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It Has Nothing To Do With Age provides self-help principles. The inspirational stories give concrete illustrations of overcoming many of life's challenges. Difficulties pertaining to depression, grief, divorce, and death are presented and worked through by the participants. Physical impairments, injuries, overcoming issues with weight, alcohol, and nicotine are also dealt with and resolved by the athletes.

This book provides a model on how to overcome some of the difficulties that confront all of us . Further, this read sheds a beacon of light on preventive measures for good physical and mental health. Research demonstrates that exercise is an important component in treating such ailments and debilitating illness such as depression, stroke, heart disease, brain or cognitive malfunction,and Alzheimer's disease.

I suggest that proper exercise can be used as a preventive measure for psychological, cognitive, and physical health as well. Follow my prescription and lead a better, more fulfilling, and healthier life.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Life Expectancy, the Epidemic of Weight Gain ,and Solutions

Today’s blog , the second in the series of three , addresses statistics and some ideas about lifestyle changes.
Now for a few facts from the U.S. Census Bureau, National Center for Health Statistics, Health Insurance  Association of America,  and  New England Journal of Medicine : the average life expectancy for a 40-year-old equals 78.7 years; the average life expectancy for a 65-year-old equals 82.7 years; and percentage of those now age 65 were expected to survive to age 90 equals 25%.  If you are a 30-year-old, and female you have a 74% chance or if male a 92% chance of becoming overweight at some point in life. The risk of becoming obese if you are 30 years old today is 39% for women and 48% of men per Vasan,  Annals of Internal Medicine, October 4, 2005. If obese, life expectancy in the United States can be expected to decline an average of 4-9 months. Author S. Jay Olshansky states “this may sound trivial but is greater than the negative effect of all accidental mortality such as car accidents, suicides, and homicides combined.” On top of that, steep increase in obesity rates are expected over the next 50 years to possibly shorten life as much as 2 to 5 years.(New England Journal of medicine, March 17, 2005).Living longer and being healthy usually means having a healthy lifestyle and avoiding, delaying, or surviving the modern causes of death that shorten life.
 The top six current leading causes of death the United States are the following: heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronicobstructive pulmonary disease, accidents and diabetes.( CDC National Vital Statistics Reports, No. 13, April 19, 2006). Heart disease is the number one killer of death in the United States and risks include the following: smoking, high or bad levels of cholesterol, high blood pressure, inactivity, excess weight, diabetes, metabolic syndrome also known as insulin resistance syndrome and syndrome X., and psychosocial factors such as chronic stress, anxiety, depression, and lack of social support.
What can we do about this terrible epidemic? To begin with a change in thinking is in order.Albert Ellis and Robert Harper in their book” A Guide to Rational Living” state that it is  possible for man to live the most self-fulfilling, creative, and emotionally satisfying life by intelligently organizing and disciplining  thinking . In order to change thinking, the Individual has to challenge irrational thoughts that impair making smart choices and decisions.In other words, if you change your thinking you can change your behavior. Challenge ther defense mechanisms - denial,rationalization, and intelectualization regarding health and lifestyle.
 Then we can proceed to tackle and implement strategies for better health especially heart disease. Let’s begin with our diet and reduce salt intake, eat a variety of fruits and vegetables and whole grains  . Also important is eating very few foods high in saturated fats, trans fatty acids, and cholesterol. Next, if you smoke, quit, moderate drinking (up to two drinks for male and one for women) has proven to be beneficial for heart and cholesterol levels. Then go outside into the fresh air , see the sun, have fun, and laugh every chance you get.
Exercise is a useful tool especially if you’re overweight or obese. Exercise lowers risk across all weight levels. Walking briskly 30-40 minutes per day about five days a week may be the best way to begin. These quick tips are included in “Healthy Years, UCLA Medical School, 2009; American Heart Association.” More about exercise in Part 3 in tomorrow's blog.


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