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Addicted to fitness

In the 1970s, Canadians went from couch potatoes to super jocks. Well, not quite. But at least during that decade they did start to get up and get fit. It was thanks to nagging TV ads, the example of an active prime minister and embarrassment compared to some very robust Swedes. But the nagging hasn't been entirely successful. Thirty years later the average Canadian is still overweight and spends more time on the sofa than at the gym.

Canadian housewives join a Montreal fitness club because they figure exercise gives them a reason to get out of the house. "I was confined to a house for four months and very nearly a basket case," explains one gym member in this CBC Radio interview at the club. They also go to the gym because the workout has become addictive. Another woman who has never been interested in sports, a year later says she "just can't give it up."

And then there's diet. Fitness trainer Joanne Taylor forbids sugar, white flour or saturated fats. Now the women feel better, sleep better and even their clothes fit better.
• Excessive exercise produces endorphins similar to opiate drugs. Endorphins are natural pain-relieving proteins that occur in the brain. They create a euphoric feeling.

• People who regularly exercise get sick less often.

• Too much working out can suppress the immune system. Triathletes and marathoners often fall ill soon after a race.

• Sleep, vitamin intake and drinking plenty of water are also associated with a healthy immune system.

• Although it's been proven that exercise combats depression, one study found too much of it does the exact opposite. A 2002 survey studied 4,700 undergraduate females. The women who exercised rigorously six or more times a week were almost twice as likely to attempt suicide.
Medium: Radio
Program: Rebound
Broadcast Date: Jan. 31, 1976
Interviewer: Tom Tebbutt
Duration: 3:58

Last updated: May 6, 2013

Page consulted on December 5, 2013

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