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“To insure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.” –William London
Nutrition, Physical Activity and Stress Management: These are the three pillars of good health. Without a strong foundation, health and wellness are difficult to achieve. Popping pills and swallowing supplements are often not the answer. You must decide to make small changes on a daily basis to dramatically improve your quality of life. Recognize the person most responsible for your health is you.
To take responsibility for your own health, you need to be empowered with knowledge. The word “doctor” comes from a Latin word meaning teacher (not prescriber…). I think the primary responsibility of any doctor is to teach their patient how to live a life of wellness aimed at the prevention of disease. While preventing a disease may not be nearly as glamorous as treating a disease (ER, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, House-need I say more?), it is far more important. It was Benjamin Franklin who said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” I could not agree more.
The leading causes of death and disability in the United States (heart disease, cancer, diabetes) have lifestyle related components. To better understand how we are exposed to these conditions, I often refer to the hits concept. There are certain elements of anatomy and physiology that are not controllable. For example, you cannot control hereditary or genetics factors, your age, sex or height. However, there are many aspects strongly influenced by lifestyle. Let’s use lung cancer as a model. If you have a genetic predisposition to developing lung cancer or you have a family history of lung cancer, you now have one hit against you. Perhaps you are a smoker or have smoked in the past; you now have two hits against you. Add to that a poor diet (3 hits), inactivity (4 hits), and poor stress management strategies (5 hits). Rather than dodging one hit, you now dodge 5, and these hits add up. Although you may not be able to exert full control, there are ways to positively impact your health.
Many times people don’t appreciate their health, until they lose it. When they lose it, they often wish they could have a second chance; they would most likely pay more attention to those seemingly meaningless lifestyle decisions. Whether you are healthy or physically struggling, today is the best day to start changing your life. The information provided in this blog will add years to your life and life to your years. Be Inspired to Live Well: One Simple Strategy at a time.