We have all heard the old adage: If you fail to plan, then you are planning to fail. Few would dispute this claim. Whether it is with finances, education, raising children, or maintaining a relationship, having a plan just makes sense. It is almost assured that people in severe turmoil in any of these areas did not plan appropriately to avoid such distress (certainly exceptions do apply).
One area in life that Americans are particularly unsuccessful, is making it through their later years in good health. I propose that the main reason for this is poor planning.
We all fantasize about being able to retire, travel with our loved one, and do those enjoyable activities that we don’t have the time and money for right now. Many work arduously for the majority of their lives toward this prospect. Unfortunately, it is a dream few ever see come true.
Statistically, only 1 person in 500 makes it 65 years of age in good health in the US(having no diagnosed disease and not on any medication). Only 1 couple in 1,000 makes it 65 in good health together.
As a nation, we spend double the amount of money on health care per person than the next highest country. What are we getting with that hard-earned money? Poor health. According to the Commonwealth Fund, the US ranks last in many health markers and 2nd to last on healthy life expectancy at 60 years old.
For many, their plan for health is limited to what ever it is that their insurance will cover. Let me be very clear about this; health insurance is NOT designed to keep you healthy. It is designed to keep you not sick, and there is a big difference. Just because your latest blood work or physical exam came back negative for any significant diseases, does not mean you can count on a long healthy life. If it did, we wouldn’t be ranked so low compared to other countries.
Want another reason to implement a lifelong health plan? Let’s examine the cost associated with healthcare as you age. It is estimated that a couple needs to have $240,000 set aside for their health health care after retirement. Most people grossly overestimate the amount of care covered by Medicare. Of course, these estimates are based on the average person. Want to reduce these expenses? DON’T BE AVERAGE!
My goal is to help people be exceptional. You have an innate ability to physically function at a level much greater than the average American. This will likely not happen by chance. If your habits are similar to the habits of those around you, that should be a red flag that something needs to change. Those people that are able to do all they want in their later years likely have been going against the grain for decades.
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. ~Mark Twain
Here are the main areas that need to be included in your plan:
1) What are you putting into your body? – We all know that we are what you eat. You should only be consuming naturally occurring foods, or food made by God. Food made by man, on the other hand, should be avoided. Everything you consume should have a short shelf life. The longer the shelf life, the less healthy it is. When shopping, stick to the perimeter of the store, avoid the isles when you can. Increase vegetables, fruits, nuts, and lean meats. Decrease breads and other grain products, sugars, and bad fats. I recommend eating as much organic food as possible, but at least stick to the clean fifteen and avoid the dirt dozen. Meat should be grass-fed and eggs should be free-range. Two nutrition systems that I recommend are the Paleo Diet and The Maker’s Diet.
2) How are you using your body? – As Jack LaLanne says, “The only way you can hurt your body is if you don’t use it.” While this is only partially true, he is trying to make the point that exercise is critical. How can you argue with him, he was exceptionally fit well into his 90′s (see video below). It is well researched that exercise not only helps with metabolism, structural stability, detoxification, and injury avoidance but also is very effective at maintaining mental health and clarity. If you don’t have an exercise routine integrated into your life, you need to start right away. You should be challenging your body enough to raise your heart rate, fatigue your muscles, and break a strong sweat. If you are here in Wellington, you can join me at Hard Exercise Works for a great full-body workout.
3) Are you allowing your body to repair? – In the fast-paced society we live, rest is often at the bottom of the agenda. Sure, we all enjoy rest. But who has the time? Make time. If you have to wake up early, then go to bed earlier. If that means you have to turn off the TV, so be it. Record your shows. If other responsibilities are getting in the way of your rest, then you need to take a long hard look at your time-management. The fact is that we all have the time, we just may have to take it away from something less important. I am a strong advocate of taking a 20 minute rest in the middle of the day if you can manage it. Turn off your phone and your computer or anything else that may interrupt you. Even if you don’t fall asleep, this quiet time can be rejuvenating.
4) Where are your thoughts? – Are you pessimistic, a nay-sayer, a debbie downer? This is a choice, and it is a choice that will shorten your life. Learn techniques that will enable you to be more positive towards yourself and others. This, like everything else on this list, requires consistent effort. Your mind is powerful and can create many physical dysfunctions if allowed to dwell on the negative. Find ways to make the change.
5) Where do you spend your time and energy? – Want a great way to fail at every other point on this list? Fill your day with activities that offer no value to your life. Television is at the top of the list. The Nielson report says the average American spends 34 hours a week watching TV. Yikes! That’s a part-time job. How about the internet? I know I am guilty of this. Recent research shows the average adult spends 30 hours online. It is also suggested that most people spend up to 80% of their time at work “cyberloafing.” This is no way to go through life. If you are the average person spending 60+ hours a week on TV and internet, imagine what you could accomplish if you spent that time on something more constructive.
6) Is your brain communicating with your body? – You knew this was coming. Subluxation of the spine literally compromises your body’s ability to function. It interferes with the lines of communication between your brain and your body. Sure, it can hurt at times, but imagine how much better your body would function if your brain was able to control every cell of your body at 100%. Imagine how much more energy you would have. Imagine how less often you would get sick. Chiropractic is the only practice that addresses this issue, the benefits of which are too numerous to discuss here. In order for your body to function at a high level into your 90′s and beyond, chiropractic MUST be a part of your plan. If you have never been checked by a chiropractor, please do yourself a favor and do so.
Here are some videos of exceptional people: