What Happens If You Sleep Through A Wake Up Call!

by DavalosMcCormack on July 19, 2010

I am not great about getting out of bed. Once I’m up it’s fine but the actual getting out of bed after the alarm has gone off isn’t easy. However, when it comes to other wake up calls I don’t waste any time. If I start to put on weight, I change what I’m eating until I’m back to my normal size. If my cholesterol is heading in the wrong direction I make adjustments to my diet until it’s back in a safe range. There are some wake up calls you simply don’t want to miss.

Wake up call

Don't miss that wake up call!

Yet a lot of people do just that. A recent study found that one year after suffering a heart attack, or undergoing heart bypass surgery or angioplasty, only around one third of people are still exercising regularly to reduce their risks of having a second attack.

The study was done by researchers at Case Western Reserve University. They followed 248 people who had just had a serious heart issue. All 248 of them took part in a 12 week course to help them make the lifestyle changes they needed to turn their health around. But one year later only 37 percent of the group were still exercising three times a week. And women were more likely than men to have dropped out.

Now, many of these people were seniors and retired so it wasn’t as if they didn’t have enough time to exercise regularly. And they weren’t being asked to do a triathlon or run a marathon. All they had to do was exercise regularly – something as simple as brisk walking, some light weight lifting etc. Yet despite having had one heart attack or heart bypass surgery they still couldn’t find the motivation to make a change that could prevent them having a second one.

The other day I met a man who had a similar wake up call. He’d taken a new test to predict his risk of developing diabetes. It’s a simple blood test but it looks at a number of other factors to make the assessment. It rates your risk on a scale of one to ten – with ten being the highest risk. This gentleman’s score was 8. He immediately signed up for an education class on how to make the changes he needed to make. The class was filled with other people in his shoes and the course instructors said one of the best things everyone could do was to join a gym and exercise regularly.

Three months later the man’s risk is down to a 5 and getting lower all the time. He recently returned to the class and was talking to some of the other participants. He said many of them say they are “considering” joining a gym but haven’t gotten around to it. Considering! What’s to consider. If your life is at risk, and in this case it is, what else do you need to help you make the changes you need.

Too often we get comfortable, even complacent, with our lifestyle even when we know it’s putting us at risk of heart attack or stroke or diabetes or all of them combined. Change isn’t easy, it requires a lot of effort to stop doing what we have always done and start doing what we have always avoided.

But the alternative isn’t much fun. If I hit the snooze button on my early morning wake up call, all I’m at risk of is sleeping late. If I get a test that says my lifestyle is slowly, or not so slowly, killing me and I ignore that wake up call, the consequences can be really unpleasant.

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