To Live or To Live Longer?
That is the question. What if someone told you that you have a choice? To live or to die? What would you choose? The answer is most likely a resonating “live”. Now, what if that same someone said that all you have to do is eat healthy and exercise for 30 minutes a day? Would you commit to this life prolonging regimen? Studies have shown that as little as 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity 5 days per week can have significantly positive effects on your health. If you combine that with healthy food choices and a balanced diet you could see life altering changes before your next doctor’s appointment.
A sedentary lifestyle is almost inescapable for many working class Americans. Between running family, working too many hours in an office cubicle, long commutes and not having enough resources to purchase healthy foods, not to mention affording a gym membership, this idea of a fit and healthy lifestyle could seem more like a fantasy than an actual reality. “How do I balance a family, a full time job and exercise?” is a question that I hear more days than not. There are only so many hours in a day so the obvious answers come down to prioritization and time management.
The Short List
The list toppers for weight related killers are all directly related to obesity. We all know that “obesity” is an epidemic in the United States but do we really understand how dangerous it is? Coronary Heart Disease is a habitual list topper at the number 1 killer in America affecting 13 million people. Wed Md states that Coronary Artery Disease also known as Coronary Heart disease is directly related to cholesterol-laden plaque buildup in the artery walls. Simply put, the foods that are consumed that are high in Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) also known as the “bad cholesterol” begins to build up in the artery walls creating a blockage that could result in a heart attack. Another list topper is ischemic stroke. This occurs when a blood vessel to the brain is blocked. Should that blocked blood vessel burst we encounter another list topper called hemorrhagic stroke or aneurysm. Hypertension or high blood pressure that has not been controlled is usually the culprit in these cases. Hypertension is also related to cholesterol-laden blocked arteries. Type 2 Diabetes, also known as adult onset and noninsulin dependent diabetes, is on this list of preventable deadly diseases. When the body does not produce enough insulin or resists the movement of sugars (sucrose) into the cells Type 2 Diabetes becomes an issue. It occurs more and more in our youth that suffers from obesity despite being referred to as “adult onset diabetes”. The number 5 list topper in America is cancer. The term cancer is enough to strike fear into the heart of anyone. The truth is many cancers and be controlled and prevented through healthy diet, exercise and healthy lifestyle choices.
Obesity and Cancer Risk
Obesity is associated with increased risks of the following cancer types, and possibly others as well:
• Colon and rectum
• Breast (after menopause)
• Endometrium (lining of the uterus)
As you can see, a proper diet can play a significant factor in prevention of these death related epidemics. It all starts with education. Many people simply so not understand the importance of eating foods close the earth and many are too distracted with life pulling them in different directions to make exercise a focal point. Instead of treating fitness like a regular part of a daily routine people see a fit lifestyle as a luxury when in fact it is a culmination a small life choices that create a healthy lifestyle.
What Can I Do?
How do you take precautions to give yourself the chance at a long and healthy life? Prioritize your health choices into every aspect of your day. Some tips that I have given my clients include preparing meals in advance using food items from the outer perimeters of the grocery store. Shop colorfully. Avoid center isles and pre-packaged/frozen food items. Another great health choice is eat a healthy, colorful self-prepared lunch at your desk and use your lunch break to get a workout in. Walk around the neighborhood for 30 minutes or go to a nearby gym for 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity. Hydrate whenever you feel hungry. Sometimes when our bodies send a signal of hunger it is actually thirst. When in doubt, hydrate. Pack healthy snacks and filtered water to have throughout the day so you are never caught in a drive through or convenient store predicament.
Invite or even challenge your closest friends to join you in your fitness endeavors. A little light competition is enough to keep you motivated. Put a prize on the line. For example, I challenged my friend to a body toning challenge. Whoever lost the highest percentage of body fat in 4 weeks owes the other person a home cooked meal and bragging rights. I will not say which of us won but I will say that we both won something pretty great. We both toned up more that month than the previous 5 months. A lifestyle shift not only changes your life for the better but it effects those closest to you. Your co-workers, your kids, your spouse, your siblings and friends alike will see you happier and healthier and will naturally follow you.
Take control of your health and prolong your life as much as possible so that you can be a positive role model to the people you care about. Eat clean, exercise for at least 30 minutes a day and ask your doctor for the results at your next checkup. Life is unpredictable and we never know what tomorrow brings but if there is something you can do to prolong your life and improve the quality of your life why not do it? Eat lean. Live green. Be happy.