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Why Most Need A Lifestyle Intervention...

Image8Live Longer!

By Dr. Rob

When it comes to health and wellness there are three major components that must be followed by everyone.  Having a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and having a good mental outlook all play equally important parts in your overall health.  Research has shown that lifestyle choices are the biggest determination of both the quality and quantity of a person’s life.  Living a healthy lifestyle is the only solution for wellness and prevention.  Heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, prostate cancer and breast cancer are the five most expensive chronic illnesses.  Addressing these concerns from a lifestyle standpoint could save millions of lives and trillions of dollars.  There is strong evidence that this approach works and saves money.  The problem comes in when insurance does not pay for this type of care.  No one profits from lifestyle intervention.

Adding a 30 Minute Brisk Walk Can Work Wonders

Exercise is a genetic requirement for humans to express health and prevent illness.  Chronic illness is associated with sedentary living and is not the result of bad genes.  A sedentary lifestyle changes how our genes express themselves, which in turn leads to illness.  A study done by Booth et al. in 2002 showed that by adding a 30 minute brisk walk to your daily routine can bring about significant changes in your health.  With simply doing this, these were all the benefits that patients saw:

  • Prevent up to 91% of cases of obesity and Type 2 diabetes
  • Prevent up to 50% of all cases of heart disease
  • Reduce risk of stroke by 25-30%
  • Prevent up to 50% of stroke deaths
  • Reduce congestive heart failure deaths by 63%
  • Reduce hospital readmission for heart failure patients by 70%
  • Normalize blood pressure and reduce risk of developing high blood pressure
  • Restore or maintain heart and blood vessel health
  • Restore and maintain normal cholesterol triglyceride levels
  • Reduce risk of breast cancer by up to 60%
  • Reduce pancreatic cancer in overweight people by 50%
  • Reduce lung cancer, even in smokers, by 72%
  • Reduce melanoma by 72%
  • Prevent up to 50% of colon cancer

And the list goes on and on.  All of these effects were seen with simply adding a 30 minute walk to their daily routine and if we do more exercise (including strength and flexibility training) we will see better results.  The big thing to see with this is that exercise does not treat the illness; it instead improves the health and function of the person with the illness.

“Anti” is a Good Thing When It Comes to Inflammatory Foods

When it comes to the source of our calories, this is how our modern diet looks:

  • 10% dairy products
  • 1-2% alcohol
  • 20% refined grains/pasta/bread/cereal
  • 20% refined sugars
  • 20% refined seed oils
  • 15-20% obese meat
  • <10% vegetables and fruit

This diet is pro-inflammatory and is what most of us are eating every day.  With a pro-inflammatory diet we put our bodies in a state of low grade chronic low grade inflammation, which is a major contributor to lifestyle related illnesses.  Our bodies are excellent at accommodating to stress but they can only do so for so long.  After an extended period of time our bodies simply cannot deal with the excess stress anymore and this is when symptoms show up and disease processes are already present.

A Paleo Diet

A Paleo Diet on the other hand has been shown to be anti-inflammatory in nature and improves our insulin sensitivity, lowers our C-reactive protein (a blood marker of inflammation) and lowers blood pressure.  Our diets should consist of:

  • Fish, lean meat, skinless chicken, omega 3 eggs
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Sweet Potatoes and other tubers
  • Raw nuts
  • Ginger, turmeric, garlic and other spices
  • Dark Chocolate (75% or more cocoa)
  • Red wine and stout beer

 

Image16Wake Up and Drink More Water!

A big piece in the diet section that many people overlook is water intake.  Our bodies are primarily composed of water and it is a necessary component for life to exist on our planet.  That being said it is often hard to comprehend why it is so difficult to get patients to drink more water.  We should be having on average half our body weight in ounces of water a day.  When most people hear this it sounds like an unattainable goal, but if you break it up throughout the day and drink water as your primary beverage it should not be a problem. Many people would be amazed to see how much their overall health can improve in multiple different areas by simply getting the water they need.

Make Sure to Take a Mental Break

The mental and emotional aspect of health is another often overlooked component but is just as important as the above two.  Many people do not realize that the psychological stresses that we are subjected to every day can cause a number of health conditions.  We stress about our jobs, our families, money, not having enough time throughout the day to do what we want, our anger, our grief, our fears…all of these take a significant toll on us.  We know that it can have an effect on our energy levels, but it will start leading to tissue dysfunction.  There are numerous ways for us to destress and the important thing is finding what works for you and doing it on a regular basis.  Meditation has been shown to be extremely beneficial in this area.

We have programs in the office that can help you with all of these aspects of fitness, nutrition and mindfulness. Let us know if you interested.

–          Dr. Rob

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