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“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.”

Chronic and degenerative diseases affect each of us in some manner ~ even if you are the fittest person on the planet.

Humans possess the ability to make choices. The consequences from our decisions will often be our salvation or our demise.

Lifestyles are determined by habit. The most insidious aspect of habit is its ability to dull awareness.

Genetics have long been blasted as the culprit to which chronic and degenerative disease[s] you may be pre-disposed. Lifestyle choices ~ especially what you eat and your level of activity ~ determine your health/wellness more than family medical history.

It has been hypothesized that only one disease process exists but it is your lifestyle that determines whether or not your genetic background is expressed.

We are an overfed yet undernourished society. More than 65 million adults in America are obese and there is no end in sight. Even more disturbing is the percentage of children who are obese is rising at an alarming rate.

Latest estimates indicate more than 17 percent of children and adolescents from 2 to 19 years old are obese ~ in most cases 120 percent more than one’s ideal weight. The scope of health challenges associated solely with obesity is staggering and cost annually in excess of $100 billion.

Weight management has hit an impasse. It is clear the typical North American diet financed by government subsidies is a losing proposition. Health care costs per annum consume more than 17 percent [more than $2 trillion] of the gross national product [GNP] ~ and increasing twice the rate of inflation.

Obesity is a major factor contributing to many leading causes of death including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain cancers.

Obesity at its most basic level is defined as an excessive amount of body fat. People ~ including athletes ~ seem to understand this obvious concept. How to return to one’s ideal body weight is a more difficult struggle.

The extra pounds did not appear overnight and shedding them will take time. One’s discipline, resolve, and patience will likely be tested in the process. Only you know the value of your health.Sugar Fix Damage Control

It is impossible to be fat and healthy. Obesity affects all major bodily systems like your heart, lungs, muscles, and bones to list a few.

The importance of awareness and discipline respective to healthful nutritive decisions and regular exercise cannot be overstated.

Obesity is more damaging to health than smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and poverty. Lifestyle choices represent a cumulative versus a short-term effect on your health.

Evidence supports the premise that 86 percent of adult obesity is a manifestation of obesity during childhood.

It is abundantly clear that a plant-based, whole foods diet combined with regular exercise is the least costly and most effective way to prevent and reverse several chronic and degenerative diseases; the most overlooked solution to attaining and sustaining both optimal health/wellness and one’s ideal weight.

Though there is a clear connection among diet, exercise, disease, quality of life, and longevity most people take health and wellness for granted ~ until it is too late.

It is no secret that regular physical exercise is vital to optimal health. This explains why fewer than 50 percent of Americans regularly exercise. Excuses are pervasive for both poor dietary decisions and sedentary existence.

Research indicates that childhood obesity is associated more with inactivity than overeating. The consumption of nutrient-deficient foods combined with inactivity makes overeating moot. Diet and exercise have a profound effect on your health.

Obesity exacerbates the strain on a medical model that hopelessly addresses symptoms versus causations of health issues. It accounts for 21 percent of health care costs and directly and indirectly impacts even fit persons seeking routine medical procedures.

Obesity raises costs in Medicaid, which means we are paying for obesity through higher taxes, The health care costs of obesity are borne by the population; is not simply a personal issue. The most effective way to trim the fat is prevention.

The past decade has seen explosive growth in the number of participants in races, events, and cause-related endeavors. More participants are heavier which has incurred costly results for both participants and race management staff far beneath the podium.

Although the strides exerted to become fit are admirable doing so via organized events and races for the masses incurs additional liability and expense for race directors and the fit participants. Races and events are not the appropriate forum to commence an exercise regimen or test new-found lifestyle changes.

Several causes beyond dietary and lifestyle choices and have been linked to obesity. These include various physiological and psychological factors such as watching TV, grehlin and leptin [hormonal] imbalances, diet-induced thermogenesis, low serotonin levels, satiety and hypothalamus function, among other theories,

Obesity tends to be an inherited trait despite nonexistence of a specific “obesity gene.” What is clear is that even high-risk candidates have the power to avoid obesity through sound dietary and lifestyle choices.

Even a few extra pounds on your body will incur consequences. Health problems resulting from obesity include but are not limited to the following:

~Cancer; Sport Snowshoeing 2x e1347243106983 Damage Control
~Cardiovascular disease;
~Congestive heart failure;
~Deep vein thrombosis;
~Heart attack;
~High blood pressure;
~High cholesterol;
~Pulmonary embolism;
~Numerous skin problems;
~Menstrual disorders;
~Pregnancy complications;
~Fatty liver disease;
~Carpal tunnel syndrome;
~Joint problems/inflammation;
~Migraine headaches;
~Multiple sclerosis;
~Psychosocial issues;
~Depression; Scott Jurek1 Damage Control
~Social stigmatization;
~Sleep apnea;
~Respiratory problems;
~Chronic back pain;
~Genital and urinary problems;
~And more;

Benefits of Exercise

Endurance athletes know the benefits of regular exercise in spite of poor dietary choices. Physical activity increases the amount of energy utilized.

The level of energy used is dependent on muscle mass, age, weight, fat percentage, fitness level, weather, location, duration, and intensity of the exercise or event. Nutritive decisions will propel or pollute the quality of fuel your body mandates. The key is to enhance your performance because of your diet.

Our bodies are meant to expand and contract its 640 muscles as often as possible in the spirit of fitness. Exercise improves your metabolism. The basal metabolic rate [BMR] is the energy used to sustain the circulatory, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and renal bodily functions.

The thermic effect of food [TEF] is the energy expenditure associated with the digestion, absorption, and assimilation processes of food. Theses processes support weight management with optimal nutrition and exercise the catalysts.

Exercise stimulates your lymphatic system in which vessels and nodes combat infections flush microorganisms and toxins prior to filtering protein and fluid to your blood. Exercise suppresses stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, norepinephrine, and epinephrine.

The immediate effect of exercise on your body is stress, the trade-off is adaptation in which your body becomes stronger, functions more efficiently, and possess greater levels of endurance. your entire body benefits from exercise.

Some of the other benefits from regular exercise include:

~Strengthens heart function; SportSnowshoeing thumb1 Damage Control
~Increases blood supply to muscles;
~Lowers resting heart rate;
~Lowers blood pressure;
~Enhances oxygen transport:
~Promotes capillary proliferation:
~Enlarges heart arteries;
~Reduces heart disease risk;
~Lowers total blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels;
~Elevates HDL cholesterol;
~Endocrine system stimulation;
~Reduces dietary fat composition;
~Enhances calcium/bone deposition ratio;
~Prevents osteoporosis;
~Improves muscle mass and strength;
~Increases muscle tissue elasticity;
~Enlarges range of joint motion;
~Strengthens bones, ligaments, and tendons;
~Mitigates chance of injury; AntonKrupickaBlizzard thumb Damage Control
~Improves physique and posture;
~Reduces anxiety, stress, and tension;
~Stimulates mental clarity and function;
~Improves self-esteem;
~Lengthens life expectancy;
~And more.

Do yourself a favor and find out your Body Mass Index [BMI}. Abdominal fat is directly associated with metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, inflammation, high cholesterol, high triglyceride levels, and high blood pressure among other abnormalities.

The key is to determine the percentage of body fat [fat to muscle ratio] versus total body weight. The results may surprise you.

Why don’t people do what they need to do for themselves.”
Michael Arloski, PhD, PCC

One of the keys to weight management is simply to add nutrient-dense, whole foods versus eliminating specific products. Your body will in time crave nutrient-dense foods instead nutrient-deficient fuel.

Your brain will begin to stifle its hunger signal for denatured foods as your body begins to crave food for nourishment versus stimulation to curb/quell stress and fatigue.

Keys to health incorporate a positive attitude, a healthful lifestyle, a healthful diet, and supplementation when necessary.

Wellness is a choice ~ it is not something that falls in your lap while flipping channels on a remote. It is not a quick-fix solution. It is a process not merely an event. It requires effort versus a miracle lotion or potion. It requires accountability.

Combine easily digested, absorbed, and assimilated nutrient-rich, plant-based, whole foods with regular exercise and your body will thank you innumerable ways beyond sustaining its ideal weight and enhanced sports performance.

Proper nutrition combined with regular exercise create a formidable duo on the trail to optimal wellness. Find some additional benefits below:supplementsveggies thumb Damage Control

~Disease prevention and reversal;
~Weight management;
~Reduction of biological age;
~Elimination of junk food cravings;
~Reduced sleep requirements;
~Improved sleep quality;
~Elevated moods;
~Improved energy absent stimulation;
~Elimination of biological debt;
~Improved productivity;
~Faster recovery time from exercise;
~Improved skin elasticity;
~And more.

Extra body fat on the human frame is more than unsightly. It is a pervasive and costly health issue that requires immediate action on a global scale. More than a million lobbyists pimp policy development designed to benefit food manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies.

The receptors under the tip of your tongue crave salt and sugar. Food manufacturers successfully bombard the media w/ ad campaigns touting nutrient-deficient foods and the pharmaceutical companies pitch products designed to treat the symptoms from your indulgence ~ for hefty profits at your expense.

Nutrition is the cornerstone of all dimensions of wellness. Plant-based nutrition has the profound and vastly underestimated ability to maintain health, prevent and reverse chronic and degenerative diseases and enhance endurance sports performance.

Consuming only foods which we are biologically adapted to eat is a monumental step on the path to optimum wellness. This is a matter in which we can eat and exercise our way out.

Technology has helped make our lives more convenient but it is not evil. Its application based on our decisions makes it beneficial or destructive. Our level of awareness has suffered dramatically and our penchant for convenience has cost us in ways yet to be realized.

Nutritional stress will be minimized only when micronutrient digestion, absorption and assimilation are maximized and regular exercise is experienced.

Though we cannot make anyone change his/her behavior respective to dietary and lifestyle choices the consequences remain undeniable. Let us become ambassadors for our sport and complementary sports to encourage others [especially the youth] to exercise through our vivid examples of excellence.

Start a movement with your children in the spirit of wellness. The far-reaching impact of our effort on snow or dirt trails will benefit generations down the path.

Regenerate the lives of others through sport.



  • Jeff Kildahl is a writer, author, wellness consultant and philanthropist advancing preventive health care by synthesizing primary source nutrition and fitness as the principal components of the practice of medicine. Kildahl is a sponsored vegan ultra-endurance athlete credentialed in bioenergetics, biomechanics, metabolic efficiency™ testing, sport nutrition, and natural medicine. He is a dynamic member of CUBE™ ~ a professional speakers group ~ empowering others to harmonize the "Keys to Living in the Song of Life." He is the wellness editor at Snowshoe Magazine, United States Snowshoe Association columnist, and contributor to health, fitness and wellness sites, blogs and publications. He is a US-based ultra-endurance athlete and philanthropist for the 100 FOR 100 Movement ~ https://100for100.me. Kildahl is the creator and president of The Wholistic Edge® ~ a visionary firm providing synergistic solutions to transcend health, performance, and potential in life and sport from the inside out via the principles of Performance Medicine™ ~ http://thewholisticedge.com.

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  • While the overall message in your article of a healthy lifestyle is good, you made several statements that are somewhat inaccurate and detract from the credibility. The research clearly shows that physical inactivity is responsible for more deaths than smoking, diabetes, and obesity combined (google “smokeadiabesity”). Being physically fit is healthier at all weight categories–normal weight, overweight, or obese–than unfit. Your suggestion for readers to find out their BMI is not related closely to to abdominal obesity; instead, they should look at their waist measurement or waist-to-hip ratio. BMI is simply a height/weight relationship that does not distinguish between muscle weight and fat weight.

    • Dr. Merrick~

      Thank you for your comment.

      The scope of the article was not about mortality rates solely linked to obesity. I stated that obesity is a major factor contributing to many leading causes of death with far-reaching implications that affect everyone. I stated that being overweight or obese is directly linked to physical inactivity combined with nutrient-deficient foods versus simply over-consumption of foods.

      I am unsure how it is possible to be fit or healthy if one is overweight or obese. That is like someone believing s/he is healthy b/c the consequences of his/her cigarette habit will be offset by the consumption of vitamins or supplements. Just b/c a group of guys play basketball each Tuesday and Thursday @ the rec center does not mean any of them are fit or healthy ~ regardless of weight.

      There are plenty of other formulas to more accurately measure body fat versus body weight than the BMI. The BMI is a simple and accepted standard for classifying and correlating one’s body composition respective to body fat. People tend to know long before looking in a full-length mirror [or applying any formula] where s/he rates respective to body fat. The issue is making the decision to truly commit to lasting lifestyle changes versus perpetuating excuses. There are scales to measure body fat percentage [http://tanita.com] via bio-electrical impedance for people not interested in other formulas conveying the truth.

      The mainstream and athletes seek quick fixes to issues of a cumulative nature when simply making appropriate nutritive decisions combined with regular exercise will take one’s health to new levels.