According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), six in ten adults in the United States have a chronic disease and four in ten adults have two or more. The definition of chronic disease is a condition that lasts one year or more and requires ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily living or both. A few examples of chronic disease include heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease just to name a few.
I’m sure most of us have used a few of these excuses, “I don’t have time to insert physical activity into my daily routine”, “I can’t afford to eat ‘healthy’”, “I’m not ready to quit smoking, it’s my stress reliever”. A few more statistics tell us that heart disease, cancer and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. With the same old excuses we use, we are basically telling ourselves we don’t have time to save our own life. We tell ourselves that we can’t afford fruits and vegetables but we can afford numerous doctor visits and medication. If we put down that cigarette and went for a walk in the fresh air it could help relieve stress and save money!
Let’s look at another statistic, chronic disease puts health care costs at $3.5 trillion a year. Since society has normalized an inactive lifestyle such as lack of proper nutrition, lack of proper sleep and utilizing tobacco and alcohol as an escape, is not only costing us money but our quality of life.
Here are a few ways to decrease your risk for chronic disease. Remember the key is to be consistent, you can “behave” for a week but don’t expect your health to improve unless you make small lifestyle changes.
1. Quit Smoking. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for FREE SUPPORT
2. Eat Healthy. A balanced diet of fruits, veggies, whole grains (Yes, we need carbs!), lean meats and dairy products. Check out myplate.gov for more free info. Reminder: if we spend a little more on fresh food we save on doctor visits and medications.
3. Get Regular Physical Activity. The ultimate goal is to complete 150 minutes a week at a moderate pace.
4. Avoid Drinking Too Much Alcohol. Try sober social events with friends/family
5. Get Screened. It’s important to stick to our annual well checks.
6. Get Enough Sleep. The ultimate goal is 7 hours for adults.
Utilize the link below and stop making excuses, we only get one body to carry us through this wild ride called life. We don’t want to be spending our retirement funds on doctor visits, medications or funeral arrangements.
Submitted by: Megan Swenson
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