At a recent meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in San Diego, Dr. Robert Sallis, Chairman for the American College of Sports Medicine’s Exercise is Medicine Initiative stated, “there is irrefutable evidence for exercise in the primary and secondary prevention of diabetes, cancer (breast and colon), hypertension, depression, osteoporosis, dementia, coronary artery disease and lower death rate from all causes.”
Open enrollment begins next month. This is an opportunity to reflect on your personal health and wellness plan, and a few small changes in your routine could possibly help you save money on insurance and out-of-pocket expenses.
Here are some interesting facts on where the US healthcare system currently stands:
- In the last 50 years, US healthcare spending has risen 818% compared to 168% increase in GDP and 16% in wages, respectively.
- The 2014 Commonwealth Fund rated the US healthcare the worst in efficiency, equity and outcomes for the 5th time in 10 years.
- In The New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Marcia Angell states, “The pharmaceutical industry has gained enormous control over how doctors evaluate and use its own products…. Instead of promoting drugs to treat diseases, they have begun to promote diseases to fit their drugs.
- In 2012, The Lancet medical journal described physical inactivity at a pandemic level with far reaching health, economic, environmental and social consequences.
The question to ask is what can we do to protect ourselves?
According to the CDC, health behaviors contribute 50% to overall health status as compared to genetics (20%), environment (20%) and access to healthcare (10%). Health behaviors include diet, smoking and physical activity. Physical activity can be your best defense against a dysfunctional healthcare system.
According to the American Public Health Association, only 3% of healthcare dollars are devoted to prevention. We cannot rely on health insurance companies to improve health. Instead, we can take back our health by living an active life. Physical activity has been described as the “best buy” in public health. Increased physical activity means less reliance on a system whose focus is on what is wrong instead of what is right.
Open enrollment serves as a reminder. It can be the beginning of a new way of looking at your health and wellbeing. Here are 4 tips to help visualize what is possible:
- What would an active life look like for you?
- How could an active life help you feel better?
- Where do you sense some energy for change whether it’s energy to move away from something or to seek out something?
- How can living an active life help take back your power?
The poet John O’ Donohoe writes in the poem, For a New Beginning:
In out of the way places of the heart
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge
This speaks to our inner knowing that we are ready for change. And what better time to reflect than having to face our healthcare plan for the upcoming year.