by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
We are in some trying times here in the United States. To say that the health of Americans is on the decline would be an understatement. Fewer and fewer people are taking care of their health, which comes with a cost. But if they were to shift their focus and mindset, would their life really change if they were fit and healthy?
Let’s take a look at some of the things people may experience when they start focusing on their nutrition and activity level. Does their life improve if they can become fit and healthy?
Less Stress Put on the Body
There’s no kidding the fact that when you are overweight and obese, it puts greater stress on the body. Everything from the heart, lungs, organs, blood vessels, joints, etc. Think about how many people complain about their knees, hips, and ankles hurting who are overweight or obese. When you’re fit and healthy, that all can go away for the most part.
Granted, if you have beat-up joints from being overweight and all of a sudden you get down to a normal and healthy body weight, you may still have some carryover of pain in your joints from your time being big. That said, some of the pain you may be feeling could be from inflammation throughout the body.
When you change up your nutrition and focus on getting fit and healthy, you can lower the amount of inflammation in the body since unhealthy foods can trigger inflammation. Poor nutritional habits can create a domino effect of adverse health conditions that generally don’t tend to be there when you’re fit and healthy.
Feel Better About Yourself and More Confident
I’m not here to poke fun at or judge people who are overweight, but you can’t be truly happy when you’re obese. Many people look in the mirror, hate how they look, and then bury their emotions in more food as a coping mechanism. If only they could find their “why,” it could change the way they look at their health and life and take corrective action to make improvements.
When you’re fit and healthy, or at least making progress on losing weight and improving your health and physique, it changes a lot of things. You start feeling more confident about the way you look. You start looking at your life through a different lens. You start seeing what you’re truly capable of and being able to overcome obstacles you thought were impossible to overcome.
Building confidence and feeling better about yourself allows you to hold your head up high and take control of your life and actions. You look in the mirror and see the progress, and it motivates you to keep pushing forward. The hardest part is taking that first step and then following through with it each and every day.
Improve Your Longevity
I don’t need to tell you that being overweight, obese, following a poor diet, and being sedentary is bad for you. In fact, all those things increase your risk of getting sick and falling ill to a whole host of diseases.
That’s not to say that being fit and healthy is wiping the slate clean and that you’re immune to getting sick or some sort of disease. However, your overall risk goes down when you are fit and healthy.
If you were told you could eat whatever you want, not exercise, watch television as much as you want, enjoy donuts and pizza at every meal, and wash it all down with bowl after bowl of ice cream, but the caveat was you’re going to die in 10-20 years, would you do it? Does an early grave to take Easy Street sound like something that makes sense or is even worth it?
What if getting in 150 minutes of exercise per week could help extend your longevity by several years? That would mean you’d be around longer and able to spend time with your family, spouse, kids, and grandkids. Does that sound like a much better idea for only 150 minutes dedicated each week? That’s not a whole heck of a lot when you think about having 168 hours in an entire week, and you’d be dedicating a little over two hours. That’s not a bad ROI, right?
Support Active Lifestyle and Independence
Getting fit and healthy makes the world your playground. Those who are severely overweight or obese would never imagine climbing mountains, hiking the world’s most incredible trails, swimming with dolphins, or even walking up and down the coast to experience a breathtaking California sunset.
When you’re fit and healthy, you have the energy to do all those things. You’re mobile, you’re full of life. You have the means of living an active lifestyle where you can freely go do what you want and experience all that the world and life have to offer you versus being a prisoner to your home.
Those who are obese tend to find they’ve lost their independence. Typical everyday tasks that most people don’t even think about are major tasks and chores. Getting dressed. Getting up to use the bathroom. Tying your shoes. You may not think those tasks are hard, but to an obese individual, they can become a nightmare.
Focusing on getting fit and healthy is a personal choice. And while I’m not telling you what to do, you’re missing out on a lot of what life has to offer by allowing your weight to sentence you to a life of decline, pain, agony, and regret. Each day is a new and fresh start. By putting one foot in front of the other and taking charge of your life, you can do anything — including getting fit and healthy. There’s no better time to start your journey than today.