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Do you have a good plan that you are not executing, a plan that's not good, or no plan at all!

How healthy are you today? How do you measure your health? Is it the absence of disease or are there other measures that define your current state of health?

What kind of results are you looking for? Do you have a good plan that you are not executing, a plan that’s not good, or no plan at all?

Are you thinking years ahead, or months with this plan? Perhaps just weeks or days with no plan and just living it. Are you preventing disease and age related dysfunction?

Live in the day, think in the week, and plan in the years if you want to live long and healthy.

“At any age, and in nearly any state, the human animal is capable of an incredible amount of tissue repair and remodeling. The fact is our bodies will put up with silly movement and lifestyle choices because they have a freakish amount of functional tolerance built in,” states Dr. Kelly Starrett in his book Becoming a Supple Leopard.

 

True North and Strong

Let’s add a little Canada to this. How healthy a Canadian are you today? There are many ways of looking at the health of a population. The good news is that Canadians are living longer as our life expectancy has been increasing over the past decade and the gap between men and women has been narrowing. While Canadians are living longer it is important that they live longer in good health because of the implications on our health care system and the impact on future generations.

Four out of five Canadian adults have at least one or more modifiable risk factors for chronic disease:

  • High blood pressure (Hypertension in 70% of Canadians over age 65)
  • Prevalence of Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke. (1 in 4 adults aged 20-34 smoke)
  • Obesity (high body fat % – 26.4% over age 18 are obese.)
  • Physical inactivity (75% of adults 35 + are inactive)
  • Prevalence of sedentary behaviour (Highest in youth aged 15-17 at 9.5 hours a day)
  • Excessive alcohol use. (30.6% aged 20-34 drink heavily)
  • Prevalence of Unhealthy Eating: diets low in fruits and vegetables, high in sodium and saturated fats (60.3% Canadians aged 12 and over eat less than 5 fruits and vegetables a day.)
  • Prevalence of Mood and Anxiety Disorders (Highest in adults aged 35-64, 10% of Canadians)

As well, 90% of Canadian children are not meeting current physical activity guidelines and 2.7 million of us have diabetes. The number of prevalent cases for diagnosed diabetes is projected to be over four million people by 2020.

Plan to Prevent

I’m suggesting you make a program for yourself. Call it “My Chronic Disease Prevention Program.” Factors that affect your individual health also affect those living around your influence. Whether it’s your children, parents or close friends, your prevention program can lead others into better overall health. Thinking of how impactful your influence can be on others may be a motivating factor for you. Making this connection and keeping it top of mind should help you make better decisions and keep yourself accountable to your goals.

What factors are limiting your health and fitness results? Which of these apply to you?

  • Sleep Deprivation
  • Dehydration
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Prolonged Sitting
  • Stress

Are your lifestyle choices trending you in the right direction? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you consider all the choices that are available to us on any given day. If you feel you could improve in some areas I suggest making small changes is the best way to achieve large long term results. Restrictive thinking, eating, and behavior may bring you some results in the short term but all will set us up for long term failure.

I want you to be stronger today for tomorrow’s challenges. This is a heartfelt message from me to you. My background in nursing ultimately led me to a breakdown of sorts as I continually witnessed disease, illness, and death. It was a breakdown and then a breakthrough as I came to realize that we all encounter challenges, and mine although unique to me are not unique in general. We all experience, feel, and deal with our challenges in different ways. It has given me empathy to the sick, and challenged those who don’t always deserve their circumstances, yet reveals the personal sharpness and leadership responsibility I put out there to share. Please don’t see this as judgement as we get enough of that. See this as reality. Set a realistic plan that puts reasonable amounts of movement to your body, food in your mouth, sleep for your soul, and stress you can manage.

It’s not without pain, sacrifice, and choice that we start to achieve the results we are looking for. There are no guarantees on your choices but holding yourself accountable to the changes you know you need to improve will in time get you trending in the right direction. There is no point in waiting any longer to start. The longer you drive away before turning around just makes the road back seem even harder to navigate. Start today.

The challenges we have faced to date are only part of the many we will encounter looking ahead. Even the best prepared event planner, plans for the unforeseen. There is no way of knowing what our future challenges will be so I encourage you to plan and prepare so that you can withstand and not become a victim from your own lack of accountability.

 

Small changes lead to big results

The things that stand between you and reaching your goals are your limiting factors. Identifying what they are and then developing strategies to make long lasting changes in your daily routine is key. The daily routine is where you live. Thinking for the weeks ahead, and planning in years is to be ready for the challenges that every tomorrow will bring in your future.

From meal planning to sleep planning if you don’t have a plan it’s likely that you need one if you want to improve and optimize your results.

What are your weakest links or limiting factors then? Pick one and start small with a plan to make some changes. Start with where you are today and build on this realistically.

Evaluate and repurpose your thinking to make the changes you need to change your health direction. Make new associations with the reasons behind your plan.

For example:

Lifting something heavy = improved bone density

Eating more vegetables = improved bowel function and decreased risk of colon cancers

Whether it’s for yourself or those within your influence you can change and become a healthier person as well as a healthier Canadian!

Becoming healthier today will help you prepare for tomorrows challenges. I know you can and you should!

Written by: Sheila Hamilton July 2017

Click here to listen to Sheila discuss this topic on the Jon McComb show.  The Fitness Segment airs live every Thursday at 9:05 on CKNW 980 am.

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