How to be healthier than you are RIGHT NOW?

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How healthy ARE you right now?

The factors that will improve your health are numerous. However, each individual on this planet has different genetics, lifestyles, attitudes and habits – this makes the ‘one size fits all’ approach inapplicable. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses in different combinations. And finding out what works best for you is a process more than a prescription. It is a process of objective analysis and systematic self-experimentation. And though that may sound complicated and dreary, it is practically quite simple and incredibly rewarding. Just think – would you like to know how best to achieve your best levels of energy, efficiency, vitality and overall satisfaction with your body?
On the journey to health, we do need some kind of roadmap. And, of course, we need some way to know when we have reached our destination. Let’s start with the latter.
We can gain clues of our future health from that of our parents and grandparents – their genes are our genes, and genes give us susceptibility to certain diseases e.g. high cholesterol, cancer, etc. That is not to say that we WILL suffer from the same conditions – how you look after your health and your environment have a more significant role on your overall health than (most) inherited factors.
Next, it is a good idea to gain some clue as to your current level of health – this is done best through testing certain markers of health. These markers are commonly used to assess your level of risk regarding certain conditions – they are used as risk factors.
Some important markers of health (and a few other risk factors) are:
Normal range
Optimal value
Heart rate
lower normal range
Breathing rate
lower normal range
Body temperature
Blood pressure
Glucose (fasting)
lower normal range
lower normal range
Drinking alcohol
1 unit (maybe)
Younger (sorry)
Varies per condition
Don’t worry if you don’t know what a lot of these are – your Doctor does (at least he should). Some of these are tested in the office and some require blood tests. They should be measured on at least an annual basis (more often if the values are abnormal).
And, of course, we must take into account those factors that are less easily quantified but actually are the most important factors in our day-to-day lives: how we feel. No number on a piece of paper means much if we don’t FEEL good. When we are healthy, we should feel energetic, vivacious, positive, optimistic, engaged in life and generally happy. That doesn’t mean we should feel all of these all the time – it is natural to sometimes feel tired, sad, quiet and in need of some ‘alone time’. A life with little struggle is a life with little depth. But it should be our goal to spend more time feeling good than feeling bad (about life, ourselves, or our health).
Putting all of these factors into one single image is very, very difficult – but it is important to have a snapshot of our health so that we can measure any improvements that take place. Only once we know where we are and where we’re going can we plan a route to get there.
Health can be complicated, but we do have some general answers. The funny thing is that most of the best recommendations regarding the improvement of health are surprisingly well known. A recently published research study looked at all the factors that will improve health and extend life. Millions of dollars and thousands of hours spent on it. The result? The top four factors:
  1. Eat better
  2. Exercise
  3. Don’t smoke
  4. Drink alcohol minimally
That’s it. The basis of a healthy life. It’s stuff your parents taught you (I hope). Of course it becomes slightly more complicated in the details e.g.
What makes eating ‘better’?
What exercise for how long?
What about second-hand smoke?
But this study is not about giving us all the answers. It is about a place to start – on which to build our health and our lives. Our next post will focus on more of the specifics – the meat & potatoes (a dirty word these days) of being healthier.
Thank you for reading. For more lifestyle advice on how to achieve optimal health, visit The Chiropractic Health Centre for a check up. Chat to one of our friendly receptionists to make a booking or follow the link to learn more about our services: www.chiropractor.co.za/our-services
Phone: 021 683 2996 (Claremont) or 021 439 8898 (Sea Point)
Email: claremont@chiropractor.co.za
Tune in next week for: How to be healthier than you are RIGHT NOW: Eating Better.

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