(subsubtitle: I know. Im a mo-ron. I didnt post my twitter namething. it’s carlabirnberg. if I cant get *that* right can I twitter properly? only time will tell)
Hi Miz. Ive been reading for a while and had a question for you that I dont think youve answered. I think Im average when it comes to my cardio fitness. Or that’s what Id say I am. And then I think that if Im even working out that maybe Im better than average (yay!!). how on earth would I tell this? Thanks!!
My first reaction to this email was *precisely* the emailer’s own reaction:
In todays world, where it has been projected that 73% of Americans will be obese by the end of 2008 (!) what is average anyway?
I was at the grocery store last week and overheard a conversation between two people which, essentially, went like this:
one person asked the other to describe a woman she’d never met.
The first woman described the friend as ‘average.’ & then paused, thought for a moment and clarified by saying: SHE’S AMERICAN AVERAGE.
A phrase which I, and obviously the other woman as I saw her nod in understanding, took to mean a little overweight.
Sad—but that’s a post for a different day.
The short version of the answer, emailer? Take a cardiovascular test such as this one. It’s fairly simple to do at home and the norms are listed on that page as well.
More intriguing to me is what my doctor boyfriend (known to others as Dr. Mehmet Oz) has to say on the subject.
Dr.Oz’s suggestion for an easy way to determine whether you are in ‘fine’ or average shape? Run up two flights of stairs or walk six blocks.
(go ahead. we’ll wait.)
Did you experience extreme shortness of breath? were you compelled to stop? You’re below average. Your heart and lungs need some work.
Simple. Easy. Blunt. That’s why we love the Mehmet.
He also clarifies that, while this test is important, it’s almost MORE important to note a sudden change in this or spontaneous drop in your fitness level. That could indicate a health issue.
So there’s the answer: an at home test with norms (there are many others as well) & the Mehmet more pass/fail type exam.
Now my question:
have we kind of given up?
have we gone so far into the notion of perfect not being important and that it’s ok to be less than our best & we need to love ourselves regardless that we’ve swung too far into deconditioned is the new black territory?
Im not sure.
I guess if by ‘average’ we truly mean plain ole sufficient or lacking in distinction then perhaps we havent. As the ability to walk six blocks without experiencing extreme shortness of breath is precisely that. Sufficient.
Or do you think we have given up?
Are you of the opinion that we’ve lowered the bar of acceptable so far that it’s pretty much resting on the couch next to us as we snack and watch people with odd hair attempt to sell expensive homes?
Im not sure that, if we’re not there already, we arent edging perilously close.
Bumbling Band? Thoughts? Insights? I *know* you have an opinion.
And speaking of opinions…
This next snippet is less an email & more of a THANK YOU to all of you.
The message was longer but this sentence (in reference to a Viewer Mail where her question was addressed) gave me chills and I wanted to pass it along.
I feel empowered. Armoured by the bumbling band.
People email me often saying, essentially, I have stuff to say but I dont comment because Im embarrassed I might sound stupid.
I adore that the emailer felt armored by your advice & encouragement.
If you’re ever tempted not to leave a comment—please to reflect upon that. You never know whose life you might change with your quickfasttyped sentence or 3.
Now get to it…