There are Thin People in Missouri, Too

Friends, family members and coworkers warned me when I left New York City not to get fat moving home to the Midwest. I’d like to set the record straight about the Midwest being inactive and overweight.

Day-to-day tasks in New York undoubtedly helped keep me fit and trim, but my lifestyle in Missouri has helped me shed an additional twenty pounds, run my first half-marathon, and hike more than 60 miles so far of the Ozark Trail.

When I lived in New York, I took yoga classes, jogged occasionally, and worked out at the YMCA. I walked at least a half-mile each day as part of my daily commute, so I was active. The day-to-day tasks were also harder in New York, though, which left me less time and less energy when I worked out.

Now that I’m back in Missouri, I go on hard runs several days each week. I spend my weekends mountain biking, hiking and camping. Running in 5-mile and 10K road races has become a hobby, and it’s not uncommon for me to take a 10-15 mile road ride on my mountain bike before hitting the gym on Saturdays or Sundays.

The greatest part about being active in the Midwest? I’m not alone. The Go! St. Louis Halloween 10K drew 4,500 runners, making it the “largest 10K in St. Louis History” (http://www.gostlouis.org/). The Go! St. Louis Half Marathon sold out last year before I could register, and the running scene in St. Louis is substantial enough that I’ve run into (I thought you’d appreciate that pun) someone I know at every single race I’ve run in 2010.

The Midwest isn’t just for runners though. I’ve found groups who rock climb, mountain bike, kayak, canoe, and hike. The YMCAs I use here are at full capacity during peak hours of the day, and several of them are undergoing expansion projects to accommodate the increase in demand in their communities.

The Midwest has traditionally had a reputation as being overweight, but I believe that I’m part of a growing undercurrent of the population who are determined to live better, to live healthier, and to live longer. If you’re in the Midwest, what are you waiting for? It’s never too late to take that first step towards a healthier life.

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5 Comments

  1. I don’t know any details, but I heard something about a 5k Turkey Trot in the Mineral Area. Thought of you as the title sounds like there might be some interesting twist to the race!

  2. Christine Mantych

    I used to live in Colorado, a notoriously active state, however, unless you ski, which I don’t, the winters are tough to stay active. I managed but have found that since I moved back to the Midwest, the seasonality allows me to be more active for much longer outside. Which I love.

    I love the idea of being part of the undercurrent. Great piece.

  3. That Turkey Trot is a 5k/10k walk/fun run sponsored by Alarm Security LLC which is a local business. The event is November 27th at 10am.

  4. You go girl!
    You “Show Them” just how some Missourians are not laying around and getting fat!
    I have a 5k Turkey Trot coming up on the 21st with my WW group.
    Gobble, Gobble….

  5. There’s a Turkey Trot in Springfield that Neil and I are doing (my first formal official gig). There must be tons of them going on that day. As for the topic of your post. NYC does definitely allow for more passive exercise. I walked TONS the week I was there, and no doubt felt a change when I left. Missouri can easily make you lazy, if you don’t try. If you do however, there are tons of things to do, you just have to do them while avoiding the summer heat.

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