Learn 10 strategies to help you achieve lifetime wellness and maximize your quality of life. Strategies include exercise, nutrition, breathing techniques, lifetime learning and more…
1. Regular Chiropractic Care
First and foremost, we must ask the question, “Why do people get sick?” We now know that the majority of health problems are caused by stress: physical, chemical and emotional. Examples of physical stress include accidents, falls, inactivity, and sitting for too long. Chemical stressors include smoking, alcohol, processed and preservative filled foods, drugs (including pharmaceuticals) and environmental toxins. It is well accepted that the most prevalent and detrimental type of stress is emotional. Emotional stress can have many sources and is different for everyone, but the most common sources include relationship issues, financial concerns, low self-esteem and social pressures. The good news is that we were born with a nervous system that is capable of adapting to stress, so we don’t get sick every time we have a stressful experience. Because of the stressful world we have created for ourselves, I don’t think it is realistic to completely eliminate negative stress from our lives completely, but a healthy lifestyle that includes practicing the 10 Strategies for Lifetime Wellness will certainly reduce the total amount of negative stress you experience and help to ensure that your nervous system continues to function as designed and manage the negative stressors it encounters. At the same time, regular chiropractic care keeps your nervous system healthy and better able to adapt the negative stressors you can’t control.
2. Drink Lots of Clean Water
Your body is 80% water and without it we could not live more than a few days. Only nerve function and oxygen are more important for life than water. It is crucial for circulating nutrients around the body, internal cellular health, regulating body temperature, and joint lubrication. Daily water requirements can be calculated by dividing your body weight in pounds by two. That number is the number of ounces of water you should consume daily. Add 2 glasses of water per day for each cup of coffee, tea, pop or serving of alcohol you consume. The type of water you consume is also very important. Tap water, despite the regulations that supposedly keep it pure, is filled with harmful toxins including: prescription drugs, rocket fuel, heavy metals, chlorine and fluoride. Currently, the best way to ensure that you are getting pure, healthy water is to use a reverse osmosis filter in your home.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is one of your most precious resources. Just like exercise, the health benefits you receive every night from sleep depend on how long you sleep and the quality of it. Getting enough quality sleep is essential to ensure that your body has enough energy to meet the physical, mental, and emotional demands of life. Sleep deprivation is such a chronic condition that most don’t even realize they are suffering from it. Sleep deficit can have serious and far reaching effects on your health including: a decreased ability to concentrate and focus, a heightened physiologic response to mildly stressful events, a weakened immune system, increased susceptibility for heart disease, cancer and diabetes. The latest research suggests that more or less than 7 hours of sleep per day, including naps, has a harmful effect on your health.
4. Remember to Breathe
Breathing correctly can be as powerful as it is simple. The typical person only uses about 20 percent of their lung capacity, but with practice can tap into their lung’s full potential. Providing the cells of the body with more oxygen can result in significant improvements in general health, mood and energy. It is easy to develop good breathing habits, but it takes practice. Start by focusing your attention on your breathing and bring the number of respiration from a standard of 12 per minute down to as few as 4 per minute. One common technique is called “4-7-8 Breathing” in which you inhale to the count of four, hold the breath to the count of seven, and slowly exhale to the count of eight. Focus on breathing in through your nose instead of your mouth.
Exercise and movement are required nutrients that industrialized societies are deathly deficient in. The human body requires daily movement and exercise in order to function optimally. However, just as with your diet, it’s important to vary your exercise routine in order to achieve the absolute best results. Your muscles simply get used to the same activity and they require a level of muscle confusion in order to continue to improve and grow stronger. When you are planning your exercise routine, make sure to incorporate the following types of exercise: aerobic, interval (anaerobic) training, strength training and core exercises.
6. Eat Fresh, Organic, Whole Foods
Eat whole foods as nature intended - fresh organic vegetables and fruits, grass fed, antibiotic and hormone free beef, free range organic poultry and eggs, wild fish, nuts and seeds. If the food did not exist in pre-industrial times it is probably not healthy to eat. Shop on the perimeter of the supermarket as this is where you will usually find the healthiest foods. Most whole foods will go bad if you keep them too long. A packaged food that has a long shelf life is most likely full of preservatives, food additives and artificial colourings.
7. Develop a Spiritual Practice
Studies show that people with a regular spiritual practice, regardless of religion, are healthier and happier. Regardless of belief, it is important to thank a higher power each and every day for the things in your life that you are grateful for. Gratitude is a very powerful human emotion and spending time each day being grateful is an important key to happiness.
8. Positive Mental Attitude
Studies show that people with a positive mental attitude live an average of 7 years longer than those with a negative mental attitude. Optimists also have a better quality of life as they seem to attract better relationships. You can focus on what is wrong in the world or on what’s right with it; the choice is yours.
9. Lifetime Learning
Have you always wanted to learn to play the guitar? Learn to dance or cook? Do you have a list of books that you’ve been meaning to read? Learning new things keeps your brain healthy, and keeps life exciting and fun. Learning new things has also been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
10. Get Outdoors
It is important to make time for getting outdoors and reconnecting with nature. Connecting with nature by camping, hiking and going to the beach, or to a park can help remind us that keeping our environment clean and our planet healthy is just as important as keeping ourselves healthy. The sun has been supporting life on earth for years and is even worshipped by many cultures for its vast healing and therapeutic powers. Statistics show that almost a million people die each year and contract serious illnesses due to a lack of exposure to sunlight. Too much sunlight can cause harmful and dangerous damage to your skin, so be respectful. But don’t be afraid to go out and get some sun because the health benefits far outweigh the risks.
Dr. Michael Gibson is a chiropractor and the clinic director of The Wellness Group, a multidisciplinary health facility in Kanata, Ontario. He currently practices full time with a focus on educating and empowering his practice members to achieve abundant health and maximum quality of life. For more lifetime wellness strategies please visit: