How Your Environment Affects Your Health

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How Your Environment Affects Your HealthOn the weekend, I was talking to an acquaintance at my gym. Our facility has recently undergone some changes after being purchased by a new company, resulting in an entirely new atmosphere. There is a new layout, design, and clientele that have come along with the rebranding.

My friend doesn’t like it. In fact, he dislikes it so much he’s considering cancelling his membership to join somewhere else. His reasoning is simple: the atmosphere is important to him and he simply can’t get motivated with the new feel of the gym.

Your atmosphere and environment are extremely important to encouraging a healthy lifestyle. If you’re living in an environment that doesn’t promote healthy living, it’s almost impossible to effectively lead a healthy life for an extended period of time. For example, if your apples are stashed behind a box of cookies, you’re going to eat the cookies while the apples are left to rot.

A report recently came out saying that obese men and women only get about four hours and one hour, respectively, of vigorous exercise per year. Now, I don’t want to speculate, but I bet the environment they live in plays a big role in their weight problem.

So what are the things you need to change? First, take a look at your home. Is your house set up in a way that makes healthy living difficult? It very well might be and it’s sabotaging your success in the process.

Take a look at how your living space is situated. If you have a television in your kitchen, in front of your table, or in your bedroom, you might want to think about moving it. Eating in front of the television leads to overconsumption, which is an easy way to put on excess weight. Eating in front of the T.V. is often called “mindless snacking.”

Having a television in your bedroom impacts your health negatively because it impacts your sleep. The lights from the screen make it difficult for your body to process that it’s time to sleep, leading to poorer quality sleep that has a number of associated health problems like increased stress, fatigue, and mental lapses throughout the day.

Next, move onto your kitchen. Take a look at the condition it’s in. If it’s a mess, you’re not going to be motivated to cook, and more likely to rely on eating out and consuming processed and frozen foods. These foods are often packed with sodium, sugar, and chemicals that can lead to weight gain, heart problems, diabetes, and cancer. When your kitchen is clean, organized, and inviting, you’re more likely to cook fresh meals.

Organize your fridge and cupboards so the healthier options dominate the landscape. Clear some space by getting rid of the junk food and replace it with healthy, fresh foods that promote longevity. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins are the fuel for a healthy body and the front lines of disease fighting and prevention.

Lastly, take a look at the people in your life. All too often so-called friends will try and hold you back. They might attempt to convince you to abandon your diet and come out for a good time, tell you that you’re wasting your time, and that you’ll never accomplish your goals. Tell these people you’re moving ahead with these lifestyle changes and they can either accept it or find some new friends. It can be difficult, but it’s true that people often hold grudges towards others who try to better themselves. At the end of the day, you have to think about what’s really important to you.

Castillo, M., “Obese Women Only Get One Hour of Vigorous Exercise A Year: Study,” CBS News web site, February 21, 2014;, last accessed February 26, 2014.
Assante, L., “A Case for the Dinner Table: Eating in Front of the TV, Computer One of the Quickest Ways to Pack on the Pounds,” National Post web site, April 3, 2013;, last accessed February 26, 2014.
Rosen, D., “Watching TV Before Sleep Is A (Sleep) Losing Strategy,” Psychology Today web site, June 2, 2013;, last accessed February 26, 2014.