view from a hike.

view from a hike.

secluded beach after a hike.

secluded beach after a hike through the dunes.

Did you know that forty percent of Americans will contract diabetes in their lifetime?  Diabetes can be prevented by exercising and eating healthy.  Almost Twenty nine percent of the deaths in the U.S. are caused by heart disease.  That’s almost 1/3 of deaths.  Those deaths could be prevented by exercising and eating healthy.  These 2 statistics should be big motivators to getting in shape, but surprisingly it’s not enough to motivate many people.

It’s not easy to start exercising when you’ve never exercised before or it’s been a long time.  I get it.  I went 2 weeks without exercising and it was hard to get back into it.  It’s so easy to stop exercising, but after 2 weeks without it, I could tell a difference in how I felt.  I would be out of breath after walking up the stairs.  It’s hard and time consuming to exercise, but it will make your life easier in the long run.  It’s better to work hard now when you are in control than to let your health go and suffer the consequences later.

Sometimes people are intimidated by the word exercise.  You can ease into it by doing something fun that doesn’t feel like exercise.  I played tennis with my son, the other day.  We had so much fun it didn’t even feel like exercise, but I was tired out later that day, so I knew it was beneficial.  The next day we went to play again and I had more energy than the time before.  Each time we play it gets easier.

When we went to Frankfort, Michigan this summer for vacation we enjoyed hiking in the woods, riding bikes and walking on the dunes at Sleeping Bear Dunes (one of the most beautiful places in America).  It brought back a lot of memories from when I was a kid.  I used to love walking in the woods out behind our house.  I remember riding bikes into town and all around the neighborhood.  I also loved going to the beach.  We had so much fun in Frankfort and the activities were great exercise.  You can start out doing things that are fun, that don’t feel like exercise.  Just get moving and gradually do more and exercise and activities will start getting easier.

I talked to a lady in the grocery store that was 86 and her husband was 87.  We somehow started talking about eating healthy and she said that if men don’t take care of themselves, the wife usually has to take care of them when they are older.

She committed to eating healthy years before and that’s how she still looked good at 86.  The average life expectancy in the United States is 78.7 years old, so this woman and her husband both exceeded this by eating healthy.

Of course there are cases where someone lives longer even though they didn’t eat healthy and exercise, but what is their quality of life like?  Can they still get around on their own without pain?  Try to visualize what your life will be like when you are 60 or 70.  Will you be active or will you be stuck at home because you have too much pain in your knees or back.  Will your heart be strong or will you be limited to short activities because you have shortness of breath, fatigue or dizziness from a weakened heart?  You have the choice now to determine how you will feel when you are older.  I hope you choose health.