Brad Rogers: Resolutions and statistics

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Turns out, I have a gym membership. Oh, it’s not like I was completely clueless. I just chose to ignore it … since, oh, about 2012. I have good excuses (note the plural). I’m really busy. The gym is always crowded. It won’t do any good. I’m tired. Did I mention I’m really busy?

So when my buddy Ben Marciano — who owns The Zone and collects the monthly gym fee from the Rogers household, whether I go or not — mentioned my perpetual absence from his establishment awhile back, I dutifully rattled off the excuses. He smirked and scoffed.

He suggested I might like the less-crowded atmosphere of his new gym at Heathbrook, which is closer to my house.

So, I went by to check it out, mostly to pacify Ben. But one thing led to another and I was suddenly convinced maybe 2018 would be the year I get a little healthier and actually use the gym membership Ben’s collecting every month.

Ben — he’s just full of suggestions — thought it would be helpful if I met Kendrick Butler, head personal trainer at The Zone. Ben said Kendrick would help keep me on track (that’s code for baby-sit), get me on a workout plan and be my encourager. Nice guy, that Kendrick. Always smiling, up and at ’em before sunrise, easy-going and, yes, encouraging — he texts me to ask how my workout went. Uh, um, real well, Kendrick. Thanks.

The good news is two weeks into this 90-day, shall we say, experiment, I’m not doing terrible. Sore? A little. Hate getting up a half hour earlier in the morning? Yes. Feeling good about doing something good for my body and mind. You betcha.

So far, so good. Kendrick helps. Go figure, but the gym isn’t crowded at all at 6 a.m. And I feel better, I think.

So there’s my new year’s resolution: to exercise more, lose a little weight and get all around healthier.

Resolutions aren’t the only thing that you can count on whenever a new year rolls. There are also statistics.

Of course, we’re all statistics in the 21st century. But here’s one that’s tied to my resolution: Out of Florida’s 67 counties, Marion County ranks 43rd in health outcomes. That means we’re in the lower half in terms of our overall health.

Consider, 30 percent of us are considered “obese,” and another 33 percent — including yours truly — are considered “overweight,” according to the WellFlorida Council, which did an exhaustive examination of Marion County’s health in 2015. That means almost two-thirds of us need to shed a few pounds or a lot of weight.

The WellFlorida study also found that, in addition to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer are our major health problems here, and study after study says exercise will help hold each of those health conditions at bay.

I leave you with two final statistics. One, 20 percent of us living in Ocala/Marion County are in “fair or poor” health. That means we’re flat out unhealthy. And two, and this matters, because so many of us are so unhealthy, our life expectancy in our fair burg is two years less that the rest of the state or nation. Now there’s some motivation to get up and go to the gym.

Now, wish me luck keeping my resolution. And Kendrick, see you bright and early Monday.

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