Hey, couch potatoes, here are some statistics to scare you out of that sedentary lifestyle. According to MSNBC, a quarter of American adults get practically no exercise at all, citing lame excuses like a lack of time and "gym intimidation" as preventing them from being physically active. The New England Journal of Medicine reports that fifteen percent of school-age children are obese. Even scarier, a recently published report by longevity researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago predicts that the obesity epidemic will decrease American life expectancy by at least two to five years -- even more than the impact of cancer or heart disease. Hamburgers, chicken nuggets, and milkshakes are cheaper and often more easily accessible than healthier alternatives. High-fructose corn syrup is the food industry's sweetener of choice. And if all else fails, there's always gastric bypass surgery, where surgeons will save you from your unhealthy habits by slicing and stitching your stomach into a pouch no bigger than an egg. Maybe it's time to stop whining and hesitating, and just get your ass into shape. You've got no excuses this weekend. The seventh annual Miami Beach Sport and Fitness Festivalis here to make exercise fun for everyone by transforming Ocean Drive into the world's biggest outdoor sports club on the beach.
The concept came from Italy, land of lasagna, pizza, and gelato. For the past seventeen years, the town of Rimini has celebrated an annual Festival del Fitness, nine days of healthy activity and competition. Miami's festival is only four days long, but those days are action-packed, ocean-side, and entertaining for both participants and spectators. The aerobic fiesta features CRUNCH gym's fiercest instructors leading the audience in workouts ranging from cardio striptease to ocean yoga. If aerobics aren't your bag, stop by stage one, where international fitness gurus will demonstrate exotic workouts featuring live music. Try Brazilian zumba, Colombian mapale, or Cuban cu'guanco for starters. Brazilian capoeira expert Master Boneco will teach the crowd his hybrid form, which blends the 400-year-old Afro-Brazilian art of self-defense and dance with modern exercise techniques.
Parts of South Beach will look more like southern California's infamous Muscle Beach, when professional weightlifters flex their diesel muscles for the crowd's admiration. Watch the Rimini City Games, in which eight teams from around the world compete in strength, agility, and cardio-fitness endurance challenges. When all that working out makes you tired, stop by the Festival Spa for a massage. Feast your eyes on the bikini, model, muscle, and fitness competitions; then check out the b-boys and girls in Clash 2005, hosted by legendary break dancer Speedy Legs, where hip-hop dancers compete for $1000 cash.