Wellbody Blog

At Professor Wellbody's Academy of Health & Wellness, we understand there's only one thing harder than making healthy behavior changes: Sticking to them! We all need a little help from our friends, and that's the purpose of the Wellbody Blog, a friendly online gathering spot--a community well--where you can dip into health news; wellness tips; recipes; latest research about nutrition, exercise, sleep and hygiene; plus, real stories from virtual neighbors who are also trying to change their lives for the better. Start from wherever you are; share ideas, information, inspiration. At Pacific Science Center, we believe each of us can do something everyday to improve our health and well-being.

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Resolve To Be Healthy Your Last 10 Years

Last10years200How will you live the last decade of your life? Will you be pedaling a bicycle or maneuvering a wheelchair? Will you share a crisp salad and glass of wine with your partner or be fed medicines and mush by a hospital aide?

Watch this extremely clever, but sobering, one-minute video (click "continue reading")  that depicts two very different realities—and you’ll realize that wrinkles and balding are superficial worries when it comes to aging.

What really matters is being able to do the activities you love with the people you love—and that means avoiding debilitating heart attacks, stroke, cancer and dementia. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, which produced the viral video, found that on average, Canadians will spend the last decade of their lives in sickness and disease. (The prognosis is likely worse for Americans because even more of us are obese and fewer of us exercise.)

But age-related decline is not inevitable.

Resolve to improve your health and prevent deterioration and disability by eating and sleeping well, exercising, managing stress and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol.

Here’s a quick look at how many quality years you'll lose, as calculated by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, if you don't adopt a healthy lifestyle:

Cost of physical inactivity: Four quality years

Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more. Any physical activity can have a positive impact on your heart health, including walking and dancing.

Cost of a poor diet: Three quality years

A nutritious and balanced diet helps you manage your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels and boosts your overall well-being. Canada’s Food Guide recommends women aged 19-50 eat seven to eight servings of vegetables and fruit per day, while men should eat eight to 10.

Cost of excessive stress: Two quality years

Too much stress can elevate blood cholesterol or blood pressure and make it difficult to lead a healthy lifestyle – especially since many respond of us to stress by eating, drinking or smoking too much. In times of stress, it’s important to care for your physical and mental health.

Cost of smoking: Two and a half quality years

Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. The sooner you become smoke free, the sooner your body recovers.  Within 10 years of becoming smoke-free, your risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half. After 15 years of being smoke-free, your risk of dying will be nearly that of a non-smoker.

Cost of excessive drinking: Two quality years

If you drink alcohol, moderation is key – women should limit themselves to two drinks a day or 10 drinks a week, and men should limit themselves to three drinks a day or 15 drinks a week.

Make S.M.A.R.T. Goals

On the Make Health Last website, you can use a risk calculator to assess your own health and formulate a personalized plan to improve your odds by changing your lifestyle for the better.

Visit Wellbody Academy to move from awareness to action. In Wellbody Hall, the Wellbody Optimizer will help you develop S.M.A.R.T. goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. I will. . . replace sugary soft-drinks with water and herbal iced tea starting tomorrow. The exhibit's fun facts, cool gizmos and latest scientific research explain the hows and whys of better sleep, exercise, washing and eating--all key to vital living right now as well as during your last 10 years!

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Guest Thursday, 24 April 2014