| Jan 07, 2015
By: Stephen Cherniak
Stephen is a Health Management Consultant with the Marsh & McLennan Agency. He is an ACSM member and serves on the Board of Directors of the International Association for Worksite Health Promotion (IAWHP).
Good health doesn't happen by chance. It's the result of the choices we make on a daily basis. Good choices = good health. In fact, the right choices are so simple, people tend to not believe their effectiveness in not only improving health, but also: reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer; lowering blood pressure; reducing weight, providing more energy and an improved outlook on life, lifting depression and managing stress; keeping focus and an improved capacity to learn and be more effective; and living longer.
A study* involving researchers at the Johns Hopkins' Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease revealed that individuals who adopted four basic habits were 80% less likely to die from all causes over the study's 8-year span than those who had none of the four habits. The researchers added, "there are risk factors that people can't control, such as their family history and age, but these four habits are things that can change and consequently make a BIG difference in their health."
So what are these choices that result in the best medicine for our bodies and lifestyle? They center on four lifestyle habits:
- Stop using tobacco - if you can only change one thing in your daily lifestyle this is it.
- Increase your daily physical activity
- Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and LEAN meat
- Maintain a normal weight
So, think “No Excuses” - the idea that while each of us can come up with a variety of excuses why we can't exercise, lose weight, and eat healthier - there really is not one good one. Hundreds of times a day we're faced with moments that require choices regarding these four lifestyle habits. You can begin the change by making some of these choices the positive/good ones; and over time the right choices become good habits and lead to a healthier, longer and better quality of life.
(*Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology, June, 2013.)