Key 1: Exercise
The benefits of exercise are readily apparent to anyone who has been able to fit this life saving, maintaining and prolonging activity into an impossibly packed schedule.
To the sedentary who are hearing the call to exercise, whether from their healthcare professionals,significant others, families, friends, the media, their symptoms, themselves, as Tony Ferguson has said many times, “There are 24 hours in a day. Certainly you can take one hour for yourself and exercise.”
The major benefits include weight management, reduction and elimination of degenerative disease symptoms, improvement of functionality of all body systems, stress reduction (which is married to mood), better sleep patterns.
Key 2: Nutrition
One thing most of us are never taught as children, or ever for that matter, is that a direct relationship exists between what you eat and how you feel and look. This relationship grows and intensifies as you age.
We are talking about more than ‘over-eating causes excess weight in most cases’, that much is obvious. The focus here is that choices of food, manner of food preparation, even combinations of food and when they are eaten have significance. This can be as simple or as complex as your level of interest.
Your healthcare professionals can guide your nutritional choices; you can do your own research(always worthwhile); the point here is – use any resources available to you.
Key 3: Stress Management
Everyone has their own bio-individual characteristics and everyone handles stress differently. What can be said is that stress doesn’t normally affect one arm or just a liver, instead, stress is a whole body experience.
All body systems are negatively impacted by stress and most of us have a lot of it. How to reduce stress: Exercise (consult your health professional if you have or may have any degenerative disease conditions or symptoms) is the stress management technique of first choice, having significant health benefits as well as producing feel-good hormones.
Yoga, Meditation, Breathing Exercises are easy, non-invasive and productive. Structuring time for relaxing activities alone or with positive friends, relatives, whoever will break the mad cycle of our workaholic modern life.
Key 4: Sleep
I read an Internet article recently about how, in an 8 hour sleep cycle, hours 6 through 8 were when the most fat is burned. This is discouraging to me; I rarely sleep more than 6 hours. Fat burning aside, a lot of reparative activity takes place while we sleep.
If you have difficulty sleeping through the night or have poor quality of sleep, a proactive approach to remedy this is appropriate. Mental acuity and productivity are enhanced by sufficient sleep, not to mention mood.
Eating alot late at night requires digestive processes to engage during the time when the body is supposed to be repairing itself. It’s not rocket science: digestion comes first in the hierarchy of tasks your body performs automatically; repair comes second or hardly at all if your metabolic enzymes are called in to assist with digestion.
Key 5: Education
Never before in the history of our civilization have we been able to access so much information, any time, anywhere, just by a click on the Internet.
Of course, you can’t believe everything you read, but there are so many credible resources. One example, on the ADA (American Diabetes Association), there is the “PHD”, Personal Health Decisions feature, where you can input information about yourself and they email you a risk profile, how likely are you to suffer from a heart attack or stroke, based on the information you provide to them. Stay tuned for our “Page of Pertinent Links” we are putting together.
The point here is, any health issues you may experience, while working with your health care team, give you an excuse to research and become proactive in your choices and treatments. If you’re not Internet savvy, find a teenager, almost anyone will do, and try not to be annoyed by their maddeningly flying fingers on the keyboard.
Key 6: Positive Relationships
When possible, remove yourself or lessen your involvement from relationships that are binding, negative or painful.
These stress generators are hazardous to your health! Obviously this is not always possible; as always, exercise definitely can help (try boxing with a personal trainer for a truly cathartic experience).
In a painful relationship with a significant other, especially because of the time invested, resolving problems can be very satisfying. For example, Imago therapy may help recreate the feelings you had when you fell in love. At any rate, the goal is to have satisfying relationships and reduce the drama quotient.
Key 7: Spiritual Health
This is a truly individual aspect of health.
Exploring Spirituality means a connection to the “higher you”. All religions, spiritual paths, meditation practices and inner pathways are an attempt by mankind to acknowledge the beautiful part of the “self” that is beyond words.
Without an understanding of this magical dimension of life, we can feel empty and unfulfilled after the party’s over and the toys are put away. Understanding this dimension of life not only gives answers, but it gives us a solid grounding to our own inner source of wisdom, strength and clarity: a gift that no one can take away from us.
Whatever your path is, embrace it with all your heart. It will give back to you in all aspects of life, including health and wellness.
Key 8: Detoxification
Living a 21st-century life, we are unaware that we take in a steady series of poisons every day.Our toxic environment The air we breathe is laden with automotive and industrial pollution. The food we eat is full of chemicals: preservatives, color and taste enhancers, pesticides, herbicides – to name but a few. Our food also passes on to us substances with potential negative impact such as BGH (Bovine Growth Hormone and antibiotics. We also take in toxic substances every time we take either recreational or pharmaceutical drugs – and remember, folks, coffee is a drug! (Don’t believe me? Here’s a list of 130 known chemicals in good old coffee!)
Well, what happens to these funky little molecules over the years and years that we eat and breathe? Many get stored in body tissues, especially organs like liver and kidneys, which are part of the body’s natural filtration system. Over time they contribute to inflammation, fatigue, chronic disease and premature aging. Inflammation is the breeding ground for chronic health problems.
There are many ways to detox; some of the more common are fasting, cleansing diets, cleanses using herbs and supplements – even sweating, saunas & vigorous cardio exercise can help move toxins out to a minor degree.
Our dietary and lifestyle patterns are deeply ingrained in us, from birth onward. Many of us never question or attempt to challenge these patterns. Often when we do, we run into both internal resistance – perhaps our lack of willpower, or fear of change – and also external resistance: when friends and family do not understand or support our reasons for taking charge of our own health. The latter makes no sense – why wouldn’t people who love you want you to be your healthiest and look your best?
If you’re undertaking fasting, or detox through dietary changes or supplements, it’s best to do your homework first: the internet, libraries & health food stores have many publications that can get you started. When making changes to your diet, we recommend consulting with a health-care professional trained in diet and detox application, such as naturopathic physicians.
Key 9: Decrease Low-Grade Inflammation and Improve Health
Reducing Inflammation as an Anti-Aging Therapy
Aging, as now understood in the scientific community, represents a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors that manifest in both structural and metabolic changes. It is in this latter realm that the modifiable components of the aging process exist. This is in contrast to the more difficult to influence component based in the DNA (the blueprint of the cell).
To the extent that inflammation is affected by a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors, it may be considered partially modifiable. Aging itself can be thought of as the progressive accumulation of cellular and tissue damage. This accrual of damage results from a variety of physiologic stressors including radiation, free radicals, heavy metals and other toxins.
Inflammation is fuel to the fire. It accelerates the process of aging through a number of metabolic and mechanical means. Therefore, methods that reduce inflammation will tend to blunt the rate at which cellular aging occurs. Into this category fall antioxidant vitamins (eg. Vitamin C and E) along with antioxidant trace minerals such as selenium.
Also included would be the nutrients lipoic acid and N-acetyl cysteine. Some of the most powerful anti-aging compounds known as bioflavonoids and polyphenols are both anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory.
Once we understand that inflammation is a major contributor to aging, it follows that reduction of inflammation represents an important anti-aging modality.
KEY 9 contributed by: GRAY M. FENTON DO PA, Sunrise, Florida 2008
8320 W. Sunrise Blvd. Suite 208, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33322 954-838-7200
After doing detox programs to “clean out” your body, you’ll often find renewed energy, better sleeping patterns, an easing of chronic inflammatory symptoms, enhanced digestion and circulation, and elevated moods and physical endurance. Cleansing and detox is a good way to introduce permanent changes in diet as well; to turn over a new leaf, as they say!
It’s an exciting way to learn, because it really is YOUR HEALTH and it really is YOUR BODY. This will empower you to take control and to learn more about what your true medicines are as well as your true poisons. Obtaining optimal health is a life-long learning experience — and one that’s fun and rewarding along the way.
WELLNESS—Steps to Optimal Health co-authored by
Gary Bandzmer and Stephanie Shorr, November 2008
FOOD FOR THOUGHT… One consideration for cleaner and healthier future living is to avoid artificial sweeteners (aspartate and its variations) and flavor enhancers such as MSG, hydrolyzed vegetable protein(containing glutamate, aspartate and cysteic scid). Research has demonstrated we may experience neurotoxic and carcinogenic danger from these substances . In “Excitotoxins,” Russell L. Blalock, M.D. writes about Dr. John Olney, a neuroscientist in the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University, St. Louis, whose research showed these ingredients overstimulate cells and cause cell death in the eye and brain where there is no blood/brain barrier.