD - 29 per cent or 69,703

- The cost of that stat on the economy... wait for it... $20.9 billion

I realize the fitness is not for everyone. But relaxation, and great tasting food is.

What has happened is that we have killed healthy living. Too many people like me (I love exercise, and can't wait for the next adventure), the demand put on youth at school for Phys Ed (In some cases, we forget not all kids are athletes), and the simple fact that as a nation we sell fast results with no effort in every product, we have forgotten what healthy living is. How does that happen? We actually have to tell people to stop work at lunch, go eat, and go for a walk. Seriously, workplace health is frightening.

I love teachers, I can't thank them enough for what they do. Phys Ed at school has taken a beating over the years, that's not what this is about. The programs we offer, and what I have seen visiting schools is awesome. But you can't force a 15 year old to play volleyball or any sport for that matter. If you do, you can't make them give you enough effort to make it exercise.

The answer lies in home economics, seriously.

Phys Ed and Fitness has become the magazine cover and pro sports. If you follow my training as I blog on TSN's website you'll quickly see it's not for most people. It's sport and sport training. 10 per cent of the population gets me, and loves the same things I do. The other 90 per cent has that thrown in their face, and is told they need to workout and get fit like an athlete.

Well if you want to be healthy, that's not the case. If you want more bone density, more energy, and more joy of life, it's not necessarily going to be found with me in a gym.

What Home Economics teaches, and instils in youth is health over a lifetime. It's the common denominator. It's also something we need to teach our athletes. When you can't keep up that pro performance level, do you know how to cook, and live to be healthy?

Somewhere along the way the lines got blurred. You are either in a hospital sick and dying, or you are a pro athlete and cover model. No one gives praise to the middle ground. No one talks about the family of five who are all healthy body weight, active but not stand outs on a sports team, and who eat healthy everyday.

We have TV shows that show obese people losing hundreds of pounds (that's great), but no one ever says "Hey, look at this family. Grandma is 87 years old and healthy. The parents are late 40's, stress free and eat great, and the kids are heading into University healthy and grounded in an active lifestyle". We follow sports teams, and spend a lot of time and money to support them, but we don't do the same for our own health. We watch people be active, and that's fine, as long as we are getting our own time to be fit.

Here in Winnipeg, I have a few season ticket holders for the big Hockey team here. They regularly skip out on workouts to go to the game. In a year, their blood pressure hasn't come down and their fitness hasn't gone up. They say exercise doesn't work for them. Then I ask how many workouts they had last month. They can show me 12 bookings, and I show them 10 cancels. 7 hockey games, 2 late meetings, and 1 just because.

That's what makes us inactive, and the gym isn't the answer.

I've met a lot of home economists recently. I'm shocked how many don't have a traditional gym membership. It's more swimming, running, basics of resistance, yoga, and anything outside that just gets them moving. They mix that with amazing high quality food, and a lot of great recipes to get their bodies full of nutrients.

The gym and the gym life is where you go to get pretty.

Healthy living as taught by a home economist is how we decrease the $20.9 billion on spending on cardiovascular disease.

If you want a six pack and you are willing to put in the work... come see me. If you want to get healthy, and feel that energy like you had when you were a kid talk to a Home Economist. It's the message behind my facebook page and website, One Fit City. I want people to eat better, and just go enjoy the outside and their community.

Ladies and gentlemen: Let's start to be smarter, and let's start turning our trends to health. There is no reason at all for the state of our Nations health. If we all focused for 52 weeks, starting now, there is no reason that the 2015 budget for cardiovascular disease is less than $10 billion. With the savings, we can feed a few kids. Now wouldn't that be cool?

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