What jumps out at you from the following infographic from the Harvard Business Review discussing the sentiment about future costs and quality of healthcare in the United States?
What is obvious is that we are not optimistic, and we are all at risk. The question remains, what can I do about it? The answer maybe a little more straightforward than many of us are prepared to accept.
1. Diet: We decide each day what we put into our bodies. We decide the quality and volume of the foods we consume. The vast majority of American’s diets are overrun with sugars and an abundance of carbohydrates that lead to morbidity and mortality. (IE: the length and quality of your life diminish rapidly). This is a quote from Ali Mokdad, a scientist working on a team studying the state of U.S. health:
Scientists were expecting tobacco and high blood pressure to continue to be the usual suspects, Mokdad said. Instead, tobacco ranked second, followed by obesity, high blood pressure, high fasting plasma glucose level and physical inactivity or low activity.
“What we eat, what we put in our mouth is the major cause of morbidity and mortality,” Mokdad said. “It makes sense. For us to be able to document it and to go back in (the) past and show how this has been changing over the past two decades is very powerful.”
2. Activity: Our ancestors would be embarrassed by our lack of functional activity day-to-day, and by ancestors I’m speaking of the pre-modern civilization variety. Our activity level does not include even the bare minimum of variety, intensity and functional movement our bodies were designed for and NEED to maintain fitness and overall health. We have lowered the bar to vigorous walking, jogging or even taking the stairs at work as a substitute for the type of rigor we were created for. Now add this quote from Dr. Mike Ray, a practicing physician in Arizona, has been the medical director of the CrossFit Games since 2008:
“That’s the biggest thing: I think maybe some
of this is because one of the biggest issues we need to
address in medicine is there’s so much of a focus on
treating sickness as opposed to actively promoting health.”
We were made for rigor and work, and sitting at a desk and driving is not rigor. We simply were not built to be still and latent day-to-day. We were built to move, a lot!
3. Lifestyle: This is the catch all that we have control over, but neglect as products of our environment. In America we celebrate a culture of consumerism and abundance, and we (the collective we) despise rising healthcare costs and the lack of innovation in drugs and surgical interventions to heal our wrecked bodies. In most cases, we should look in the mirror to find the culprit for our high blood pressure, obesity, physical inactivity and respiratory problems to name only a few. We can take control of our own healthcare costs, by simply taking control of our maintenance at home and in our typical day.
Sounds simple, but I’m really busy and I have to work tons of hours and I have 4 kids, and, and, and…. OK, I get it, but remember your excuses when your doctor shares the “not so good” news with you about your health and you’re now on diabetes meds for the rest of your life. Here is a simple guide to follow that will work, if you do it!
Diet: From the same study above by Ali Mokdad,
“The most important dietary risks in the United States are
diets low in fruits, low in nuts and seeds, high in sodium,
high in processed meats, low in vegetables, and high in
So, eat meats, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruits, little starch and no sugar. There, simple. Or, just try to shop on the outside perimeter of the grocery store, this is where all of those food items are located.
Activity/Lifestyle: Go today to your nearest CrossFit box (CrossFit gym/facility) and sign up for a free trial, they all have these. Describe your current situation to the CrossFit trainer at the session. Then, sign up for one full year committing to 3+ CrossFit WOD’s (workouts of the day) per week. Most boxes have times as early as 6 AM and as late as 7 PM or later. Most boxes have some form of childcare should you need it. Most boxes can even accommodate those with irregular work schedules. CrossFit is a program prescribes constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement. These are universal motor recruitment patterns, or using multi-joint movements, we are built for. The programming, coaching, and community provide a level of consistency, safety and accountability that will not only impress you, but will change your life.
These behavior changes are not impossible or out of your reach, however the medicine and surgical interventions you may need in the future without the proper diet, activity level and lifestyle may be well outside of your means. Think about how the decisions you make today are going to impact tomorrow, and think about your quality of life now and what you wish it to be. We at The Arsenal are built, staffed, educated and fully equipped to be your guides, coaches and accountability partners on this journey. Wherever you are in terms of sickness, wellness or fitness we can accelerate your results and empower you. Come by today to learn more about all the above and if joining at The Arsenal is right for you.