The Lagging Indicator


You don’t need it till you need it.

I first heard the term “lagging indicator” sitting in a Poli Sci lecture hall. Used in economics, a Lagging Indicator is “A measurable economic factor that changes after the economy has already begun to follow a particular pattern or trend.” Most economists will say that a president, party, or congressional term’s economic changes will not have effect on economic health or detriment for up to 16 years after they’re in place.

Your health is a lagging indicator.

Humans are uniquely suited for adaptation. From frozen tundras to scorching deserts, our ancestors have always found a way to survive. Not only can we adapt to harsh conditions, but we can also adapt to sedentary conditions. Could I have a successful career, family, and wealth without ever achieving full range of motion about a joint? Of course I could. Could I navigate my environment with the use of modern technology while being morbidly obese? Absolutely.

But what kind of life do you want?

Yes, you can treat yourself terribly and potentially not immediately see the effects of your actions. Perhaps you’ll be one of the lucky ones to have employer-sponsored healthcare until you reach Medicare eligibility and never see the financial ramifications of ignoring preventative healthcare.

You may be one of the “my uncle smoked and drank everyday and lived ’til his 90’s.” Statistically, you probably won’t.

One thing we know for sure: Life is best lived moving functionally, eating healthfully, and in good company. There’s no rolling the dice on that lagging indicator.

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