Over the years, I've conducted extensive research on health topics such as obesity, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. I have also studied theories of behavior change. What jumps out at me the most is how many of these conditions are preventable. Yes, there are non-modifiable factors however, it is our behaviors that are causing damage to our health and wellness. Essentially, we are all aware of our unhealthy behaviors and the consequences associated with them. I feel like I'm a misfit in society because I actually enjoy physical activity, going to the gym and pushing my body to its limits. I was also criticised heavily because it took me nearly two weeks to finishing watching the third season of Stranger Things. Let that sink in. We live in a society where it is the norm to watch an entire season of a television series over a weekend, let alone one day and this is completely acceptable, even encouraged. I feel like I have to justify why I don't binge watch television, why I wake up early to exercise and why I restrict processed foods (among many other ingredients) from my diet.
My reason is simple, I do it for my health. Health is a priority to me and I want to face the daily challenges of life with the least amount of pain, discomfort and illness as possible. I'm not a machine, I get sick on occasion and I have a history of injuries. I watch television and movies and I'm known to indulge in a meal or snack of the unhealthy variety on occasion. I try to keep my immune system optimal and reduce my risk of injury through strength and flexibility training. Let's examine exercise. Most of us know that it is beneficial to our health, not just physically but emotionally as well. Increased levels of physical activity have the potential to lower the risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease (among many more) according to multiple sources. We know that being inactive increases the risk of the mentioned conditions, yet many of us choose to do nothing about it. There is a disconnect between what we know and what we do. Do we not prioritize our health and quality of life? Do we get distracted with the ease of technology and everything available at the touch of a button? Do we know how many deaths can be prevented each year by modifying our behaviors?
So much of what we experience is preventable if we take the necessary precautions. We don't have to wait until we get diagnosed to make a change. We can make changes so that we don't get diagnosed. We do have the time if we make it a priority. We can find a plethora of excuses why we don't exercises of we can focus on reasons why we should. I can honestly say that I am 100% responsible for all of the injuries I've sustained in my lifetime. Whether it was negligence, ignorance or ego, I was at fault and I take full ownership of that. Now let's take ownership of our health and strive for progression.
by Phillip J Schiefer