I try to keep a regular weekly exercise schedule, running 3-4 miles three times and lifting weights two or three days. I exercise because at fifty-five years old I understand the benefits of being healthy more energy, lower blood pressure, stronger heart, and hopefully the ability to live a long and active life.
All the talk and concern about health care costs makes me wonder why we aren’t more pro-active about taking control of our own healthy lifestyle. Watching what we eat, regular exercise, and following our doctors instructions can add to our “quality of life” as we get older.
Taking control of your lifestyle health is more than a handful of vitamins and a walk around the block. It takes work, changes, and maybe some sacrifice, but the rewards will be worth it. You will feel better, confident, and in control; imagine losing 20 pounds and shopping for a new outfit because your old ones are too big. How about having the energy to play catch with your children or grandchildren when they visit?
If you have already made the commitment to yourself to be healthy, don’t stop or slow down. If you are ready to make some changes to your lifestyle there are steps you should follow:
1. Before beginning any exercise program or lifestyle changes consult your physician. Discuss your intentions and ask about any restrictions, limitations or concerns the doctor may have, if diet changes are needed ask for a recommendation to a dietician or nutritionist.
2. Work with a trainer, if you are unfamiliar with setting up an exercise program. Let the trainer know what you want to accomplish, (lose weight, lower blood pressure etc), and any concerns from your doctor. Work together to set goals, short and long term.
3. Realize that creating a healthy lifestyle is more than dieting to lose ten pounds before your high school reunion. Just like a financial plan your plans to create a healthier lifestyle must have strategies that are implemented, monitored and tweaked as time goes on.
Exercising and maintaining a healthy lifestyle doesn’t guarantee we will live longer or healthier but it certainly increases the odds. By taking care of our health we can extend the quality of life needed to enjoy the later years of life. I saw a great quote the other day “it is not how long you live, it is how you live long.”