We have become a society of little movement, and even schools are eliminating basic physical education requirements. When you don’t move, your body does not require many calories to function on a daily basis. Exercise not only improves your body’s fitness and finesse, but also burns calories that would otherwise become transformed into fat. That’s the basic equation: if you eat more calories than you burn, then the excess calories become stored as fat for the future. And if you continue to eat more than you burn off, the fat storage will accumulate more and more. This simple concept seems to be lost on a vast number of the population. Too much food, too little exercise. Tennis can increase the exercise component of this equation.
Although tennis players have lower body fat than the general population, exercise alone is not enough to avoid obesity. We have become a society that is sugar and starch addicted. We like “fast foods,” which make us feel good in the short run but which lead to obesity if left unchecked in the long run. Here is the problem. Rather than eating a well-balanced diet that includes fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, and protein through meat, fish or soy. If the calories from sweet and starch foods are not burned off through exercise, then they become stored as fat. Many people mistakenly think that fat tissue comes from eating fatty foods, but the reality is that most fat tissue in the body is from consuming too many sweets and starches. Better education about how this process works is needed through coaches, trainers and medical professionals. Unfortunately this simple concept is not well understood by the majority of the population.
Eating properly sounds easy, but it is not occurring sufficiently throughout society. It requires good habits on a daily basis. Many people prefer a sweet snack and this is in part because the sweet foods send signals to the brain that cause immediate gratification. Avoiding childhood obesity means developing good, daily food habits and letting go of the instant gratification of sweet foods. As children are even more interested than adults in instant gratification, they are the most vulnerable to problems with diet. This is compounded if their parent or caregiver provides these sweet and salty foods. Children will eat what is provided to them, so good choices by the caregivers are the most vital link in the entire obesity question.
Movement with Good Eating
Ultimately, avoiding childhood obesity is a way of life. Remember the simple equation: if you eat more calories than you burn off, the excess calories become stored as fat. Excess fat storage leads to obesity, which leads to many health problems. A combination of regular tennis play and healthy eating habits is a sure bet for not only avoiding childhood obesity but also for living a healthy life.
So take this information and spread the word about the many benefits of tennis play and help to do your part in reversing the childhood obesity problem.