Let’s make Indy fit

Indianapolis is the least fit city in our country


Suri Rojas

Senior Zakia Self lifts weights during a weight class this week. A report last week listed Indianapolis as the least fit city among the top 50 cities in the country. Many PE teachers believe more emphasis needs to be placed on fitness classes at the high school level.

According to the American Fitness Index from the American College of Sports Medicine and the Anthem Foundation, Indianapolis is the least fit major metro area in the United States.

Indianapolis was 46th last year and now it is No. 50 among the 50 largest cities. The cities are ranked based on outdoor exercise options, rates of smoking, obesity and diabetes.

“I believe our city and our city leaders need to address and emphasize healthy living,” gym teacher Marci Royalty said.

When you look at Indianapolis, compared to other cities in the study, we do not match up to them at all. Cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles or Miami have beautiful weather year round and a huge beach and ocean. We do not have a wide open space like the Mall in Washington DC that is flooded with people exercising daily.  So it is no surprise we cannot surpass them in fitness.

But if you look at Minneapolis who is very similar to Indianapolis, they rank number two in the study because the city leaders always promote and encourage their citizens to exercise and be active.

“We could have more free activities take place in or around Indy Parks, more bike routes, more health screens and we should create more farmers markets. Personally I would like to see schools start to grow their own vegetables and fruits,” Royalty said.

Basketball coach Mark James sees the negativity that our culture has towards being active. He remembers how PE used to play a much bigger part of education. They had physical standards that were set up and they work hard towards meeting them, but now those standards have gone out the door.

“Our culture has and does use activity for discipline and punishment and so now activity is associated with negatives,” James said.

There is no balance between the body and mind at school. James feels like our culture has made computer skills more important than learning how to control your weight. He sees the need for a new state curriculum that has some physical standards for all grade levels. If kids are expected to take the same educational test for knowledge then physical education shouldn’t be different.

“We cannot control what others do but I do think we need to give them as many chances as we can for physical activity and try to make it fun,” James said.

Trying to get someone to be active whether they are young or old can be very difficult, but with encouragement and motivation anything is possible.  If you start living a healthy life you have to stick to it because results do not happen overnight. Let’s make Indy fit.