Health is obviously a very important life issue. Unfortunately, the health of the general population is deteriorating. A large and growing percentage of people are obese. The vast majority of people over 70 have at least one chronic disease (like hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and/or cancer) and most are on at least 4 prescription drugs daily.
Looking at specific diseases, the incidence of cancer continues to increase, heart disease kills millions of people every year, and Diabetes is becoming an epidemic.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
The problem stems from much of the misinformation we have been given over the past few decades. Nutritional information is a great example. For the past several decades, it was considered a fact that high cholesterol causes cardiovascular disease and so HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS of dollars worth of cholesterol-lowering drugs have been consumed by millions of people. Now, however, it is starting to be realized that cholesterol might not be the issue, but rather inflammation may be the cause.
Regarding obesity – another global epidemic – the message from most experts over the past twenty years has been to eat a low-fat diet and consume less calories than you expend. Sounds reasonable, right? Well, it is now being shown that these weight-loss and health strategies may be actually contributing to the obesity problem rather than trying to solve it. Obviously, the weight-loss industry knows it is a never-ending problem, which is why it is a multiple-billion-dollar industry, with very poor results.
Then there is cancer – another illness that continues to increase in frequency globally, despite all the medical and scientific advances over the past several decades. While many of the common cancer culprits are still valid (like smoking), it is now being shown that much of our typical “western diet” is full of cancer-promoting substances (even the supposedly healthier foods).
So, what do we do about this?
In my opinion, there are 3 steps to changing this pattern:
- Be Happy: Studies show that happier people live longer and have less disease and illness.
- Eat right: Learn about the latest (correct) nutritional information that helps prevent cancer, reduce the chances of heart disease, and combat the rise in obesity and Diabetes.
- Exercise: This not only improves physical health, but also has a positive effect on mental health (which takes us back to #1).
I realize this seems fairly basic, but it's not as "easy" as you might think.
Take exercise, for example. Let’s say you exercise 4-5 times a week for 45-60 minutes each time. Let’s also say you work at a “desk job” 40 hours per week – spending the better part of 8 hours per day sitting in a chair. It would be reasonable to think that your exercise program would provide you the necessary activity you require for optimum health. Unfortunately, the latest information indicates that may not be the case. The negative effects of sitting most of the day may far outweigh the positive effects of regular exercise – even rigorous, regular exercise. So what do you do? Again, it is not easy – especially if you work somewhere that doesn’t provide as much flexibility as you may need to stay healthy.
In this example, though, at the very least, you should get up and walk around several times every hour. But, this isn’t really enough since studies show that you must walk at least 10,000 steps (about 4 miles) a day for optimum health. Another thing you could do, then, which would be better, is to take at least a 4-mile walk every day (you could break it up into two 2-mile walks, one in the morning and one in the evening). The best solution, however, would be to get a “treadmill desk”, which allows you to walk while you work. Obviously, it’s not for everyone since, first, your employer may not allow it. But if they would (and they would if they were smart), or if you work for yourself, this would be the best thing to do. Not only does it keep you active throughout the day and able to walk at least 10,000 steps a day, it will also help you maintain a lean, ideal body weight.
BeHappy! my friends