By Michael J. Kellis, DO, FAOASM, Precision Orthopaedic Specialties, Inc.
I have been in medical practice for over 31 years and one of the most common, yet most difficult questions that I frequently attempt to answer is, “What can I do to live a longer, healthier life?”
Because everyone is so inherently different, this becomes a very complicated question to answer. There are fortunately some things that apply to most of us, despite these differences.
The first and probably most important thing that one can do is to manage stress levels. Many physicians, myself included, believe that stress causes, worsens, or increases the risk of many diseases. These include; obesity, heart disease, GI disorders, diabetes and new studies include Alzheimer’s disease, just to name a few.
Even Christ realized the significance of stress stating in Philippians that we should not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, bring our requests to God. People that pray regularly experience less stress, less hypertension and a greater sense of well-being.
Diet and exercise are most certainly as important as managing our stress. What we consume has long-lasting effects on our bodies. Whenever possible, eat fewer processed meats and refined carbohydrates. These include bread, pasta, donuts, desserts and potato chips (chips are definitely my Achilles heel). Avoid chemicals such as diacetyl (found in microwave popcorn), and MSG. These can alter your immunity and have been linked to cancer. MSG can be disguised as hydrolyzed vegetable protein, sodium caseinate, yeast extract and hydrolyzed oat flour to make it sound healthier and more appealing to the consumer.
Add five vegetables each day and include nuts, seaweed, salmon and fruit. Green tea and coffee can be consumed in moderation. Two cups of coffee a day supplies antioxidants and has been shown to actually improve the course of certain diseases.
Exercise is considered by many to be a bad word! It should never make you anxious and should bring a smile to your face knowing that it is one of the most beneficial things that we can do to improve our longevity! Any activity that gets you out of your seat, and moving is considered exercise! No fancy equipment, gym memberships or personal trainers are needed. Put on a nice pair of athletic shoes and walk to the mailbox and back! Wow, that was easy! Slowly increase your distance and enjoy the walk!
Other exercises include sitting in a chair and simply punching as if you are hitting a heavy bag. Do that for five minutes and again, increase your time slowly. Studies show that even fifteen minutes a day of easy exercise can improve the quality of your life and add years to it.
By taking these few simple steps, we can make our lives so much better. We must remember that our time on this earth is very limited, and we must do things that can prolong our lives. Take advantage of every blessing of each day and don’t worry about tomorrow. Live life to the fullest!
Always remember what the Lord said in John 16:33, “In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart, I have overcome the world.”