Re-creation as an Anecdote
On average, the adult American, according to the American Time Use Survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is spending about 30% of their time sleeping, and 30% of their time working. They leave only 10% of their time for leisure activities and sports (of which 99% of that is spent watching TV). Americans spending so little of their time in recreation can have an unwittingly negative effect on their health. Stress and poor habits such as eating habits, physical fitness habits (or lack thereof), and sedentary behaviors can lead to lifelong struggles. It’s not only our lifestyle choices that make a difference; it’s also the things we think about and the things we surround ourselves with.
But how bad is the problem of deteriorating health resulting from poor health choices and lack of recreation? Just take a look at the many challenges we all face today. Nearly 7 out of 10 people will die from a chronic disease. Heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis are the most common – and treatable – of chronic conditions. The most common chronic diseases from which people die are heart disease and cancer – nearly 48% of all chronic diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) many chronic diseases are preventable.
Health Risk Behaviors that Cause Chronic Diseases
“Four of these health risk behaviors—lack of exercise or physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and drinking too much alcohol—cause much of the illness, suffering, and early death related to chronic diseases and conditions.” – CDC*
If we look into the data further, it becomes clear the importance of creating and supporting a healthy lifestyle to avoid hospital stays and doctor visits – nearly 86% of healthcare spending was spent to address chronic diseases.
That’s a lot to take in. Nearly all of our healthcare costs, and 70% of our collective deaths occur due to chronic diseases that are aggravated and caused by “health risk behaviors.”
What does this mean? It means that many of us are living an unhealthy lifestyle. And what does that mean? It means that chronic disease can be preventable by making small and large changes which lead to a better life. Not to oversimplify the point, but if we smoked less (or even better, quit), worked less (reducing our stress), played more (reducing our stress), worked out more and ate healthy foods with less salt then we may lead longer healthier lives. But why is that not simple to do? In a word: Stress.
My husband and I had a friend named Trey who was diagnosed with retinol cancer. By all measures he was a very successful man with a beautiful and supportive wife of many years, two healthy kids, a great house and a great career. In the end, when most of us realized he was getting sicker faster than the doctors could help him, he shared with my husband that he thought the reason he was sick was because of stress. Poignant insights shared from a man much too young to die. But he did.
In 2016 we live in a time with great stress, great conflict and a lot of divide among us all. It is my belief that all of this can change starting with each of us. I believe that as we treat ourselves so goes our community, our state, our country and our world. If we allow ourselves to poison ourselves each and every day from the things we surround ourselves with (the stressors), what we think about (those tortuous negative thoughts all too often purported by the media), what we ingest (pre-packaged foods, high salt foods, tobacco and excessive alcohol), then we can only be a reflection of how we see the world and how the world sees us. Whether we choose to believe it or not we are all in a symbiotic relationship. In order to heal the nation, we must first heal ourselves. It all starts with us. We can turn inward and reflect on how we can make ourselves better. How can I heal my chronic diseases? How can I live a healthier life? How can I make better choices so that I may be a better steward of this life for myself and those around me? Who can I help today and perhaps that will help me too? How can I enjoy my life more so that I may enjoy those around me more? And perhaps, they will enjoy me more too.
Webster’s defines recreation in the following manner:
- the action or process of creating something again:
“the periodic destruction and recreation of the universe”
Late middle English also in the sense “mental or spiritual consolation”; via old French from Latin creation(n-), from recreare meaning “create again, renew.”
In essence, no matter where you start, you can re-create and start anew. While there is much debate over the theory that our bodies regenerate every seven years, there are notable scientists that have determined, in fact, that much of our bodies do regenerate organs like the heart, liver, skin, gut – regenerating every four days up to a few weeks. So consider this, if we can regenerate our own bodies, can we not regenerate our health by taking on new habits to ingest better things – mentally, spiritually and physically? I believe the answer is yes. We can.
Share your insights on how we can #Re-create and how #GoodHealth achieves #Freedom #Independence and #Equality.
*Source: Centers for Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/overview/index.htm
About Tracy DeJarnett
Tracy is founder of The Brandsoup Agency and is on the editorial board for the National Women’s Council that produces this newsletter. She is dedicated to helping her clients through her marketing craft and to lifting others with encouragement, inspiration and education.
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