Blog with Joel Brookman

Quality of Life

In our lifetime we get one body. If you abuse the one you have, there are repercussions.
Lung cancer is a horrible disease. It is the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. If you are lucky enough to survive it, you’ve endured a brutal battle. We know that if you are a heavy smoker (two packs a day) there is a 40% chance that you will develop lung cancer. That will dramatically change your quality of life. We can make similar claims about excessive alcohol consumption.

While moderating our exposure to things that will harm the body is important, there are some proactive steps we can take to increase the probability of maintaining a high quality of life:
1. Get an annual physical. There is a reason why many health insurers have financial incentives for you to get an annual physical. If you get sick, it costs them money to get you better. The more severe your illness, the more it costs them. Your interests are aligned. If the problem is detected early, you can often treat it before it gets bigger, or avoid it altogether. Most of us bring our car in for scheduled service but fail to get an annual physical for ourselves. You can buy another car. You only get one body.
2. Get off the couch. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, “people who are physically active for 7 hours a week have a 40 percent lower risk of dying early than those who are active for less than 30 minutes a week.”
3. Be smart about what and how much you put in your mouth. I recently read a study that suggested that at 40 or more pounds overweight, your risk of heart disease or stroke increases considerably. You could be cutting three years off your life. At 100 pounds, you could lose 10 years.
4. Stretch. In my early 40’s, I began to get lower back pain. When I went to a message therapist who also happened to be a physical therapist, specializing in sport rehabilitation, she told me that I was one of the least limber people she had ever treated. She suggested that my tendons were like rubber bands. “If you age without stretching them, once you do push it, they will snap.” She essentially guaranteed me I would be in to see her for physical therapy within a few years if I didn’t do something about it. The next day I began Yoga…dramatic improvement.

With a focus on moderation, sprinkled with discipline and subtle redirection, you can dramatically increase your chance of not only living longer, but experiencing a better quality of life.

Posted by Joel Brookman in health.


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