A fitness lifestyle is defined as a daily regimen of exercise and nutrition that helps you improve your aerobic capacity, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition. You have many reasons to develop a fitness lifestyle, but I believe 3 are particularly important:
- Improved health and reduced risk of disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), two out of three Americans are overweight and one-third are clinically obese. This obesity is prevalent in the United States. In 2009, 49 states had obesity prevalence rates over 20% (Colorado is the only exception). The number of overweight young people has more than tripled since 1980. This is due, at least in part, to a lack of exercise. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), less than half of Americans get the recommended amount of exercise (about 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days). 25% of us never exercise. This has important ramifications for our health since there is a direct link between a sedentary lifestyle, obesity and many deadly diseases. Specifically, overweight and obese people are at higher risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, certain cancers (endometrium, breast and colon), sleep apnea and respiratory problems. A 2005 study by the CDC and the National Institutes of Health reports that obesity kills more than 100,000 Americans each year. Therefore, the greatest benefit of a fitness lifestyle is better health and a potentially longer life.
Improved work performance. Yes, being fit and healthy can improve your job performance and save you and your employer money. In a 2005 study reported by ACSM, researchers found that when workers used their company’s gym, they were more productive and got along better with co-workers. Ratings of mental and interpersonal performance as well as the ability to manage time and production demands were significantly higher on exercise days. Additionally, other studies have shown that workplace exercise programs can result in reduced health care costs, absenteeism, and stress, as well as improved morale and productivity.
3. Increased psychological well-being. Various studies have shown that people who exercise experience less depression, anger, mistrust, and stress than those who don’t exercise. Additionally, those who lead fitness lifestyles tend to have better moods, higher self-esteem, increased personal satisfaction, improved body image, increased energy, and increased confidence in their physical abilities.
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