Let’s Get Physical…
by Kevin Chamlee
Physical Health and Wellness
In 2005 the United States spent about $507 billion on the war on terrorism, and the price tag by 2015 will be about $808 billion. Sounds like a lot of money, so let us compare this to the price tag of healthcare in the U.S. The United States spent $2 trillion on healthcare in 2005, and by 2015 it is expected to rise to $4 trillion. By then, for every $5 that consumers spend, $1 will go to paying for healthcare costs.
The deadly triad of heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes, makes up 75% of the cost of healthcare in America. The bottom line is if we as a nation do not change the way we manage our “health,” then healthcare as we know it will become unaffordable for individuals and corporations. By developing a healthy lifestyle and becoming more physically active, we as a nation will be able to bring these astronomical costs down.
Developing a Healthy Lifestyle
The importance of lifestyle on health and longevity is clearly illustrated. People who are physically active and live healthy lifestyles are biologically younger by 10 years than those who don’t. It all starts with getting the right amount of sleep, which is between 6 and 8 hours a night. The next step to a healthy lifestyle is eating breakfast. By consuming calories in the morning, an individual will be able to jump start their metabolism and increase their cognitive functioning. By the way, a cup of “Joe” doesn’t count as breakfast. Please try not to skip breakfast; even if you don’t have the best options, just eat something.
Another way to develop a healthy lifestyle is by keeping your Body Mass Index (BMI) below 30. A BMI above 30 increases the risk of heart disease by 70 % and the chances for cancer by 40%. When wondering how much weight you should lose, a great rule of thumb is to lose 10% of your totalbody weight.
Parking further out when going to the grocery store will allow for more activity during the day. Usually, people end up stressing out trying to get the front parking space. During lunch break many people are waiting in line to receive their lunch. Here is an idea: why don’t you just take ten minutes and walk on the treadmill? By doing this you will allow the line to die down, and doing physical activity prior to eating will suppress your appetite.
Becoming more Physically Active
What is the definition of physical activity? Physical activity is body movement that develops and maintains physical fitness and overall health. The three components of physical activity are aerobic activity, resistance training, and flexibility exercises. Examples of these are walking, weight-lifting, and stretching, respectively.
Everyone should strive for at least 90 minutes a week of aerobic activity, which could include playing with your children. Research has shown that just 90 minutes a week can lower cholesterol, drop blood pressure, and prevent heart attacks. For those individuals who would like to lose 10% of their body weight, 150 minutes a week would be more appropriate. The bottom line is the more calories burned and the fewer calories consumed, the quicker the fat will diminish.
Along with aerobic activity, think about including some type of resistance training into the weekly exercise regiment. A good rule of thumb to follow in regard to weight training is never exercise the same muscle group back to back. For instance, an individual should work the chest muscles one day then the next day exercise the back muscles.
Last but not least, let’s look at flexibility. Stretching should be done prior to and after both of the aforementioned activities. Stretching will help warm-up the muscles and allow for more range-of-motion. Time is a commodity that is in short supply, so if a priority must be placed on cardiovascular (aerobic) activity or resistance training, then aerobic activity would take priority because it will yield more calories burned.
The amount of calories that we intake is the key to fighting the war on obesity. We generally “put away” more calories than we burn off through daily activity and exercise. A survey taken by International Food Information Council Foundation has found that 44% of those surveyed didn’t balance what they ate with the amount of calories they burned during the day. Our Christian lives are all about balance. William Booth said, “Go for souls and go for the worst.” Even if we successfully achieve a clear mind, clean heart, and balanced schedule, we can sabotage our opportunity to be all God intends for us because of ill-health resulting from poor choices. When that happens, we are unable to be used by God and “Go for souls.”