Getting Healthy is as Simple as Basic Arithmetic

Getting healthy is as simple as basic arithmetic, even if math was never your subject. Subtract a bad habit from life, and add one that will enrich your life in its place. Try this “minus one, plus one” strategy to incorporate better health practices into your life.

Social Health – Let’s be honest – smart phone apps can be a persuasive addiction. Our use of smartphone apps continues to rise. Facebook takes first place as the most popular app. It had 126 million unique users in 2015 and accounted for 50% of time spent on apps. Teens are heavily affected. One survey of teens showed that more than 50% self-reported addiction to their phones. It’s a worrying trend. The Washington Post suggested a few tips for breaking our addiction to phones. In a nutshell, to lessen the impact of social media, add control. For example, track your phone use. Take away the temptation to react by deactivating push notifications and alerts that constantly draw your attention to your device. Choose the times you won’t and will have access to your phone. Add control of your phone, and get control of your life.

Spiritual Health – Americans waste a lot of hours on screens. In fact, a recent report estimated we spend more than 10 hours a day in front of a screen. While people may talk about last night’s’ episode of The Walking Dead at the water cooler, most people won’t talk about it on their deathbed. Take a few hours of screen time out of your life and add a spiritual practice. It doesn’t matter what faith or practice – as long as it is meaningful to you. Regular spiritual practice improves your quality of life. Researchers found that elders who attended church had significantly lower levels of a chemical associated with increased rates of disease. The researchers posited “that religious commitment may improve stress control by offering better coping mechanisms, richer social support, and the strength of personal values and worldview.”

Physical Health – If we are spending 10 hours in front of a screen, we can spare a few hours for healthy activities. Do you really need to watch a rerun of Three and a Half Men? Use that time instead for a quick cycle around the neighborhood. Just 30 minutes of exercise can improve your quality of life. Fitness Magazine outlines some of the benefits of exercise you feel: instantly, after a week, and after months of practice. As soon as you begin a workout, your body releases endorphins, heads to fat stores for resources, and sends oxygen to your muscles. The day after exercise, your heart is getting healthier and your immune system stronger. After a year of working out, you may add years to your life. You have lowered your heart rate and your risk of cancer, and increased protection of your DNA. This is math that absolutely adds up.

If you think you’ll have trouble committing to regular exercise, find ways to hardwire it into your daily schedule. For example, you might make plans to swim laps three evenings a week with a friend. You’ll have paid for the pool time and you won’t want to flake on your friend so you’ll be much more likely to keep your workout commitment. Maintaining your physical health is essential so do what you can to devote plenty of time to it each week, even if you have to trick yourself into doing it!

Gut Health – According to authors of “Let Them Eat Dirt”, our bodies were full of good microbes a century ago. When virulent disease outbreaks attacked, we responded with anti-bacterial products and procedures. While we were successful at beating back nasty diseases, we went too far and also destroyed many of our good microbes. Our society has become too good at protecting ourselves from pathogens. The resulting absence of good bacteria has given us weaker immune systems; and contributes to diseases like asthma, diabetes, and obesity. The authors’ advice? Get rid of the hand sanitizer. It doesn’t work against the bad stuff, and it kills the good stuff. Instead, get a dog. “Only if they can…but dogs are a great…vehicle of microbes. They go outside and they bring that outdoors into your home in the form of dirty paws and all of that and that’s good. It fact that decreases the chances of children developing allergies or asthma.”

Taking away habits in life can seem difficult. But, if you do the math, it’s better to add years to your life and life to your years, isn’t it? Replace your bad habits with real, life changing practices and you’ll see lasting, life improving results.  If you need help with getting health, click here to schedule a FREE consultation to see how Intecore Physical Therapy can help!

Author: Paige Johnson (paige_johnson@learnfit.org)

 

Andrew Vertson

Andrew Vertson

Andrew received his Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science from California State University, Fresno in 1991. He then earned his Master’s degree of Physical Therapy in 1996 and his Doctorate degree of Physical Therapy in 2002 from Loma Linda University. In 1996 he also earned his Certification as an Athletic Trainer. He has also completed extensive post-graduate course work in orthopedic manual therapy through Kaiser-West Los Angeles and the Ola Grimsby Institute.
Andrew Vertson

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