We all know when we're doing something unhealthy, and occasionally, that's not a problem. Had a piece of cake at your best friend's wedding? Not a problem. Have a doughnut (or two) every morning instead of a proper breakfast? A problem. We don't need to be lectured.
What prompted this blog post was an article I read today by Dr. Mercola, citing a study done in Europe showing that living a healthy lifestyle is the KEY to preventing the diseases that are often (mistakenly) associated with aging. Diabetes, Heart Disease and cancers are not a part of the natural aging process, they are the consequences of not leading a healthy life. In the study, 23,000 Germans and their lifestyles were examined. In those leading a healthy lifestyle, (not smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight) there was a 36% decreased risk of ALL cancers, a 93% decreased risk of Diabetes, and an 81% decreased risk of Heart Disease. How incredible are those results?
We are not destined to disease just because we're getting older!
But what this means is that it's time for some major reform! We are on the verge of having a national health care system, one in which all Americans will get the life-saving medications and procedures that they need to live, without worrying about the financial consequences. However, this system can't work if we are sabotaging it from the get-go. No health care system can out-repair the damage that we are doing to ourselves. We must not rely on medication to cover up the fact that we have treated our bodies poorly.
I find the European study very motivating. We CAN live disease-free. We CAN be that person in their 60s, 70s or better who takes no medications and who still goes hiking on the weekends. We CAN live lives that, while they may not be longer in years, are spent being able to do all of the things that we want to, without being debilitated by disease.
It's time we take responsibility for our own health.