The Seventh-day Adventist Church has been promoting a healthy lifestyle to anyone who will listen since its inception. Teaching people about a healthful diet has gone hand-in-hand with teaching about the Bible. Members congregating in Adventist-saturated locales have even been recognized for longevity. Dan Buettner, writer for National Geographic, identified five geographic locations he called Blue Zones that are home to the longest living people in the world. One of the five Blue Zones he identified – and the only one located in the United States – was Loma Linda, California, a hub for the Adventist Church.
According to Juliette Steen, associate food editor of Huffington Post, Australia, “There are three key aspects to Blue Zones: diet, meaningful activity, and community and family engagement.”1
These three aspects all involve choice. They require a choice to eat healthfully, do meaningful activity, and participate in community and family engagement. Choices pepper each day. Our responses to those choices are what determine our future.
Lynette Miller recently participated in the Dirt Kicker Charity Run, a run held in Bismarck, North Dakota. But before Miller participated in the run, she faced the challenge of not being physically able to enjoy excursions with her grandchildren, and she made a choice.
She chose an aggressive weight-loss plan through Sanford Hospital. In March of 2015 she started walking and in May purchased a FitBit to keep track of her steps. Miller had to write down everything she was supposed to eat and what she actually ate.
The program required a minimum of four cups of vegetables per day, preferably two cups raw and two cups cooked, which was difficult because she did not like vegetables, but she determined to eat them anyway. She also started using My Fitness Pal app on her phone to keep track of her progress.
She set short and long term goals. One of her goals was the challenging and hilly Dirt Kicker Charity Run. In 2016, after exercising and eating healthfully for the past year, she signed up with her grandchildren for the 5K Walk having lost over 100 pounds – all because she made a choice.
A recent article in Time Health, How to Be a Basically Healthy Person by Alexandra Sifferlin, states that although people know better, almost half of employed adults choose not to exercise. And although diet may seem a huge issue, simplicity is the answer in both situations. Just choosing to move at least 20 minutes a day and making sure your plate contains more than two colors of food can have a great impact on your health. Sifferlin concludes, “Doing something, it seems, is what’s important.”2
You do not have to lose 100 pounds or participate in a 5K, as Miller did, to be healthy. Simply choosing to do something at the intersection of our daily choices is what truly matters. “Choose life, that you and your offspring may live,” not forgetting that “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.” (Deut 30:19; 1 Cor 6:19 NLT)
Following are ten reasons to start living a healthier life today (taken from Charlotte Anderson’s article “45 Convincing Reasons to Exercise and Eat Right That Aren’t Weight Loss.”3)
- It works as an antidepressant.
One study found that depression sufferers who did aerobic exercise showed just as much improvement in their symptoms as people on medication.
- It fixes your DNA.
A recent study in the brand-new field of epigentics found that eating a healthy diet can “turn on” good DNA and “turn off” some bad DNA, leading to long-term and even generational benefits.
- It reduces stress and anxiety.
“Not that we have anything against an occasional scoop of Chunky Monkey!”
- It boosts creativity.
A recent study found that walking improved both convergent and divergent thinking, the two types associated with enhanced creativity.
- It wipes out allergies.
Researchers in Thailand reported that running for 30 minutes can reduce sneezing, itching, congestion, and runny nose by up to 90 percent.
- It saves money.
One Fortune 500 company estimates that for each dollar spent on preventative health, including exercise, it saves $2.71 in future health costs.
- It helps you resist temptation.
Mice in a study opted for the treadmill over the high from an amphetamine-laced solution, suggesting that humans could do the same.
- It protects your peepers.
Recent research found that one of the best ways to protect your eyes and stave off age-related vision loss is regular cardiovascular exercise.
- It makes you smarter.
A meta-analysis of the effects of exercise on the brain found that fitness improves memory, boosts cognition, helps you learn faster, increases brain volume, and even makes you a better reader. In addition, recent studies have found that working out helps prevent the cognitive decline as we age and diseases like Alzheimer’s.
- It manages chronic pain.
Research shows that a moderate exercise program gives both short-term and long-term improvements for people who have chronic pain, even if the underlying condition remains.
- Steen, Juliette, associate food editor, HuffPost Australia, “The ‘Blue Zones’ Diet Can Help You Live Longer and Be Healthier”, Oct 24, 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/10/23/the-blue-zones-diet-can-help-you-live-longer-and-be-healthier_a_21588550/
- Sifferlin, Alexandra, “How to Be a Basically Healthy Person”, TIME Health, Diet/Nutrition, June 13, 2016.
- Anderson, Charlotte, “45 Convincing Reasons to Exercise and Eat Right That Aren’t Weight Loss”, Greatest, October 27, 2015. https://greatist.com/grow/reasons-exercise-and-eat-right