Death is an inevitable reality for human beings (unless scientists do something amazing).  Most of us have a healthy respect for death and fear a premature meeting.  Many people, however, take risks with their health despite its relationship with death.  They feel that life is too short to avoid behaviors and activities that they enjoy. They feel that exercise is too difficult and unpleasant. Others feel that giving up their favorite foods is too stifling.  While these may be true statements, the consequences of these statements are often not truly weighed.

Many people think that engaging in detrimental behaviors will simply lead to premature death.  They figure that giving up a couple years of life is worth the attainment of immediate pleasures.  They would rather die a few years early in order to avoid the discomfort of exercise.  Unfortunately, people grossly underestimate the penalties for their actions.

Consider these facts:

  • 70 to 80% of all illness is lifestyle related.
  • Physical inactivity is the number one leading cause of death.
  • People that engage in healthy behaviors tend to live 14 years longer than those that do not.
  • Research shows that an overweight 80-year-old that exercises is more likely to live longer than a thin 60 year-old that does not exercise.

Many people grossly underestimate the amount of life they are giving up. They may think that their unhealthy behaviors are going to cost them a couple years of life but in reality it may be as much as 20 years. Do those guilty pleasures seem less attractive?

Another factor is that it's not just the quantity of life that is reduced but the quality.  Many people who engage in unhealthy behaviors spend their last decade, or more, battling with terrible health afflictions. They don't simply die in their sleep a couple years early. Instead, they may be forced to suffer a battle with a debilitating disease. Many become condemned to wheelchairs following severe strokes, or experience shortness of breath with even simple acts such as getting out of bed.  Some people are no longer able to perform any of the activities that they use to enjoy.  Routine behaviors often start to cause extreme stress and discomfort.

While engaging in healthy lifestyle choices is not easy, these choices do help to ensure that you can enjoy your life.  Quality of life makes life worth living.

Instead of gambling on the future, doesn't it make more sense to assume some reasonable changes to your lifestyle?  Is an investment of one hour a day, three days a week of exercise really that much?  Is eating out every day really providing you with that much pleasure? Wouldn’t reducing your eating out experiences to once a week turn it into a more special occasion?  With diet, moderation is the key.  You can still enjoy all the things you like.  You must simply indulge in a more reasonable manner.

Don't trade your quality and length of life away so quickly.  Truly consider what is at stake.  Utilize this information to help motivate you to a healthier lifestyle.