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The Athleticism dimension of REAL wellness is about exercise and nutrition. These two domains have been treated as separate professions until recently. Degrees and certifications, professional societies, conferences and scholarly journals were and largely remain devoted to exercise and to nutrition, but not both as a single, integral element of the same topic (i.e., Athleticism). As far back as the mid-seventies, I insisted the two were intertwined and logically inseparable and should be addressed together, understood as one discipline of two integrated parts. Playfully, I insisted exercise and nutrition were inextricably intertwinked. I made this case in High Level Wellness: An Alternative to Doctors, Drugs and Disease, initially published by Rodale Press in 1977 and later by Bantam Books and Ten Speed Press.

For best results from exercise as well as from wise food choices, these two elements deserve equal attention. One contributes to the other; best results from exercise result from attention to complementary food patterns and vice-versa how to write a cause and effect essay.

Four centuries ago, Joseph Addison (1672-1719) identified three grand essentials to happiness: 1) something to do, 2) someone to love and 3) something to hope for. There are probably many more essentials for some people, but there is absolutely one more for everyone–good health. You can manage a bit of happiness when in pain and otherwise severely distracted from things to do, someone to love and something to hope for, but after a while dreadful health will get in the way. Chronic ill health, distractions from doing what you desire, love and hope, is almost guaranteed without adequate exercise and sound diet.

Sufficient exercise and wise diet choices on a daily basis require mental toughness, a disciplined and unwavering commitment to regular body care involving both movement and nourishment. Only about ten percent of older adults (65 plus) in the Western world exercise at even minimal levels. While Americans spend a great deal more on fitness products and services than any other nation ($265 billion annually in 2018, according to the Global Wellness Institute), we rank 143rd globally for actual participation in physical activity.

Those who exercise regularly and sufficiently enjoy less stress, fewer illnesses and better reflexes, memories, balance and metabolic profiles. How much better? So much so that on these health measures, fit elders test at levels decades better than their sedentary peers. (Source: Ross D. Pollock et. al., An Investigation Into the Relationship Between Age and Physiological Function in Highly Active Older Adults, The Journal of Physiology, January 2015.)

To become and remain physically fit and to sustain yourself with foods that support good physical and mental health, knowledge and disciplined choices are required on a daily basis. The Centers of Disease Control (CDC) identifies poor nutrition and lack of physical activity as two of the four main risk factors causing preventable chronic diseases; the other two are tobacco use and excessive alcohol.

Vigorous daily exercise and nutritious, delicious and only occasional pernicious treats (e.g., pies, cakes, donuts) are foundation requirements for wellbeing. The mental and physical acuity gained from mastery of the Athleticism dimension will enable and support rational decision-making, exuberance and freedom from avoidable dysfunctions that otherwise inhibit thriving and flourishing.

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