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Unhealthy Indiana

Unhealthy Indiana

Bill Van Valer

I read an article the other day that bothered me a bit about our state.  Did you know that according to America’s Health Rankings that Indiana is the 41st healthiest state in the country?  Let’s put that another way, we are the 9th unhealthiest state!  Did you know 31.8% of us are obese and that number has doubled in the last 25 years?  At that rate, when my kids are my age over two-thirds of all Indiana residents will be obese!  While it is probably a bit of a stretch to draw such a straight trend line there is no denying that it is going up.

I am proud to be an Indianapolis resident and I think Indiana can do better than 41st, so let me share some ideas on how we can do better…

As someone who used to fall into the category of extremely overweight and unhealthy I can share some of my experiences that helped me get out of that rut. 

When I was challenged to complete in the Indianapolis Sprint Triathlon by a friend of mine I thought “I used to be an athlete, this won’t be a problem at all!”  I went to the YMCA, got on the treadmill and proceeded to run .55 (yes, point-five-five) miles before I honestly thought I was going to pass out from lack of oxygen and then just die from the all over pain that my body was in.

I am not going to walk you through all the painful steps (both physically and mentally), but I will tell you that the next time I got on that treadmill I went further, not much, but further.  I followed that prescription until I one day (many days later!) ran 15 miles.  Since then I have competed many running races and three Half IronMan triathlons.

Please don’t misunderstand me.  I am not saying that we should all go compete in 5-6 hour racing events, but that a little bit more today than yesterday can lead to big things with your health.

An easy way you can increase your overall wellness is to take care of the body you were given by providing it regular maintenance through massage.  The benefits of massage are numerous and include things like helping to lower blood pressure and easing the pains of everyday life (or maybe the new pains you have created by moving more than you did yesterday).  A lot of us feel that massage is a luxury or something you only do if you have an acute pain from some sort of muscle soreness, but a routine of regular massage can lead to many great things for your health and how you feel.

You don’t have to get a massage everyday (although Bob Hope did!), but like the idea of getting in a routine of moving your body more you can do the same thing by getting your body used to the healing benefits of massage.

These two ideas of wellness, moving and massage, tied together so well for us that we merged them together.  Now we sponsor that same event series that I competed in for my first triathlon.  We love being part of a healthy, active lifestyle right here in Indianapolis.

Remember, you don’t change the oil in your car when the engine starts smoking, you do it before it gets to that point.  Treat your body with the same respect you give your car and we can start to get the great state of Indiana higher on that list of healthy states.

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