The dreaded eight letter word. Exercise is essential to living healthier and preventing disease in all of our lives. We need to start moving more to be healthier. You hear is a muscle, and just like your abdominals, if you don’t work it out, you know that deterioration is just around the corner. Anyone who has worked out hard before, only to “take some time off” knows just how hard it is to stay the course at the gym or in the park, but they also know how fast things can revert back to the way they were before working out.
Oxygen is essential, we all know that, but do you realize how essential it is for proper heart function, and for the heart tissues themselves? How about those aching knees or ankles? Joints need motion. It doesn’t have to be squatting with 500lbs on the bar, it just means that the joints need simple weight bearing motion in order to remain functional and at their best.
So how do we incorporate it into our lives. Get our and go for a walk. If you like to run, run; if you like to bike, then bike. 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise, 5 days a week will not only do wonders for the waist line, but more importantly, it will do wonders for that big pumping muscle inside your chest (the one that keeps all of us going). Exercise can get monotonous, I know, so change your routine often, keep your body guessing, and try working out with a partner. Having someone to walk/run/bike with helps to keep both of you accountable, and makes it a lot easier to go out and Just Do It! (There’s my Nike plug for the year.)
2. Healthy Eating
Now for the dreaded four letter word. When I am talking about diet, I’m not talking about the Atkins Diet, or the South Beach, or The Abs Diet. I am simply talking about eating healthier. This is about making changes to your regular everyday eating habits that will not only benefit your health in the short term, but more importantly, it will impact your health in the long term.
Simply put, you are what you eat. We all need to increase the fruits and vegetables in our everyday lives. While increasing those, we need to decrease the sugars, the salts, the caffeine, alcohol and tobacco. Just cutting pop (or soda for you folks not from Ohio), you will see an immediate impact on your overall well-being, not to mention your waist line.
Increasing organic foods doesn’t mean eating tofu or becoming a vegetarian. It means that when you go to the grocery store next time, shop the periphery of the store and avoid the aisles. By doing this, you will be increasing your intake of the healthy foods and decreasing the desire to indulge in all the fats, preservatives, and unnatural food products. The next time you’re cruising down the road, don’t turn into McDonald’s or Burger King. If you really have to eat on the go, hit up a Subway or try and find a healthier alternative.
And finally, throw away the scale. If you change the way you eat, your body will change for the better on the inside AND the outside. Try to avoid dieting, because honestly, DIET = DIE + T, and there really isn’t anything good in there. Your body needs food and nutrients, but only you have the ability to determine which and what is going into yours. Is it going to be the right choice or the wrong? It’s your decision; it’s your health….
Our bodies need rest. Sleep is the time when all of our bodies are recovering and revitalizing. So go to bed a bit earlier. It’s not going to do anything but help you because there is no such thing as catch-up sleep. So those of you out there that think pulling an all-nighter tonight can be made up for tomorrow are sadly mistaken. Our bodies need 6-8 hours of sleep per night, every night, not just when we can. With improved rest, our thinking becomes clearer, healing times improve and over-all well-being is increased.
So what are some ways to get ample rest? Try meditation or relaxation techniques. Take mini-trips every 4-8 weeks, or simply try to get away for a couple of hours. For me, I take my motorcycle out to the lake and just sit for an hour or two, letting my mind clear itself out of all the garbage and start thinking about the positives in life. It’s going to be different for everyone, so just try and find your niche to let your body and mind rest.
4. Positive Thinking
Attitude is everything! Seems like a simple statement, yet it is so powerful. Positive thinking has a physiological response on all of our bodies. If we think negatively, our bodies respond negatively (poor health or disease), but if we think positive, our bodies respond positively.
The first step is knowing and believing that we, as individuals, are programmed for health. We all need to believe in life and vitality. In my office, we always talk about the three T’s and how they impact health: Thoughts, Traumas and Toxins. Traumas and toxins are pretty self-explanatory, but Thoughts need to be broken down a bit more. Thoughts include stresses, whether it be family, financial, love, or work related. These stresses impact our health directly, and those stresses go to the weak areas of our body causing dis-harmony in our ability to react physically and emotionally. Reduce the stresses and you will see health improve exponentially.
5. Optimal Nervous System
Your nervous system is the first system formed in development. It gives function to every cell, tissue, gland and organ in your body. Without a properly functioning nervous system, we will cease to exist normally and without health issues (think about Christopher Reeves). When we talk about the nervous system, most people tend to zone out because the conversations tend to include big fancy textbook words. I am going to break it down into a simpler conversation though.
Most people when asked think that their heart is the most important organ in the body. What most don’t realize though is that the heart is an electrical system, controlled by the nervous system. Your brain and spinal cord are the central processing unit of the body. All thoughts and functions begin here as signals and then travel out into the body whether it be moving an arm or controlling digestion. Signals then return to the brain via the nerves in order to show that the function was completed correctly and fully. So what happens if that signal doesn’t get to its destination or doesn’t reach its way back to the brain? Disease, sickness, or dis-harmony results. When there is interference in the systems, dysfunction is the end result. Still not getting it totally? Here is a great analogy: You are standing out in the year watering your flowers with the hose. The water is flying out of the nozzle at full speed without any problems. Then I come up behind you and start putting a kink into the hose’s line. What happens? The water that is coming out begins to slow, and slow till eventually there is just a trickle or there isn’t anything at all. The flow of water is being interfered with at a particular point. Makes more sense now doesn’t it? So how does Chiropractic tie in? As a Chiropractic Physician, my job is to evaluate and identify those “kinks” in the systems pathways (chiropractic jargon: subluxations) and eliminate them so as to remove the interference (chiropractic jargon: manipulation or adjustment).
The healthiest people and families are always going to be the ones that are free of nervous system interference.
6. Change your Beliefs
In order to make the changes necessary to prevent disease and maximize health, you need to know that you can change. Actions are one thing, but to make a change for the better, our minds need to be on the same page and the right path. Be your own leader and take your health and your life into your own hands. Only we, as individuals, can make the necessary changes to our lifestyle and to our ways of approaching health.
So now that we’ve talked about the six main keys to preventing disease (and maximizing health), let’s put it all into a simple conclusion. What can you do to make healthy living easier? You can:
- Ask questions/read
- Write out goals for your self
- Start simple and be realistic
- Add good choices before taking away the bad ones
- Add regular exercise, preferably cardio, into your lifestyle at least 3x/week
- Add supplementation to your daily diet to achieve proper nutrition
- Buy some positive thinking CD’s for in the car while driving to work
- Plan a simple getaway
- Stay regular with chiropractic care and remain un-interfered with
Tips to Live Healthier
If we look around us at some of the healthiest older people in society, you can see some commonalties among them all. They are conscious of their prescription drug use, they maintain strong social relationships, practice good stress management, have a purpose and passion for life, welcome the challenge of learning, follow a healthy diets, exercise routinely, are spiritually active, gracefully adapt to change with optimism and regularly receive chiropractic care. They can do it…why can’t we? Better questions would be, why wouldn’t we do it?
You can sit, you can wait, and you can wonder…or you can get to work and CHOOSE to be healthier!
“Hidden away in the inner nature of the real man is the law of his life, and someday he will discover it and consciously make use of it. He will heal himself, make himself happy and prosperous, and live in an entirely different world. For he will have discovered that life is from within and not from without.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Dr. Raymond runs a family Chiropractic practice in Austintown, Ohio. Consultations are offered at no charge to determine your specific health needs. To schedule an appointment, have questions answered, or to have a free health information packet sent to you, call 330-799-4400 today.