January 1, 1997 in Nation/World

With Exercise, Less Can Be More Resolve To Do It, Not Overdo It

Marlene Cimons Los Angeles Times

The surgeon general Tuesday called on Americans to commit themselves to doing less exercise in 1997 - and to do it less vigorously - than they think they should.

Wait: It’s not like it sounds.

Many Americans, shamed by their slothful behavior during a indulgent holiday season, typically make overly ambitious exercise resolutions for the new year.

They go out and try to run five miles. Or they join a gym and spend two hours working out the first day. Or they spend a lot of money on a piece of expensive equipment, such as a treadmill or a stair climber, and use it for several hours as soon as they get it home.

A big mistake.

They get tired and sore. Or they get injured. They become discouraged, and they quit.

So federal health officials, mindful of this pattern of failure, are trying a new approach to an old subject.

“The best exercise is one that you are going to do,” said acting Surgeon General Audrey F. Manley, urging Americans to become fit and healthy by embracing “a more moderate approach” to working out.

The surgeon general says more than 60 percent of American adults do not achieve the recommended amount of physical activity, and 25 percent of adults do not exercise at all. The figures are just as grim for young people age 12 to 21: nearly 50 percent are not active on a regular basis.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email