The Impact of Our Environment

With the weather being so good at home at the moment, it is great to see people out and about.

I feel sometimes that there is a conception that ‘fitness’ and ‘healthy eating’ is an additional, separate and time-consuming idea that only affects people who are either interested in it or who want to make changes to their own specific lives. It should however affect us all and should be part of our everyday lives.

Why are obesity and diabetes levels at an all-time high?

I think that a large proportion of people just ‘aren’t bothered’ to understand how to live a healthy lifestyle or how to make simple changes that will affect them. Everyone knows ‘why’ these changes are important but it is the ‘how’ part that is confusing. Developing the correct mindset and being educated about the ins and outs are essential to living a healthy life. That does not mean however throwing your money at the next ‘quick fix’ for weigh loss!

Personally, I think proper fitness education and nutritional advice should become a core subject in education across all schools. Imagine the improvements in peoples’ general health if as a child they understood the nutritional values present in different foods or knew what a calorie was or how many calories they should be eating on a daily basis so as not to gain weight.

Would obesity and diabetes levels be so high?

Governments pump millions of euros a year into their health systems to solve the problems of heart disease and other diseases associated with poor health. I do not understand why a large proportion of that money is not invested in the development of nutritional educational programmes for young people.

In my view the issue needs to be tackled at the grassroots and we need to start thinking more along the lines of ‘prevention being better that cure’. We need to think about changing the way we educate young people on exercise, nutrition and cooking. I was in my late teens before I was able to cook a healthy meal! I know adults who still cannot cook a healthy meal. Seriously? Then we wonder why people are unhealthy?

The annual report of the world’s healthiest countries is largely made up of countries from regions of the Mediterranean and Scandinavia. I am aware that these reports consider a range of factors outside of fitness and nutrition when compiled but there are similarities between such countries and lessons to be learned.

Travel to any country in the Mediterranean and every meal you eat will contain fresh wholesome foods. Similarly, watch the locals and their active way of life. Sure, the weather of each country may limit what you can do outside, but that does not mean that it should not be used as an excuse.

Coming from Ireland (where is rains for the majority of the year) and living in the UAE (where temperatures reach 50 degrees in the summer) I have experienced both ends of the scale but there are always ways to get out and be active.

3 years ago, I was on a ski trip in Switzerland with my school and for the entire week we were there, we did not see one fast food restaurant.

Did the students miss it? Not at all. They were too busy flying down the sides of mountains and being active.

This is just an example but I feel that it is an important one.

‘How you do anything is how you do everything.’

For change to happen, a mindset shift needs to occur. I think that this is especially important when discovering how to improve your health and fitness as well as other areas of your life.

If you feel dissatisfied in how you look or feel and you want to make improvements, then you need to take more accountability of what you do on a day-to-day basis and take the required action necessary. I promise that you will be glad you did.  

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