One Hour Of Vigorous Exercise A Year?

A new study confirms what many of us suspected: there are lots of Americans who are ridiculous couch potatoes. I had no idea, however, how deeply rooted those couch potatoes apparently are.

The study, conducted by the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, indicates that the average obese woman gets one hour of vigorous exercise per year. Obese men aren’t much better; they’re getting all of four hours of vigorous exercise a year. “Vigorous exercise” includes things like jogging, running, swimming laps, riding a bike fast on hills, playing singles tennis or playing basketball.

Consider what that finding means. There are 60 minutes in an hour, 60 seconds in a minute, and therefore 3600 seconds in an hour. Apply that to the 365 days you find in a year, and that means the average obese woman is getting less than 10 seconds of vigorous exercise a day.

It’s easy to joke about this, I suppose, but it’s really terrible and tragic. All of those immobile obese people, living their lives in their recliner chairs, have basically given up on living a normal life. They’re not even trying, and in the process they are creating all kinds of health problems for themselves — whether it is diabetes, or heart disease, sleep apnea, and joint problems, among many others.

Apparently, no amount of Richard Simmons videos or The Biggest Loser shows are going to get these people off their butts. We can talk about the obesity epidemic in our country, but these findings suggest that a big part of the problem is the lack of any motivation, or self-respect, on the part of many obese people. Why have they given up? Why aren’t they taking even the most basic steps to help themselves?