Wellness Articles

Lifestyle Choices Make All The Difference

Dear Patient and Friend,

There’s a reason why America spends more money on health care than any other country, yet the overall health in the US lags behind dozens of other developed countries.

At present, America ranks 37th in overall health, a surprisingly low position, especially in spite of the massive expenditures pointed toward treating disease – and that may turn out to be what’s wrong with the system, that too much effort is directed toward treating disease, and not enough toward preventing disease, or even better, developing healthy lifestyle habits so the likelihood of disease is greatly reduced.

It would be oversimplified to say that all disease could be stopped by making better lifestyle decisions, but some scientists say that 70% of all heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other life-threatening illnesses could be avoided or reduced if people would simply accept the responsibility to make better lifestyle choices and improve the quality of their health and wellness decision-making.

We’re not talking about extreme changes like running ten miles everyday or eliminating all your favorite foods. Something as simple as drinking more water, taking a walk for a half hour three times a week, or taking some vitamin supplements could produce significant and beneficial shifts in blood chemistry, physical fitness and even attitude.

In fact, many researchers believe that regular exercise, even moderately applied, can be the best of all the stress reducers, with little or no side effects that could accompany chemical stress management through drugs.

Look at your own lifestyle, and consider choosing two or three small habits you could change or adopt – eating fresh wholesome foods in reasonable quantities, sleeping better, simple exercises like stretching, walking or yoga, limiting empty calories like sweets, especially early in the day or right before bed, including massage, or meditation, or being more diligent about keeping your spine and nerve system healthy – many people need only minor changes, while others need more of an overhaul, but one thing is for sure – taking the responsibility to make such decisions and choices will come back to reward you in a greater probability of good health and longer life.

The odds are in your favor, if you’ll choose healthy habits – it’s up to you to make such decisions, so ask us for some advice on how and where to start, and you’ll be glad you did.

Wellness is more than just feeling good

If someone asks you, “are you healthy?” your tendency is probably to reflect on how you are feeling at the time, and if you have no apparent symptoms, you would most likely say yes, I am healthy.

The problem is, many health problems are not symptomatic until they have progressed to a dangerous degree – heart disease, diabetes, and cancer may produce no pain or obvious symptoms for years, while the disease process is advancing.

That’s why it’s so important to choose healthy lifestyle habits – they help you to not only feel better, but to function better. What does that mean?

The word “function” refers to the inner workings of your body – how you utilize the air, food and water you take in, how well you use your sleep time to rest and rejuvenate, how fluidly you move without pain or discomfort, how you handle stress – in other words, how you work.

Anything you can do to improve and streamline the function of your body is good. That’s why regular exercise, good diet and nutrition, practicing stress reduction techniques and keeping your system free of unnecessary interference is so important for your ultimate well-being.

Developing a healthy lifestyle is at the core of this thinking, and chiropractors have been teaching about healthy lifestyle decisions for over 100 years. Ask your doctor of chiropractic what you can do to improve your function, feel better and experience wellness – making that small move can make your life better, starting today!

Exercise Shortcuts

“Get amazing abs in just minutes a day while you rest!”
“Fabulous abs can be yours while you watch TV from your easy chair!”
“Get that 6-pack of ab muscles you’ve always wanted without breaking a sweat!”

The claims are pretty incredible.  Imagine being able to build impressive muscles while you solve the day’s crossword puzzle.  I use muscle stimulation in my practice, and often patients ask if the muscle stimulation that we use is similar to those machines advertised to build muscles without any active effort.  The answer to that question is that muscle stimulation which is used therapeutically is similar to the type that is available from the companies that advertise super abs in minutes a day.  The other answer, of course, is that those machines do not build abdominal muscles while you vegetate on the sofa.  In reality, the amount of muscle stimulation that would actually build the elusive six pack would be unbearably painful.  I had knee surgery in 1989 from a snow skiing accident, and during physical therapy my quadriceps muscle would not contract properly after atrophy from several months in a cast.  My physical therapist had to use a mode of stimulation to teach the muscle to contract again, and let me tell you it was no picnic regenerating the tone in my leg.  The therapy was excruciatingly painful, but it did work.

There is simply no shortcut to muscle tone.  Period.  Get used to it.  You must put in the time and effort to eat properly and get appropriate amounts of exercise in order to tone your body.  There is no magic pill or potion or machine which will do it for you.  Unfortunately we live in a very busy world and people are searching for shortcuts to everything.  Marketing companies will capitalize on the desires for us to take the easy way out, but there is no shortcut to fitness.  If you want great abs, put in the work to get them.  Find a personal trainer who will lay out a program for you to follow or buy a video tape which will outline the proper exercises to build abdominal muscles.  The key is that you must do the work.  No trainer or video or muscle stimulation machine will do for you what must be done. 

The same principles apply to reaching true health.  Without your participation, no one can make you healthy.  The cornerstones of health must all be strong.  You must get the proper amounts of rest, eat a balanced diet that is not full of fat and sugar, get some type of exercise on a regular basis, and make sure that you remove any obstacles to reaching your goals for health and happiness.  You will want to keep your nervous system clear of interference, and make sure you manage the stresses that come your way.  There is a lot you can do to keep yourself healthy, but you must first make a conscious decision to do those things.  Ask for help if you need it.  Form a group of like-minded people to keep you motivated, and set concrete goals that are easy to reach.  Then raise the bar a little bit.

If you happen to be one of the people who bought the ab stimulator machines, don’t just throw it away.  It can be used therapeutically to assist in pain management and muscle spasm relief.  Ask your health care provider how to use it to your benefit.  Your chiropractor or physical therapist should be able to tell you where you can acquire additional electrodes so that you can use them in the future.

Life is very much like a huge smorgasbord.  Anything and everything you could possibly want is out there and is available to you, but if you wait around  for someone to bring it to you, you will be left out.  You have to get up and get it yourself.  Treat yourself well.