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Fitness: Did you hear?…

New study shows one-third of seniors don't exercise, UK looks to offer public personal trainers, PE4Life to receive $74 million in 2005, plus much more...


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For the week of Nov. 23-29

>> It’s not just the Gen X and Y and Boomers who are not healthy these days. It’s the seniors too. According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Merck Institute of Aging & Health — the third annual State of Aging and Health in America, two of three older adults don’t eat nutritious diets and one in three don’t exercise enough. The report, which focuses on adults age 65 and older, also has input from the Gerontological Society of America, which says that despite the proven health benefits of physical activity, one-third of older adults are not taking part in any leisure-time physical activities. The report also notes that promoting a healthier lifestyle among older Americans is the single most important factor in maintaining both physical and mental wellness. “In order to ensure that our aging population does all it can to stay healthy and independent, and to reduce risk of disabilities, we as a nation must do more to translate knowledge about healthy behaviors into action,” said Patricia P. Barry, executive director of MIAH. Only two states, Hawaii and Minnesota, met the federal target for leisure-time physical activity. The group is a non-profit organization, funded by the Merck Company Foundation, and located in Washington, D.C. For more, go to www.miahonline.org.

>> UNITED KINGDOMPersonal trainers could be provided by the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom to advise the public on health issues, if the government’s White Paper on public health is approved. These would be special trainers accredited by the NHS to have skills to help people make health and lifestyle changes. They would initially support people in high need areas by 2006 before the plan is rolled out across Britain from 2007. The White Paper stresses that the NHS health trainers will act as guides and provide support only for those who want help and not as instructors for those who don’t. Speaking at the launch of the report, health secretary John Reid, said, “People make their own choices about health, but they have made plain in our consultation that they want the information, advice and support in making their own choices.” The government also wants to promote walking and cycling to schools and will fund around 250 local authority-based school travel advisors to help schools develop and implement travel plans. The use of pedometers to promote awareness of the benefits of physical activity among school pupils will also be assessed.

>> PE4life, the non-profit advocacy group supporting PE in schools and helping to dole out federal grants, has just confirmed that the PEP grant program has been funded at $74 million for the coming year. It was part of the $388 billion Omnibus Spending Bill passed by Congress a week ago. The group (www.pe4life.org) called the bill “a great victory for all of us involved in promoting physical activity and quality physical education programs for all students.”

>> While white-collar workers sometimes take jabs at each other in the boardroom, some are taking it to the ring. In the Nov. 29 issue of Business Week, Brian Hindo and Laura Cohn reported that white-collar types account for 65 percent of membership at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn. That’s up from 10 percent in the early 1990s. The story also reported that “in London, the Real Fight Club, has signed up more than 2,600 city professionals at local gyms in the past four years…At the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, 70 percent of the members are white-collar boxers.” Apparently, many people have discovered the ring through boxing-type cardio workouts. Some people have stepped up to boxing because they’re searching for a new challenge and different type of workout. Others may be feeding their ego, or trying to unleash their inner Rocky. “It’s getting back to your basic instincts as a human being,” said Bob Miarsiglia, a 43-year-old Smith-Barney vice president who began boxing at a local gym many years ago. “It’s an opportunity to really explore the other side of yourself.” White-collar boxing differs from other version of the sport because bouts usually are not scored. Plus, the events are often tied to charity events and causes, such as Operation Smile, which repairs facial deformities for children.

>> Gary Heavin, founder and CEO of Curves International, was given the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2004 award in the services category. Heavin was recognized for his entrepreneurial accomplishment in growing Curves International from a single gym in 1995 to what is today the fastest-growing franchise in history, according to Guinness World Records. He was honored as a national winner at a Palm Springs, Calif., event on Nov. 20, where awards were given to 10 additional recipients. All winners were selected from 400 regional award recipients by an independent panel of judges.