A conflict of fitness

In my last blog I took a dig at the Australian Fitness & Health Expo, pointing out some of the things I felt were ailing our industry as more and more protein supplements and nutritional products step up to feed a growing parade of muscle worshippers.

Given the fitness industry is experiencing a massive boom - it is really no wonder that some commercial products would look to shape the agenda and make money from this trend with the possible outcome that fitness and health are no longer considered mutually exclusive terms.

But a boom in fitness does cut both ways for the good of all Australians who are at last getting off the sofa and waking up to the benefits of getting fit and healthy.

Thankfully the fitness industry is also filled with knowledgeable personal trainers, dieticians, physios and sports psychologists - many of which I spent time chatting to at the FILEX convention which ran alongside the expo.

To refute my tongue-in-cheek point that the fitness boom was all about becoming a Jersey Shore wannabe, Lauretta Stace, the chief executive of Fitness Australia, wrote in to draw our attention to many of the good things its members have been involved in. So here's a snapshot of what they are up to:

Fitness Australia members are involved in a 'Lift for Life' initiative that "allows Australians with Type2 diabetes to improve their health through an eight week strength training program" through a partnership with Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, wrote Stace.

She said Fitness Australia has also partnered with Exercise and Sports Science Australia and Sports Medicine Australia to establish a consistent Adult Pre-Exercise Screening System nationally to form the basis for safe and effective exercise prescription.

Another new initiative is 'Fit for Good' that "provides Australians in need with health and fitness opportunities such as providing scholarships, donating equipment and providing fitness classes at homeless or rehabilitation centres," she wrote.

Stace added that the industry had also been lobbying government for a national registration scheme to protect the public against fitness 'rorts'.

Given Australia is one of the most sporting nations in the world, yet also one of the fattest and inactive in the world, these programs address some important concerns.

Cardiovascular and heart disease, along with diabetes - are likely to touch the lives of all of us. They are expensive and painful, yet avoidable and unnecessary.

Thankfully we live in a country where the sun shines year around and most of our population live by a city on the water with plenty of fields to roam and run and oceans to swim in. We have hikes and ocean jogging tracks that people around the world would love to view just once in their lives.

So let's hope that those on the path to fitness use a little common sense in the way they spend their hard-earned cash, and make decisions focused on their long term wellbeing rather than fixating on short-term aesthetic goals at the cost of their own health.