A fitness lifestyle is defined as a daily exercise and nutrition regimen that helps you enhance your aerobic capacity, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility and body composition. There are many reasons for you to develop a fitness lifestyle but I believe 3 are especially important:
1. Enhanced Health and Decreased Risk of Disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), two out of every three Americans are overweight and one-third is clinically obese. This obesity is widespread throughout the U.S. As of 2009, 49 states had obesity prevalence rates of more than 20% (Colorado is the lone exception). The number of young people who are overweight has more than tripled since 1980. This is due, at least in part, to a lack of exercise. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), less than half of all Americans get the recommended amount of exercise (about 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days). 25% of us never exercise at all. This has significant ramifications for our health since there is a direct link between a sedentary lifestyle, obesity and many deadly diseases. Specifically, overweight and obese people are at a greater risk for hypertension, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, some cancers (endometrial, breast and colon), sleep apnea, and respiratory problems. A 2005 study by the CDC and the National Institutes of Health reports that obesity kills more than 100,000 Americans each year. Therefore, the greatest benefit of a fitness lifestyle is improved health and a potentially longer life.
2. Improved Work Performance. Yes, being fit and healthy can improve your work performance, and save you and your employer money. In a 2005 study reported by ACSM, researchers found that when workers used their company gym, they were more productive and got along better with their co-workers. Ratings for mental and interpersonal performance as well as the ability to manage time and output demands were much higher on exercise days. In addition, other studies have shown that corporate exercise programs can pay off in reduced health care costs, absenteeism and stress, and higher morale and productivity.
3. Increased Psychological Well-Being. A variety of studies have shown evidence that people who exercise experience less depression, anger, distrust and stress than those who do not exercise. In addition, those living a fitness lifestyle tend to experience improved mood, enhanced self-esteem, increased personal satisfaction, improved body image, increased energy and enhanced confidence in their physical abilities.