"Take good care of your body. It's the only place you have to live." —Jim Rohn
Obesity is one of the most serious health issues affecting the United States today. People who are considered obese are at a much higher risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even certain kinds of cancer. These are the leading causes of preventable death; yet over one-third of American adults AND children are considered obese.
Knowing that weight directly impacts health, why are these numbers so high? The fact is, it's easier to procrastinate or make excuses than it is to alter a lifestyle. We tell ourselves that we are "just too busy right now” and will start "tomorrow.” But "tomorrow" never seems to come and slowly, our waistlines get bigger, going up a flight of steps becomes a struggle, and our health starts to deteriorate. Worse, as parents, we lead by example. Our children are learning that fast food and being sedentary are a way of life.
Ultimately, in order to attack obesity and the issues that surround it, we need to make changes in our lives. A healthy lifestyle is just that. A lifestyle. There are no miracle drugs or surgeries that can do this. Breaking old habits and making new ones is a process. We have to make a conscious decision to change and then we must be consistent with these changes. Staying focused isn't easy, but the benefits are well worth it.
Kaleem Caire, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison, is no different than most of us. He has a family, a busy work schedule, poor eating habits and seemingly no time to exercise. However, statistically, African Americans are at a higher risk for health issues such as asthma, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. When you throw being overweight into the mix, it's a dangerous combination. Kaleem has decided that it's time to take control of his health. While he IS a very busy man, he has managed to find time to devote to this and has just started a new fitness program with Haywood Simmons, who is the President of Phitness Plus.
Simmons, who is also the head coach for the Monona Warriors, is no stranger to obesity and the health issues that come with it. He has personally overcome teenage hypertension, adult onset diabetes, and obesity. Now he is on a mission to promote health, one client at a time. Each of the people he trains is given their own specialized program. While developing new habits and working muscles that you didn't even know existed can be tough, "Coach Wood" likes to make it fun. In fact, the gym at Phitness Plus is appropriately titled, "The Playroom.” Keeping it fun keeps people engaged. And once they start seeing results, such as muscle tone, less belly fat and stress relief, it pushes them more. After awhile, it just becomes part of their daily life.
Kaleem has agreed to let us track him on his journey to becoming a healthier individual. The Madison Times is going to report on his progress over the next couple months and hopefully this will inspire others to make some changes in their lives.
Thank you, Kaleem! You are leading by example!
If you would like more information about Phitness Plus and the programs it offers, please call (608) 278-1493, or go to their website phitnessplus.com.