Become a gift that keeps on giving

Tuesday, December 9, 2008
As the Christmas season gets in full swing, I would like to challenge my readers to give yourself the gift of fitness.  As I work on my syllabi for Introduction to Sports Medicine and for Sports Studies Senior Seminar (S4), I am reminded about the continued importance of fitness and general well being. Particularly in this time of economic downturn, it is easy to see a gym membership or new gym equipment as an unnecessary expense, but I would challenge you to weigh the cost of reactive medicine versus preventative medicine.  In general preventive medicine costs much less than reactive medicine.  Putting money and time into your personal health and well-being equates to decreased personal spending for health care.  In workplace wellness programs, the figures are something like for every $1 spent on workplace wellness, employers will save $6 in decreased absenteeism, chronic illness care, etc.  Again, paying it forward doesn't need to cost any money. Take the stairs, park in a remote corner of the mall parking lot, or walk to a colleague's office instead of logging on to email.  I would also challenge you, as my parents have challenged our family to share your good fortune (however big or small) with those who have little.  This year my parents challenged my siblings and our family to help them give away $2k before the year's end.  When we posed it to our kids they came up with the following list of charitable organizations:  Cancer Special Needs Fund, YMCA Youth Sustainability Fund, Little League Scholarships, and Honor Flight.  I was struck by how each of these organizations has a connection to the gift of health and wellness -- either as preventative (YMCA and Little League scholarships), reactive (Cancer Special Needs Fund), or emotional (Honor Flight).  The gift of wellness is a gift that continues to give.  Give to yourself.  Give to others. Become a gift that keeps on giving.