By Dr. Darin Stokke, DC
As a kid growing up I remember visiting my Grandpa and watching him work so hard at everything he did. When I asked him why he worked so hard he told me he worked hard so he could one day retire and enjoy fishing every day for the rest of his life. As the years went by, my Grandpa began to have some health issues and a visible limp began to form as he walked. He rarely complained but he also didn’t take great care of himself. I noticed him struggle more and more to get out of his recliner each time I visited and watched as his breathing would get more labored with even short walks. By the time my Grandpa hit retirement age he could barely bend his knees to squat down and had to fall back into his chair to sit. Unfortunately, his dream of fishing everyday for the rest of his life never materialized. Just months after retiring my Grandpa sold his boat. His emphysema had worsened and his knees degenerated to the point that making even a short walk to his mailbox a difficult journey. My Grandpa lived another 13 years after retirement but I watched as he never really “lived” the remaining years out as he had once dreamed of doing.
Sadly, most of us don’t fully appreciate what we have. We often put off for tomorrow that which we should do today. We assume health and wellness are things we will always have…but then comes age, accidents, falls, injuries, bad posture, unexpected illnesses and bad habits. We never know what tomorrow will bring but we can take a few steps today to make our chances for a quality and healthy tomorrow better.
First, be grateful! Gratitude is healing to our mind, body and spirit. Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people. Not surprisingly, grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health. They exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups with their doctors, which is likely to contribute to further longevity.
Second, move your body often! It’s no secret: Human life has become structured in a way that makes it very easy to avoid movement. We sit in cars on the way to work. At work we sit at our desks for much of the day. Then we come home and sit down to relax. That’s not what our bodies are built for, so creaky knees, stiff backs, and “I can’t keep up with my toddler!” have become the norm. Sure, if you can’t move well, it may be a sign that you aren’t as healthy as you could be. But the quality and quantity of your daily movement — your strength and agility — are actually markers for something much more important…Your Quality of Life!
Third, eat well! Forget all the fad diets that are here today and gone tomorrow. It’s really simple: Eat more unprocessed foods including fruits and vegetables, grass-feed meats, and healthy oils and less white sugar, white bread, white rice, white flour, dairy, and artificial sweeteners and flavorings. Eat during a 5 to 7 hour window each day. And drink plenty of filtered water!
Fourth, embrace healthy relationships. Research shows that being in positive relationships is linked to less production of the stress hormone cortisol. Research also shows that having loving people in your life can improve your survival after heart surgery by three times. Find loving, supportive and positive people to surround yourself with!
Finally, keep your spine and joints aligned and healthy. Like our cars, our body needs regular check-ups to ensure our joints are aligned and moving in optimal ranges of motion. When any joint is misaligned, it creates increased wear and tear. If the wear and tear becomes too great, stem cell therapy may be an excellent option but sometimes, when it gets bad enough, the solutions are joint replacements and walkers.
Be grateful for what you have today and take care of yourself so you increase your chances of having a healthy and high quality of living the life you desire into the future!