Cars and people are a lot alike. We both consist of countless parts working in unison, depend on fuel to keep going, and are more affected by our mileage and makeup than we are by time. It’s not surprising then that a lot of elements of car health and human health overlap. How we treat our cars in many ways dictates our experience driving them, and the same holds true for how we treat ourselves and how that affects our day-to-day lives.
Take, for example, the unprecedented General Motors recalls of the last year. Company cost-cutting and laziness was how it started. The performance of vehicles, and tragically the fate of occupants, was a direct result of the poor choices made in the manufacturing of GM vehicles. To save time and pennies, weak untested metals were used in components typically made out of superior materials. No consideration was given to how these decisions would impact the longevity of these products, not to mention their safety.
The same is true when it comes to the decisions we make regarding what goes into our bodies. Too often we don’t take the time to think about future well-being and how today’s choices have a tremendous impact on it. Decades of high sugar consumption and other nutritional imbalances can and do contribute to a whole host of medical issues later in life. The quick fixes of today often translate into problems requiring costly solutions down the road.
Sound familiar? You’ve probably used similar language recently when discussing the former business practices of General Motors. Not nearly enough consideration was taken regarding the far-reaching impacts of their design plans when lives were at stake. The negligence came back to haunt the company in a series of traffic deaths linked to abhorrent policies and embarrassing protocol.
A life hangs in the balance when it comes to similar decisions regarding personal health, and that life is your own. The wear and tear of decades spent on Earth is going to take its toll on everyone – no one is immune to the fates of old age just like no vehicle is going to look cherry after half a million miles on the road. But the little choices we make add up to months and years worth of time we’ll either keep or lose on our feet or on the road.
Maybe you’re thinking there’s little you can do; if the factory made a car bad, similar to how genetics made me who I am, what can I really do to change the situation? It’s not like you can trade in your body for new one like you can a car.
But there are things you can do.
Similarly to studying the history and consumer reviews of your particular make and model of car, take the time to get familiar with your family health history. When you better understand your own set of strengths and weaknesses it allows you to proactively engage the likely problems of the future. If research shows your car has a tendency to get a loose timing chain around 100k miles, make sure to have it tightened. If the men in your family have a history of heart trouble in their 50s, be better aware of your cholesterol and sodium levels at that age.
The recent vehicle recalls probably have you pointing fingers at companies where lack of forethought ultimately, and tragically, cost people their lives. But also take the recalls as a lesson for your own health habits. Learn to appreciate how the choices of what goes into you today are sure to influence the way in which you perform in the future.