Thursday, December 27, 2007

Be Contagious

This time of year, with the furnaces fired up and people stuck indoors, we choose (sometimes against our better judgment) to travel across the country and close ourselves up with other travelers. Apparently the purpose of this exercise is to share germs. Even if everyone in your family is completely healthy, there is always that one outlier who acts as a host for some bacterial or viral plague. If you want to know who, just listen for the child with the loose cough and the stuffy nose. Odds are, the old and the infirm and the unlucky will sound like that within the week.

Wash your hands until they bleed and be afraid, be very afraid.

Even though we traveled through two homes in two states with probably two dozen different people in attendance, I think we have made it through the holidays without bringing any unwanted cooties to our home. I, on the other hand, have been the host for a different kind of contagious disorder, and I encourage you to be contagious as well.

This summer, you may have noticed news articles about a Harvard study appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study purports to establish that obesity is socially contagious. The study -- the first to examine this phenomenon -- finds that if one person becomes obese, those closely connected to them have a greater chance of becoming obese themselves. If a person you consider a friend becomes obese, your own chances of becoming obese go up 57 percent. Among mutual friends, the effect is even stronger, with chances increasing 171 percent.

But that's only the bad news. The good news is that conquering obesity is also contagious. If you take on healthy habits and maintain a healthy weight, or if you help someone else do it, the effect extends beyond (perhaps far beyond) that one person.

Hopefully, I am becoming contagious in a good way. I mentioned that Mrs. Greyhound, having made friends of my triathlon friends, has caught the disease. My brother has gained a gym membership and lost some lbs. My secretary just joined the greatest health club on the planet for which I am a part time model. And this Christmas, I went to the gym with my dad--to his gym--for the first time ever.

Mom just rolled her eyes at us and generally bitched. She seems immune to the virus.

Who infected you? Who have you infected? Who are you going to infect this year?

14 comments:

Fe-lady said...

Hopefully some people I work with....they are for the most part sedentary and eat "wrong" according to me...but I don't preach. In fact I say nothing, and just provide the visual example (me) of how much vitality and energy can accompany an active lifestyle...even when you are over 50!
My birth family...well, the just roll their eyes and generally ignore me...

TriBoomer said...

I've infected my administrative assistant and another coworker. Both have given up smoking and have hit the treadmills. 50 lbs. have been lost between them and now there's talk about a sprint tri in 2008. Woot!

Stay tuned...

TrainingtoTri said...

What a nice post! I infected 2 people who have signed up to run their first marathons with me!

Monica

21stCenturyMom said...

I infected my kids. There is no life without at least thinking about 'getting in shape' and most the time we are all doing, not just thinking.

CoachLiz said...

I have infected so many people this past year it is crazy. Now I just have to give them all an e-mail reminder about the Lone Star Tri Festival! Whoo Hoo!!!

I coaxed my step-brother out of the house for a 6 mile and an 8 mile run in the rain and cold of Port Orchard, Washington this past week. We ended the second run with snow. I'm glad I live in Houston the rest of the time.

Ladyrunner said...

I try to infect my members (I'm a Weight Watcher's leader). There are a few members I've seen at races. I'm also infecting my sister.

I caught the running disease from my husband.

monica said...

that's why i don't hang out with fat people. just kidding....

my mom, who is diabetic and i venture to say on the obese side, has started back to run/walking. she did a marathon when i was 10 which must have rubbed off on me. i coached her to do another marathon in '02. now given her diabetes and her weight, she's dropping to shorter distance goals, but she's signed up for 2 half marys this year already!!! watching her struggle with diabetes is like watching my future before my eyes if i don't stick to living healthy and staying active with running and triathlon.

be contagious y'all, BE VERY CONTAGIOUS!!!

supalinds said...

I think I'm kind of slow, but I gotta know...what does HTFU mean?

supalinds said...

My husband just said, 'we're leaving for breakfast, hurry the eff up', and it all clicked.

I love that motto.

Iron Girl Nyhus said...

Great point. Thinking about who I am infected "with the athletic bug"... my sister is running marathons, my friend is doing her first Ironman, still working on mom though :)

Laura

Kim said...

im a fatass and am trying to get my coworkers to put down the extra three pounds of chinese food they eat daily...but alas, i cannot help them.

but seriously folks, both my parents are on a dieting kick (well, back to the diet after the hoidays) and my coworkers have finally put away all the chocolates.

here's to a healthy and happy 2008!

tri-mama said...

The irony of all ironies- front desk folks at the Y, culture of obesity, gym rats and trainers, culture of health. All in the same building, we work hard to recruit them to the dark side :-)

Speed Racer said...

Does this have to do with the dirty looks people give me at the office when I don't eat a cupcake on Birthday Day? I'd heard about this study, but never read any credible summary of it. Now that I have, my new year's resolution is going to be to make more skinny friends and tell the fatties that their friendship is no longer appreciated.

Thanks so much for sharing!

Shelley said...

Have a happy new years TriGreyhound!