Excellence: Health & Fitness

This week we continue our pursuit of the Wow Factor through excellence. The Wow Factor is simply a memorable experience that leaves others talking about us in an extremely positive way. We’ve also defined excellence as above average.

Last time we looked at ways to pursue excellence through Making Things Right. 

This week, we’ll look at achieving excellence through health and fitness.

This is a tough task for many people, myself included. We all know people who have achieved excellence in other areas but have neglected their health. This isn’t a great long-term strategy. It is nearly impossible to sustain excellence in any area if health and fitness are neglected long enough as the consequences are potentially lethal!

If you’ve been with us so far in our pursuit of the Wow Factor, you already know how important it is to put the right things into our minds. It is vital that we also put the right things into our bodies if we want to achieve and maintain excellence in our lives.

As with any area where we want to excel, we need to first establish what average looks like for health. In the United States that bar is set alarmingly low. How low?

  • In their 2013 report, the National Research Council & Institute of Medicine ranked the U.S. last in overall health among developed nations… last.
  • The U.S. per capita healthcare spending is more than twice the average of other developed countries (OECD health statistics 2016)… which isn’t surprising, considering:
  • Almost 67% of American adults are overweight or obese–again nearly double the global average! (NHANES 2013-2014) According to the National Institue of Health, this means that a sizeable majority of our population has significantly increased their risk for:
    • heart disease
    • stroke
    • certain types of cancer
    • high blood pressure
    • type-2 diabetes
    • osteoarthritis
    • kidney disease
    • fatty liver disease
    • pregnancy complications
    • sleep apnea
    • … and more
  • Only 21.7% of U.S. adults meet the minimum CDC physical activity guidelines. (National Health Survey 2016)

Average health and fitness is obviously not an option if we want to be excellent. Yes, it’s hard but the benefits are obvious and they extend well beyond lower disease/mortality risks and fitting into clothes you haven’t worn since college.

When I’m eating well and exercising regularly, I feel better, I think clearer and I feel better about myself. This allows me to be more excellent in every area of my life including the relationships most important to me. Remember our segment on the quality of our self-talk? Improving your health and fitness will improve your self-talk almost automatically!

Now that we see the problem with being average with our health and fitness, and we see the clear benefits of excelling in this area, what can we do about it? Uncommon results do require uncommon habits.

I have good news. While you certainly must make changes in order to improve your health, they don’t need to be radical, overnight changes. If you are someone who gets little or no exercise and has very bad eating habits, begin by doing a few minutes of light exercise every day and saying no to the extra sweets, carbs and snacks. No matter where we’re starting from, we can all do a few small things to improve, and I want to give you a couple of tips to assist you in your pursuit of excellent health and fitness.

  1. Spend more time with people who share your goals or who at least understand and fully support yours. It’s hard to overstate how important this is to your long-term success.
  2. A second tip is that consistency is king. Small, even tiny changes that are implemented consistently over a long period of time will have a greater impact on your health and fitness than radical changes that cannot or will not be maintained.

Our challenge question this week is How excellent are you in your health and fitness?

Think about this question and your answer. Consider changes you can implement that will lead to excellence in your health. It is one of the most important decisions you can make, not only for yourself but for your loved ones as well.

Your commitment to excelling in this area could literally be a life or death decision.

 

 

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