by Suzanne Andrews
As the clock ticks on, so does your body's biological clock. Although no one knows what our expiration date is, with these tips you can increase your odds of stopping the three time bombs in your body and allow your time line to be long and strong!
Age Proof Your Heart
As I was educating a 55 year old patient who was 100 pounds overweight and diagnosed with generalized weakness and obesity what she needs to do to have a healthy heart she proudly exclaimed “I’m a go-getter,” and before I could even get out a full sentence she matter of fact stated many excellent heart health points. Yet when push came to shove and it was time to actually do what she knew – well that was a different story all together.
This is why 4109 of us have a heart attack every day. Yep, 1.5 million people have heart attacks every year in the US. Half a million die. But how can that be? Have you seen all the people running, swimming, biking or walking? Twelve hours a day there are countless infomercials selling all the latest gadgets for staying super fit. We should be a nation of supermen/women wearing a huge "S" on our red shirts.
But, alas we are not: for those twelve hours a day we are being sold gadgets that make everything easier including 800 numbers to call for easy help, and websites claiming, “lose 30 pounds in 30 days – fast delivery!.”
We are given the message that losing weight is easy. At this rate somebody will come up with a way where you don't even have to go to the door to pick up what was delivered! Sheesh!
Avoidance tactics are; a sensible diet with low amounts of fats and cholesterol. This may not be easy but it's a lot easier than undergoing surgery, so think about that next time you reach for your 2nd helping.
A daily exercise program that burns the fats and cholesterol will lower your blood pressure. Some people are even able to get off their blood pressure medications when they exercise and lose weight. (You should be under a doctor's care and ask your doctor's advice before going off any medication).
Keeping your stress under control (exercise helps). Exercise actually lowers your stress hormones and is as effective as medication for mild depression. The benefit? Exercise doesn't hurt your liver.
And getting a good night's sleep (exercise helps).
Money saved from having a healthy heart? According to the National Bureau for Economic Research, “the average cost for the first 90 days following a heart attack is $38,501. Medicare spends over $14,000 per patient on hospital bills in the year after a heart attack, plus additional amounts for physicians and outpatient care. Moreover, these amounts are rising at a rate of 4 percent annually. “ That means if your co-pay is 20 percent – your total is 10,500.20!
- Your Lungs
If you smoke cigarettes you might just as well roller-skate behind a city bus every day and get it over with in a hurry. Talk about a time bomb. You are literally lighting the fuse every time you fire one up. I know this may not be politically correct to say that, but I'd rather tell it like it is than see you gasping for air hooked up to tubes waiting to die choking on every breath. If this sounds a little harsh, it's not as harsh as dealing with smoke related diseases.
When you inhale smoke, it smothers and kills the microscopic tissues that make up the tiny air sacs in your lungs. When you sleep, some get repaired, others don't. Years of smoking kills these little sacs faster than they can heal and repair themselves. That's why people who quit can recover and lead longer healthier lives. Also people who exercise have better oxygen saturation. Why? Because stronger muscles require less oxygen. Need another reason to stop smoking? Smoking gives you wrinkles.
Since I've never known anyone who enjoys gasping for air after climbing stairs, or having weak muscles, low bone density, burned clothes and furniture or smelling like an ashtray wherever you go, I can't imagine that this would be anyone's legacy in life. When you do quit, you'll smell how offensive the smoke is and you'll also have a better sense of smell for all the wonderful things in life - fresh flowers or ocean air.
The human body is made to absorb air because the trillions of tiny cells that make up the human body need and use air as much as you need to breathe to stay alive. If you poison the air they breathe, they die. As they die, you become weaker and sick. It's that simple. Every time you put out a cigarette, you've quit. Make this one the last one and then go outside for a breath of fresh air. While air is still free, smoking is not. A pack of day habit costs smokers $12,775 a year in health related illnesses and that’s not including the cost of the cigarettes!
- Joints are for Moving
Here's a surprising statistic, every 8 and a half seconds, someone in the US turns 50. That's right! That translates to 76 million people today and that number is growing. Of that 76 million, 46 million, that's more than half, will suffer from painful joints. It may be you, it may be a friend, or it may be someone you love.
For many years doctors thought that exercising with arthritis would damage your joints. Fortunately, doctors are now aware that therapeutic exercise is vital to reducing and eliminating joint pain.
Therapeutic exercise has been medically proven to relieve and correct joint pain and that's why insurance companies pay for expert treatment to stabilize weakened muscles and improve range of motion. By incorporating regular, targeted therapeutic exercise you can relieve joint pain and ease muscle tension. So what type of therapeutic exercise? Exercises that include flexibility and muscle strengthening provided by a licensed Physical or Occupational Therapy are best. Just as a nurse has specialized training in pharmacology, therapists have years of intense training in therapeutic exercise, physiology and kinesiology, which is the study of human movement.
These are simple rules to live by and a far cry from spending your hard earned money on medical bills. Tick, tick, tick, tick. You are the detonator or the bomb squad to the rescue. You have the power to choose. Choose Functional Fitness and I’ll be with you every step of the way!
Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.