Guest Blog: Encouraging Health & Fitness at Every Age and Stage of Life by Kristen Hurst
Encouraging Health & Fitness at Every Age and Stage of Life
This article was authored by Kristen Hurst
As Americans we have always been a nation of opportunity and freedoms, of civil liberties and the eternal quest for justice and the rights of others. We were borne from the backs of our ancestors, who paved our path from the brunt of their hard work and unequivocal desire for a better life than their predecessors. However, out of our proud and industrious heritage, a contentious paradox has emerged, one of lifestyle choices. And it seems that divisions between two are becoming more and more pronounced. It is composed of those who subscribe to living their lives with a balance of wellness, health and fitness and conversely those who are battling the debilitating scourge of obesity and chronic disease. And at stake are billions of dollars and millions of lives. These costs have far-reaching implications, as in shortened lifespans and increasing insurance rates which are quickly being eaten up in the healthcare system, as seen with the rising numbers of heart disease, diabetes and other lifestyle related illnesses.
Which begs the question, in a country that has so much to offer, what on earth is going on? The problem is simple math; larger portioned unhealthy food + lack of exercise = obesity and chronic disease—and we’re only getting bigger! As a matter of fact, the average American is 23 pounds overweight and is facing a diminished quality of life as a direct result of poor lifestyle choices.
How can we change buck this current trend and the dangerous course we seem to be following? Simple, let’s take a look below at where we can stop these patterns, right in their tracks:
• Pregnancy: When beginning the journey into motherhood, women often feel a great amount of trepidation. After all, they are growing new life, a job that is tremendously important. But with great power, of course, comes great responsibility. Pregnant woman, more than ever, need to make healthy and wise choices. And those that choose to consume alcohol, smoke, use drugs or eat unhealthily, are also making that choice for their unborn children, something that can have lifelong ramifications. Why wouldn’t you want to give your children the best opportunity right from the get go? Getting regular care and checkups, eating healthy and vitamin-rich foods and light to moderate exercise will start you and your offspring in the right direction.
• Children: It starts at home. As in food choices, physical activity and lifestyle. As parents, you are absolutely responsible for the food that is served on their plates. Are you a parent who is overwhelmed, juggling work, practice schedules and little down time for yourself? Do your meals reflect this current mode of life; as in one too many Happy Meals, microwaved chicken nuggets and processed quick and easy meals full of preservatives and little nutritional value? Honesty is the first step in acknowledging bad habits and choices. We as parents need to step out of our role of suppliers of instant gratification. Yes, it’s much easier to plop your kids down in front of the television with a bag of fast food, but is easy, the right way? What would our ancestors say? After all, they raised their own vegetables to eat and preserved the extras for the leaner winter months. What is considered ‘work’ was just the way life was for them, they appreciated their efforts by sharing a family meal, grown and harvest together. What is the barometer of your home? Does your family life function haphazardly like a spinning wheel that has become off-kilter? What if instead of money poured into feeding an unhealthy fast food habit, you invested your time and energy in growing food for your family. Imagine your son picking lettuce from your own backyard, or chomping into the carrot that he planted with those tender little fingers. What if you and your children poured through recipes and came up with family meals that were full of healthy, balanced portions? Chances are there will be a change, a positive vibe that will resonate throughout every aspect of your life.
• Fit for Life: After raising your children, you may think that your days of monitoring your children and role-modeling may be over, but when we look at the habits of those who continue to stay healthy and fit, their lifestyle choices never end, ever. We’re all given choices, every day, to make a conscious effort to eat healthy and to choose healthy lifestyles over unhealthier ones. And this adds up to making a commitment to yourself. When weighing everyday options, you have the free will to choose; you can either get up a little earlier and have a healthy breakfast or grab a greasy breakfast sandwich while you rush off to work. You can sit in front of the television and watch sitcoms or brainless reality shows for three hours straight or get off the couch and walk your way to better health.
Yes, we as Americans have certain luxuries that many in remote parts of the globe will never have. Just the fact that we have the accessibility and availability of so many choices can be considered a marvel in other parts of the world. When we agonize at the numbers on the scale, there are others who wonder whether they will be able to feed their children on any given night. When we complain about being tired, overweight, feeling unhappy and unsatisfied with life, we look to the quick and easy fix; meals thrown together with little effort, the overuse of pharmaceuticals to ease our daily stresses and buying larger clothing to cover our burgeoning bodies. What has happened to our pioneering spirit? Complacency, instant gratification and lack of effort have all but diminished our ancestor’s dreams for future generations. And the effects of it are seen in the rising numbers of chronic disease, obesity and substance abuse.
Get off this vicious treadmill and onto the path of healthier living. What do you have to lose, other than those extra 23 pounds and that cloud of depression and despair. Come join the human race and give your best effort, all the way to the finish line!
About Kristen Hurst
Kristen Hurst is a stay-at-home mother of three who enjoys blogging. She received her bachelor’s degree in fashion marketing, and writes often about http://www.seraphinematernity.com/. A lifelong fitness fanatic, she recently completed a grueling half-marathon and plans to write a book about her experiences winning a battle against postpartum depression by exercising and eating healthy. When she’s not trying to juggle the lives of Casey, Austin and Ben, she enjoys painting, yoga and catching up with a great Jane Austen novel.