Recently, while picking up my mail at the Dalton Post Office, I ran into Norm Brauer, town historian, author, friend and reader of my column. He said, “Hey Doc, I’ve been reading your column and want to know if you have any advise for old age?” I told him that he could probably give me advice about the merits of a healthy lifestyle and aging with dignity. Those who know Norm are well aware of his active lifestyle. Although he is well past the age most people retire, he keeps his body fit by walking several blocks to his office from his home every day. Furthermore, he benefits from life in a small town by walking to the town bank, post office, pharmacy, library, grocery store and deli. He keeps his mind active by reading, researching and writing articles and books on local history. He keeps his spirit healthy by sharing conversation with people who have known and respected him all his life.
However, Norm’s question is a good one. It raises many current issues. Is there a secret to a long and healthy life? Do genes control our destiny? How does lifestyle impact our health? According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), while genes play and important role, lifestyle plays the biggest role on how healthy you are and how long you live. The food you eat, what you drink, if you smoke, how active you are and how you handle stress are critical factors that determine your longevity. The NIH research has found that smoking, physical inactivity, and poor eating habits are the leading causes of death, in that order.
Physical activity is one of the most important factors in improving a lifestyle in a positive way. A minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity, 5 days per week can greatly contribute to longevity.
Researchers have found that the benefits of regular physical activity are numerous. Some of the more important benefits are:
Some simple suggestions for beginning an exercise program are:
Visit your doctor regularly and listen to your body. Keep moving, eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and live long and well!
NEXT MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!”
This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an affiliated faculty member at the University of Scranton, PT Dept.