Updated: Jan 1, 2020
Improving our health and fitness in 2020 and keeping it that way begins by taking a realistic look at ourselves and not fooling ourselves.
Self-Licensing occurs when people allow themselves to indulge after doing something positive first; for example, drinking a diet soda with a greasy hamburger and fries can lead one to subconsciously discount the negative attributes of the meal's high caloric and cholesterol content or taking a diet supplement does not mean you can indulge yourself and expect to get away with doing something unhealthy.
Supplements are substances that people consume to compensate for their diet shortcomings. A study concluded that participants who took supplements for weight loss choose foods in higher quantities and also chose the less-healthy items compared to their control group. Michael Greger MD in his latest book “How Not to Diet” explains that people who rely on supplements for health protection may pay a hidden price which he calls “The Curse of Licensed Self-Indulgence”.
When your desire is to make positive and lasting changes to your health, fitness and well-being in 2020 we have to be realistic and take an honest look at ourselves and take to heart knowing what exactly makes and keeps us sick and stops us from thriving.
The leading cause of death in America is the Standard American Diet (SAD) that causes a rise in blood pressure, increases cholesterol level, elevates blood sugar leading to heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, arteriosclerosis, stroke, dementia, peripheral artery disease and various types of cancer. Physical inactivity and sedentary lifestyles accelerates this process.
Let food and exercise be your medicine this coming year and reduce or stop dependency on medication and supplements that are not only expensive but often have undesirable side effects as well.
Plant-Based Diets: A Physician’s Guide
The message on diet from the National Institute of Health(NIH) states that plant-based diets have been associated with lowering overall and ischemic heart disease mortality; supporting sustainable weight management reducing medication needs; lowering the risk for most chronic diseases; decreasing the incidence and severity of high-risk conditions, including obesity, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and hyperglycemia; and even possibly reversing advanced coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes. Phytochemicals and fibers are the two categories of nutrients that are possibly the most health promoting and disease fighting. Plants are the only source of these nutrients; they are completely absent in animals.
World Health Organization (WHO) on Diet
Households should select predominantly plant-based diets rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits, pulses or legumes, and minimally processed starchy staple foods. The evidence that such diets will prevent or delay a significant proportion of non-communicable chronic diseases is consistent. A predominantly plant-based diet has a low energy density, and may protect against obesity. It is not enough to advise people to change their diets. It's not enough to simply suggest people eat more fruits and vegetables. Populations benefit most when they receive education, demonstration, guidance and personal/community support.
Exercise Guidelines for Achieving Health and Fitness
The minimal exercise recommendations to attain the most health benefits from physical activity, adults need at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking or fast dancing, each week. Adults also need muscle-strengthening activity, like lifting weights or doing push-ups, at least 2 days each week.
To achieve a higher level of fitness or sport performance, people need to invest more time and effort in a having desired results. Remember that when you have specific goals and/or have medical issues your exercise program needs to be specially targeting your wellness goals.
Physical Activity, Injurious Falls, and Physical Function in Aging
The American Collage of Sport Medicine position statement informs us that regular physical activity effectively helps older adults improve or delay the loss of physical function and mobility while reducing the risk of fall-related injuries. These important public health benefits underscore the importance of physical activity among older adults, especially those living with declining physical function and chronic health conditions.
ACSM on Physical Activity and Brain Function
Physical activity, defined as bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure, has emerged as one of the most promising methods for positively influencing cognitive function across the life span and reducing the risk of age-related cognitive decline.
Let Exercise and Nutritious Food be Your Medicine in 2020
Break or reduce the dependency on medications to manage disease and prevent chronic conditions from developing with daily physical activity, appropriate hydration and healthful nourishing food and be actively involved in your health care and avoid disease management. The health and fitness professionals with Fitness & Function can help you find your path to well-being.