This week’s news that diabetes cases have fallen in the United States is not only positive for the overall health of the nation, but it’s positive reassurance for the lingering question many people have about diet and exercise in general. How long does it take to work? How much of it matters? Can a few simple changes mean improvement for me?
If you haven’t seen the news, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that new cases of diabetes were 1.4 million in 2014, down from 1.7 million in 2008. This is the first sustained decline in the disease, since it began to explode among the population 25 years ago. Although researchers are unsure of the precise reason for the decline, they are clear this dip in diabetes cases coincides with shifts in the habits of Americans including, a drop in soda consumption, lower daily calorie consumption, and a rise in physical activity. The decline also follows an expansion in education about what healthy eating is and isn’t, and major efforts by health and wellness advocates to help Americans become more health conscious by reading food labels and making better choices.
What all of this reminds me of is the power of taking action where we are, when it comes to our health, and moving consistently in the right direction. When it comes to your health, the issue is not whether you are on some extreme exercise routine, or staunch diet, but what direction you are moving most of the time.
Are we seeing these pleasing results from the CDC research as a result of Michele Obama’s campaign to get young people to move? Yes.
Are we seeing the results from the growth of fresh fruit and vegetable markets throughout the country? Yes. Is this the impact of the juicing trend? Yes.
How about the increase in yoga? Yes.
In my opinion, this all matters.
When it comes to our bodies, I’ve always believed it is the sum total of our choices, and not one or two isolated choices that make the difference. If you have an extra slice of apple pie at dinner this week that’s not a disaster, but if your practice is to have a slice of pie and other treats daily, the cumulative effect of what you do will have an impact. Conversely, the cumulative impact of the right exercises will steadily improve your body and your overall fitness.
There’s always a lag between the actions we take, and when the impact shows up in our bodies as results. The same goes for data tracking our health. For example, this week’s news on diabetes refers to data from the periods between 2008 and 2014. With this as a guide if you want better results in 2016 and 2017 begin today. Start focusing on improving your body and fitness, most of the time, and before long you’ll see the impact and have your own good news.