fittest_graphic_usatoday-650x604At Climb Up we believe that physical activity is important in order to improve health (mentally and physically), prevent disease and disability and enhance quality of life. So we were a little disheartened to see the 2015 American Fitness Index (AFI) report by the ACSM which ranked OKC-metro 48th out of the 50 for fitness. The American Fitness Index assesses cities based on a number of factors including health behaviors, physical activity, proximity to parks, chronic health problems, recreational facilities, walkability, and more. The overall picture is that the OKC-metro (which includes the surrounding towns of Moore, Norman, Edmond, Midwest City, etc.) falls short in all categories. Because Oklahoma values its persona through business, growth, tourism, and quality of life - this should be a call to action. Oklahoma has done little, by comparison, to emphasize the importance of getting fit and staying fit. Instead we've adopted a policy of dealing with the symptoms of our unhealthy society rather than address the core elements that lead us to being unfit. Priorities need to change to increase community-wide fitness, walkability, access and improvements to parks and recreation areas and rewarding those companies, organizations and schools who invest in fitness.

It was Ben Franklin that said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," and that adage applies to improving fitness in Oklahoma. It is more cost effective and more ethical to put energy into improving the foundational components of fitness; facilities, physical education, green spaces, parks and health promotion programs.  Working towards greater opportunities for physical activity, interweaving urban spaces with walking paths (not boulevards), making walkers and riders safer, and providing greater acceptance and coverage of preventive health measures makes the people of Oklahoma more healthy, more happy, and the state that much more attractive.

As Oklahomans we must make take personal responsibility and make it a priority to be active. At the business level we must make it a priority beyond the "bottom line" to invest in people through corporate wellness initiatives, active time during the work day, physical fitness team-building, and preventive health programs.

Though there are not many ways to spin this report in a positive light I think it is important to point out that the opportunity for improvements is vast. When you're at the bottom there is no where to go but up!

We'd be remiss if we did not point out the incredible workout you get from rock climbing. It is both mentally and physically stimulating. The challenge is unique all its own. And because everyone approaches a climb in their own unique way, the resulting exercise is all YOU. Climbing involves problem solving, visualization, core strength, and breath. In essence, it is truly a full body workout. Climbing has the added benefit of being a social atmosphere that allows for interaction with others to achieve a common goal. Finally, the pursuit of climbing can become a lifetime activity that leads you to the most amazing adventures in places as close as southwestern Oklahoma or as far away as the Himalaya.

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Following are the results http://americanfitnessindex.org/city/oklahoma-city-ok/