Did you know that while Travel and Leisure Magazine listed Charleston as the #1 city in the world, we don’t even crack the top 50 when it comes to healthiest cities in the world?  According to The ACSM (American Fitness Index), Charleston ranks below cities like Houston, Cleveland and Charlotte.  And according to retale.com, South Carolina ranks #47/50 for the “sportiest states”.

Apparently, compared to several other major cities in the nation, Charleston’s health numbers (number of parks, farmers’ markets, baseball diamonds, dog parks, playgrounds, golf courses, recreation centers, public swimming pools, tennis courts coupled with our percentages of people bicycling or walking to work and park-related expenditures per capita) fall woefully short of our top ranking contemporaries.

Those of us in the exercise community might find this hard to believe because inside of our worlds of sports, fitness and exercise, we see many fit and active people.  While you may encounter dozens of people you see at the gym, think about all of the people that you know that don’t spend time being active.

And that is a shame.  The benefits of exercise are widely known.  According to the CDC, even working out a moderate amount contributes to:

  • Controlling your weight
  • Reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reducing your risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
  • Reducing your risk of some cancers
  • Strengthening your bones and muscles
  • Improving your mental health and mood
  • Improving your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls, if you’re an older adult
  • Improving your chances of living longer

What can we do to get more friends and loved ones out and exercising?  WebMD suggests exercising with them. “A workout partner can steer you back in the right direction. It’s easier to bail out on the gym than on the friend who waits for you there. Studies show you’ll also work out longer when you have a pal along.”

GroupHealth.org suggests taking a friend for a walk.  Getting out there and just moving can often be the first step to ultimately making it to the gym or starting an exercise routine.