Are you part of the growing sweater’s revolution in South Africa? If you don’t know what this means then you are not sweating nearly as much as everyone else these days. Have you noticed there are more South Africans jogging and running in the mornings and late afternoons everywhere you go? We currently have an increasing community of sweaters in every suburb simply because it’s cool to be fit and health conscious nowadays. It is trending to an extent that the life expectancy for both male and female South Africans is now 62 years of age, which is an increase of eight and half years since 2015.

This is good news if you take into consideration the “fat problem” South Africans face. Did you know South African children are the third most obese youth in the world? While research shows that nearly two-thirds of our population is overweight. Surprisingly the gender’s responsible for these stats are women. 70% of women are overweight. Basically around 4 in every 10 women are classified as clinically obese in this country. Healthwise we are talking about women with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30.

We can only celebrate the increasing number of sweaters we see on a daily basis taking their health a lot more serious. We also celebrate every South African with a fitness plan in place like a gym membership or simply being part of a running/walking club. There is also an increasing number of community based sport teams. It is no longer rare to find a group of women playing soccer or netball on a Saturday morning at local sports and recreational facilities. Furthermore, a number of the youth population consider fun runs and/or walks as trendy social events.

We lead sedentary lifestyles filled with stress, lack of sleep and bad nutrition. Thanks to this we are faced with alarming obesity stats. Let’s take a typical work day for example, everyone is travelling to and from work daily and spend close to four hours sitting. From this commuters could lose about 40 days a year (that’s more than a month) stuck in traffic. A corporate individual possibly spends around 80% of their working hours sitting in front of a computer.

Come lunchtime most corporate individuals pop into cars then drive-off to their favourite fast food franchise and to make it back to work on time, they choose to use the drive-through option instead of physically walking into the store. This is about 30 minutes to an hour of more sitting.  The food choice here is a bigger concern.

It goes without saying that fast food is unhealthy and don’t be fooled by those pre-packed microwavable meals that’s so popular for lunchtime either. A home cooked meal or homemade sandwich is always the healthier option, so always remember the saying “the whiter the bread the quicker you’re dead” hopefully this will help you choose brown or rye over white bread although they might be unpopular choices, they’re still the healthiest options available.

Gabriel Eksteen, Registered Dietitian at the HSF believes “ultimately the onus is on the individual to lose weight. Once an individual decides to lose weight, they need to develop a strategy to reach their goal. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to losing weight effectively, but sustainable weight loss involves making changes to your diet and your physical activity that you can sustain long-term.”

The key is to make physical activity more pleasurable that it easily becomes part of your daily routine. One pretty amazing way of achieving this is by the use of activity trackers like Fitbit South Africa. They encourage you to keep moving. Tracking your steps, distance, calories burned and active minutes. Send you reminders to move and automatically recognise when you start exercising. They are incredibly motivating. A personal trainer you can take everywhere. Monitor your progress on the Fitbit App. Plus, it’s a great fashion accessory that makes a health statement.