New Zealanders are getting less active. Last week Sport NZ published a study that shows the response to the pandemic has severely affected participation in physical activity.
Lead academic Associate Professor for Sport NZ, Justin Richards, says it is clear from this study that the pandemic has affected the habits of people across the country when it comes to physical activity.
"Given that New Zealand had relatively few social restrictions one year into the pandemic, it is concerning that activity didn't return to normal levels, and this suggests an impact on habitual physical activity."
This is a real bummer because healthy people are better equipped to fight off illness.
Active people are almost always healthier than sedentary ones. It's no secret that being overweight and unfit makes life harder. When you are out of shape, everything gets difficult.
The wheels come off not just physically but mentally. Fat lazy me is definitely slower, dumber and grumpier than fit me.
Like nearly everyone else in New Zealand, I have had my two shots and the booster. I'll take the next one too. I don't care. Line them up. I wear a mask wherever I'm told. Even when it seems silly.
I am happy to do these things, but I don't believe they are the most crucial health measures I've been involved in over the past two years. Running every day, watching what I eat and not drinking too many beers is a solid health response to everything. It even helps fight the vid if you get it.
Government rules are one thing, but we owe it to ourselves, our families and our country to look after our own health. When you are fit, you have more energy for the people you love. People in tip-top shape like themselves more.
Fit people don't worry about the health system nearly as much as obese people do. In my opinion, doing the basics to stay healthy is our moral and patriotic duty. A mask might protect you from Covid. Getting fit will help you across nearly every health issue. Not everyone has time to go to the gym for an hour each day, but we can take the stairs instead of the elevator. We don't have to go back to the trough for seconds and thirds. We don't need to get steamed every night of the week. All these things help.
We have become so focused on one virus we have forgotten about the bigger health issues like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Everyone should be active not because they are told to by the authorities but because it's the right thing to do.
The government fought Covid with rules, mandates and laws. They attacked the virus by shutting us down for months, compelling people to stay indoors and demanding vaccine passes. Imagine if they took equally extreme measures across wider health issues.
Should we force people to show their daily steps before they are allowed to order fries with a burger? If we can force everyone to cover their mouths with masks, surely, we can ban inactive people from putting chips in that same hole.
What about mandatory lift closures in high-rise buildings? If we can close shops for months for health reasons, surely, we can close elevators. The government could shut down all escalators across the country to fight obesity.
As the late great comedian, Mitch Hedberg once said, "an escalator can never break; it can only become stairs. There should never be an escalator out of order sign, just escalator temporarily stairs". How about weighted entry points? The government could mandate all swinging doors have 50kg attached. Arriving at work would become a decent pec and calf exercise.
Of course, these things will never happen. The government isn't going to take extreme action against obesity. There would be riots. We have to look after ourselves, which is fine because most of us are adults. We don't need to be told what to do. We all have the power to stop stuffing our faces and go for a walk.
According to Sports NZ, we have become less active. This will lead to terrible health results and pressure on our hospital system. Luckily there is an easy solution - start being active.