by Matt Weik
Life is full of choices. Some are helpful and some are hurtful. The condition of your health is no different. How do you look at your health? Yes, you reading this. Do you look at it like you do time? Where you want to maximize the most from it because we are only given a limited amount of it each day? Or do you look at it like food? Something that you enjoy the heck out of until it’s gone and you find yourself full of regret for eating so much of something you know you shouldn’t have (like eating nearly an entire pizza yourself)?
The condition of your health is made up of choices. Those who choose to make it a priority tend to live a longer and healthier life without sickness or disease. While there are absolutely cases where healthy individuals get sick or even cancer and die prematurely, the risk factors are much lower.
Then you have the people who make the choice to drink, smoke, and eat unhealthy foods on a regular basis. They may not choose to get sick as often or want to have a higher risk of illness and disease, but that’s the unfortunate truth and side effects of living such a lifestyle.
Here is a shockingly scary statistic found by the Mayo Clinic during one of their studies. Less than three percent of Americans live a healthy lifestyle. Go back and reread that last sentence. With that being said, you would think that the percentage of overweight Americans would be higher than 60%, no? Some people are playing with fire and that fire can cost them their life.
The “It’ll Never Happen to Me” Mentality
I not only write articles for a living, on average publishing one article a minimum of five days a week, but I also work with clients across the globe to help them live a healthier lifestyle and make better CHOICES. Many of them follow my guidelines and suggestions while many of them do what they want.
When I work with clients, I like to ask them what their goals are and how their current lifestyle aligns with their goals. Many of these individuals are on the brink of Type 2 diabetes, are watching their health slowly fail them due to years of poor habits and choices, yet they still have this mentality that they’ll continue down the path they are because they believe the risks will never affect them – it’s like they think they’re invincible yet in the next breath are asking me for help.
It makes me raise an eyebrow as to what they are expecting me to do as if I can magically fix their woes while they’re still making poor choices. Playing Russian Roulette with your health is no way to go through life.
The “it’ll never happen to me” mentality seems to come back to haunt people. Or, someone in their family gets sick and it wakes them up that maybe they aren’t as invincible as they’d like to imagine.
We Are All Going to Die – But How Soon Will You?
Have you ever thought about how long you’ll live? I have. In fact, I worry that the amount of stress I put on myself is going to send me to an early grave. I hope I’m wrong, but I understand the negative effects stress can have on the body – and my high stress is self-inflicted. I know I need to manage my stress better. Maybe you’re reading this and you feel like you’re in the same boat?
The average life expectancy is estimated to be around 79 years. Depending on your current age, you may look at that number and laugh as you’re only in your 20s or even 30s. But trust me, that age will come sooner than you think. Life passes by quickly, and if you aren’t maximizing your health, you may not even see 79.
How much does living an unhealthy lifestyle change your life expectancy? How will the condition of your health affect your overall quality of life? Well, if you live an unhealthy lifestyle where you’re nutrition is made up of poor choices and you don’t get the recommended amount of exercise per week (150 minutes of exercise each week), it could cut your life short by around 23 years. That 79 can get cut to 56. Now, I bet you’re looking at your life in your 20s or 30s and thinking your life could be halfway over. Not so fun to think about that, now is it?
So, what are you going to do to change your life? Here are some of the things you can start doing TODAY to help improve the condition of your health and make better choices that can improve your longevity and your ability to maintain your independence as you age.
Start Moving More
It is recommended that you get in 150 minutes of exercise per week. When you break that down, that would only be 30 minutes per day for a total of five days. And the 30 minutes doesn’t even need to be consecutive, it can be done as low as in 10-minute increments if you wish.
The key is to make it a priority to get up and move more throughout the day to help get your time in. Your lunch hour would be a great way to bust out the full 30 minutes if you wish.
Make Subtle Changes to Your Nutrition
The key to changing your poor nutritional habits is to slowly change them over time. Thinking you’re going to all of a sudden completely change your nutrition overnight may sound admirable, but it’s not realistic. It’s like all those fad diets out there which expect you to completely remove an entire macronutrient (like carbohydrates or fat) from your nutrition – it’s not going to work out in your favor.
Try to slowly eliminate things. Maybe you remove sugary soda from your diet first? Then after a couple of weeks, you remove sugary foods like candy, ice cream, and pastries from your nutrition? Little adjustments here and there will help with your success and adherence. Slow and steady wins the race. Jumping in with both feet right away will set you up for failure.
Get More Sleep
Americans don’t get enough sleep. I can’t say it any other way. We like to stay up late watching tv, we burn the midnight oil working on projects, and when we finally get to bed and fall asleep, it’s only for a few hours until our alarm clock tells us to get up and do it all over again.
You should strive to get a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night. That may mean you need to go to bed earlier, skip the caffeine before bed which keeps you awake, and turn off all of the electronics in your bedroom that can make a noise, ding, buzz, beep, or vibrate (that means your phone, tv, and all electronic devices). You want to make your bedroom a cool and dark environment to help ease your body and put you to sleep.