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Julie Palmer

When it comes to your own personal health the right to choose is an exercise that yields powerful results. It’s true. Most all of us reading this blog have the ability and option to choose for ourselves. You are choosing to read this, right?

So what does this have to do with your health?

Everything.

I can’t think of anything more impactful to your health than choice.

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As a disclaimer, I want to acknowledge those who do not have the same choices that I have, maybe someone who has to work two and three jobs to support their family, someone who is bed ridden, or someone with terminal cancer or ALS. I realize that not everyone can exercise his or her right to chose.

With that being said, most of you do have the same choices available to you that I have. I chose what time to get up before starting my workday, I choose how to fuel my body at the breakfast hour, I choose what to wear, how fast or slow to drive, and what to do with my free time.

When it comes to my health, I choose to make exercise a priority, I choose nutritious foods from the grocery store, and I choose to see my doctor regularly for preventative exams. Just these three choices alone positively impact my health and therefore my overall quality of life.

Look, I know that society gives us an overabundance of choices to make and the wrong choices are often marketed to us as a good choice. Take the grocery store for instance. Grocery chains are paid to position certain foods at eye level because they know those items sell best. Sadly, these are most commonly processed high sugar foods with little to no nutritional value. Once we recognize this psychological game that society plays on us and move beyond it, we can train ourselves to look elsewhere and make better choices. The fact is I have all of the same choices at the grocery store that you have so why don’t we all choose healthy? We could blame society but isn’t that just an excuse? Society doesn’t have the right or ability to choose for you.

You also have the choice to move your body. Yes, exercise is one thing, but it goes much further than that. You have the choice to take the stairs versus the elevator; you have the choice to stand up and stretch versus ignoring your back pain, or use your break for a walk rather than to smoke a cigarette. And, yes, you have the choice to include regular exercise into your daily routine- even though you might have to get up earlier or turn off the TV to fit it into your day. These choices do not go unnoticed by your body. They affect your health, your stress, your ability to perform everyday functions, your outlook, your energy, your sleep, your ability to focus, your ability to learn, your emotional health, your long-term health and don’t forget they affect how your children and family perceive the importance of taking care of themselves. Dear God, what are we teaching our kids?

The morale of the story is to live healthy by exercising your right to choose and in return enjoy a high quality of life and pass on this right to those you influence.

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RivalHealth is a fitness-based wellness platform that engages employees with daily exercise and nutrition activities and sustains engagement through social interaction, challenges, incentives and outcomes.