I've always been somewhat perplexed at the aversion so many people have to what I call "preventative living."
To avoid confusion, let me re-frame the text: I'm not referring to a person preventing themselves from living, but choosing to live in a way that prevents injury, disease or with compromised immunity.
It only seems logical to juxtapose this with what I'll refer to as "reactive living," which in this instance refers to waiting until the body becomes symptomatic before any investment is made to fix what is broken. Frequently, the monetary investment to remain healthy can ultimately pale by comparison to the consequences of those who wait to fix what breaks.
While science encourages so many of us to relish in the quality of our years influenced by fitness, the fitness trainer in me always wants to know why so many people are willing to spend money once they develop the symptoms of illness or injury instead of taking measures to potentially avoid it completely.
I'm guessing that lawyers probably ask the same questions regarding clients who don't draft wills, mechanics who replace peoples tires only after they have hydroplaned across the freeway on tires that looked like baloney skins, and dentists whose patients have holes in their teeth instead of making a monthly investment into a two-dollar tube of toothpaste and a tooth brush.
The toughest part of fitness training is to convince individuals that their preventative health is the price of the investment, while trying to reverse the consequences of health apathy is the end cost -- usually at a much greater fee.
In order to avoid accusations that I'm dealing from the bottom of the deck, I thought I'd provide a snap-shot of America's No. 1 killer: heart disease. Keep in mind that your body doesn't know if you're insured or uninsured.
Perhaps a better way to present it, is that no person is immune to heart disease. Below are some key statistics provided by the American Heart Association:
• Hospital Fee: The average hospital fee for an open heart surgery is $62,500.
• Plaque Removal: The national average for any kind of plaque removal is $30,588.
• Heart By-Pass: Costs a whopping $117,000.
• Heart Valve Replacement: $164,238.
These numbers do not reflect additional surgeon fees, anti-rejection and anti-coagulation medications and costs of other specialists in the algorithm of care.
Notably absent are the reactive costs to the epidemic of obesity which undoubtedly makes a contribution in a number of orthopedic and pathological illnesses.
Ultimately, asking the question as to whether or not fitness is the panacea that prevents reactive health care costs is akin to having a crystal ball to predict the future.
Science has proven, however, that proper diet and exercise plays a critical role in both health and quality of life.
Perhaps one of the best adages is also one of the oldest -- that an "ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
My closing side note is the box score on my 20 pound challenge. Lousy week for exercise, pretty good week for diet consistency. I'm down 6 pounds and shooting for 3 more by the same time next week. My body is anticipating what millions of year of evolution have taught it -- hold on to the weight when anticipating starvation mode. It's during these plateaus that even more discipline and effort are required.
Stay tuned and think "prevention."
Bill Victor is the owner of Victor Fitness System Professional Fitness Trainers, Flashpoint Athletic Speed & Agility Specialists, and Performance Nutrition Consultants. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and online at http://theflashpoint.org and http://VictorFitnessSystems.com.