Darwin used the phrase “Survival of the Fittest” in 1864 to describe the mechanism of natural selection. Over the years it has taken on many different meanings based upon interpretation. In modern times, it can mean that individuals that have good health and fitness will most likely live the longest. While genetics plays a role in our health and longevity, many studies have shown that lifestyle (in this case, exercise and nutrition) accounts for 60% of our life determination.
Darwin later (1869) refined the phrase to mean “those better designed for an immediate, local environment”. I think that description holds value in today’s world. Look around you, is your immediate local environment set up to promote your health and fitness? Is your lifestyle helping or hindering your health and fitness? If your lifestyle is 60% of your life determination, can you make changes to your lifestyle to improve your life outcomes?
Being with family this holiday season has forced me to think about 3 changes to improve your life determination:
Place a greater value on your health. Many people in my family do not place a significant value on their health. And it shows in how they have aged and the problems they have with their health. You do not truly know the value of your health until it is gone.
Think of your family, for each person, do you hear more about their health problems or their life adventures? I want my life to be about what I have done (volunteer for Search and Rescue) and seen (Florence, Italy at Christmas), not about how many doctors’ visits I have had this year.
Understand that the lifestyle you have now will determine your health in 10-15 years. Our world is mostly about what you have now when we discuss health and fitness. Every other topic we look to make the future better; the environment, stocks, technology, etc. We fail to show the meaning in changes today make the quality of your life better in the future.
I do not feel like exercising every day. But, I make sure that I perform some type of physical activity every day. If I am feeling tired and sore from the week, I may only foam roll and stretch on that day. I know that performing small amounts of maintenance on my body daily will allow me more movement and less pain in the future.
Do something every day to make 1 small improvement in your health. We talk with people about sharing desserts or even meals when going out to restaurants and this seems like such a small change. How could it possibly make any difference to your health?
Reducing your caloric intake by 300-500 calories everyday can lead to the loss of 1 pound of fat. While this may not sound like a significant change, this habit can lead to the loss of 52 pounds of fat in 1 year.
Park a little further from the stores you are going to shop. It is usually easier to find a space, less chance of someone damaging your car, and you burn more calories.
Eat a little less for dinner. This helps you digest better with less chance of heartburn. You are less likely to store some of those calories as fat. And you will wake up feeling better and lighter.
Survival of the Fittest does not mean that you need to be the biggest or strongest to have good life expectancy or quality of life. It means that you need to take care of the body you have to life a long full life. You can spend your time taking care of your body and enjoy your years or you can spend time in the doctor’s office so they can tell you that your lack of a good lifestyle has caused medical conditions and degeneration that makes you look and feel old before your time.
We hope these tips can help you find activities you enjoy and start to feel better, look better, and get more out of life. When you are ready for an exercise program, motivation, and accountability, please visit our website www.achievingfitnessafter50.com and see how we can help you on your road to health.
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