Family Health and Fitness Day is here, and there are a few things that everyone needs to know. Health and wellness are the most important challenges we face as a society today. Everything we know and love, and the way we live, is changing. As technological prowess advances, our society spends more time static. We sit down. We exercise less. Farming has taken on a whole new meaning, and the things we put into our bodies have changed radically over time. These changes cause significant problems in our long-term health.
Medical advances might one day soon fix many of the problems we currently face, and this may just be an unfortunate transition period that many of us will live through. But that doesn’t mean that we should just do nothing. About a third of American adults are now obese, a rate which has skyrocketed over the past century. This is mainly because we have transformed from an agrarian society into one that is dominated by offices. The last decades have been especially problematic because we now have the purchasing power to own our own computers. The result? We don’t exercise because of work, play, or necessity.
Although people are living longer with cancer and there are more cancer survivors overall, the rates of cancer over the past 100 years have increased substantially and are expected to increase about 75% in developed nations. The cancer rates among developing nations are supposed to be even higher. This is probably due to a number of reasons, one among them being the same lack of exercise that causes obesity.
Our diets have also changed drastically over the past 100 years. We use more preservatives and thousands of ingredients that are known to have harmful effects are pumped into the foods and beverages we eat. High fructose corn syrup is cheaper–but more dangerous–than sugar, which is heavily taxed. Even the bread we typically eat is processed with this ingredient. Another factor is potentially the toxic smog we constantly pump into our atmosphere. We have done little to change the environmental factors, the food we eat, or our need for exercise, and so these rates will likely continue to increase.
Camping can be a phenomenal way of getting more in touch with the great outdoors, and research shows that simply being there and smelling clean air can increase endorphins and make us happier. We should also start to take up more active lifestyles, and keep better track of our weight. Everyone should exercise more. We should cut processed foods from our diets, and eat more fruits and vegetables. We should spend less time at the computer. We should recycle. All of these increase our long-term health, and our family’s. Isn’t that what’s most important?