The last 20 years have seen a dramatic increase in the number of individuals participating in fitness programs across the globe. We have also seen a dramatic increase in the number of individuals who suffer from obesity and being overweight (though this trend is most prominent in the United States).
So how is it that society can be more and less fit at the same time?
There are many contributing factors to the rise of obesity, though the one that gains the most interest is the lack of good nutrition. We are a society of fast-paced, quick fix, immediate satisfaction people, and with that comes quick-fix, immediate satisfaction, fast-paced “meals”.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
It’s not uncommon for an individual to eat at a fast food restaurant on a weekly, if not daily basis.
Another large contributing factor to the obesity epidemic is sedentary lifestyles. People are working at desk jobs more and more and moving less and less. As I said earlier, though the fitness fad seems to be on the rise, physical activity isn’t.
So why do fitness professionals care so much about obesity and physical inactivity? These two issues can lead to a multitude of diseases including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, among others. The fitness “fad” is a branch off of the larger issue- good health.
So many people consider healthy eating and exercise a waste of time, money, and effort, but the truth is that these two simple things can help prevent a large portion of most chronic diseases.
Heart Disease and Cancer makes up 48 percent of all deaths in the United States each year (according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention).
Just think, nearly half of the all the deaths in our country are caused by two chronic conditions that can be prevented or controlled with proper diet and exercise!
What happens when we reduce chronic disease and death in our country? A reduction in health care costs including those of prescription medications, lengthy hospital stays, and emergency room visits are among the most prevalent.
Less money spent on health care will equate to more money to spend on other things: family, travel, or hobbies. Not to mention the increased wellbeing one feels when they are at their healthiest.
This is why good health is so important in today’s society- so we can live better lives. We can live much more fulfilling lives when we aren’t limited by our health or fitness. Who doesn’t want to live a better life?!
The keys to living a healthier life include:
1. Moving as much as you can and in ways that you can. Not everyone has the same physical capacity, but starting with any amount of movement is good. Walking, biking, swimming, gardening, anything to get your muscles moving and your heart pumping will be a good start.
2. Eating as healthy as you can. I’m not encouraging all people to become vegan or eat only organic. As a fitness professional I know that isn’t always realistic. However I would recommend that you eat as much lean protein and fruits and veggies as possible, while staying away from processed foods and added sugars as much as you can.
3. Reducing stressors. Added stress in your life can contribute to the desire to partake in unhealthy habits, or contribute to the effects of a chronic disease you may already have.
These things will help any individual begin on the path to a healthier and happier life.