Can Health Habits Today Influence Health in the Future?

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  • April 11, 2014
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Jack LaLanne

Jack LaLanne

If you could look at yourself in the future 20 years from now, would you see a healthy you or a weak withered you. Well let me tell you what you do today to keep your body strong and healthy will help future you stay strong and healthy. A study published in the journal of Psychology of Sport and Exercise by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany suggests that our health and fitness habits can predict the outcome of our overall health 20 years into the future.

Researchers had found amazing results after analyzing 243 women and 252 men who were an average age of 45. These participants were involved in the study from 1992 to 2010. They had to complete questionnaires and conducted medical and fitness assessments in the years 1992, 1997, 2002 and 2010 respectively.

The research was done in what they call a 4 stage “biopsychosocial model” to find the factors that could have an impact on future health and fitness.
Stage one included external factors, such as socioeconomic status and migration background. Stage two consisted of personal factors, including social support, stress management strategies and the feeling of coherence. Behavioral habits, like smoking, physical exercise and nutritional factors made up the third stage. The fourth stage consisted of physical fitness and health.

How Health and Fitness Habits Today Affect Us in the Future

Using individual analysis, the investigators discovered all factors in all four stages had both an immediate and indirect effect on participants’ physical fitness and well-being in 1992. They concluded that current physical fitness habits may influence our health and wellness and fitness within the next 18 – 20 years. The areas that had probably the most influence included migration history, socioeconomic status, tension management strategies, anticipation of exercise effect, and physical exercise and nutritional routines.

However, the researchers discovered that nutrition and workout habits reported in the baseline of the research affected the health and fitness of participants 18 – 20 years later, up till 2010. This tells us that diet and exercise you do today can and will affect you directly in the future. The investigators say additionally they found that migration history and socioeconomic standing indirectly influenced health habits within that time span.

The researchers also found that they were surprised to locate no direct correlation between physical fitness and well-being itself when calculating participants’ body bulk index (BMI), waist-hip percentage, blood pressure, and cholesterol. They say this is in part because of the fact that the fitness test utilized in the study didn’t take endurance into consideration, and this is really a factor that may largely impact wellness.

So what do you think? Do you think that working towards your best health and fitness goals today, will have a positive impact on you later in life when you may not have as much strength and stamina at your disposal? Research certainly suggests so.

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