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Race Day September 22, 2018

Healthy Living Expo September 20-21, 2018

Fitness and Healthy Living—keep it simple

, by Dr. Michael Curtin, Medical Director, St. Luke's Sports Medicine

A simple prescription that can do wonders for your health.

We live in the Information Age. Television, radio, print media, and of course, the ever increasing influence of the Internet, inundate us with guidelines and suggestions regarding all sorts of topics. A common topic is that of our individual health.

With so many opinions being offered, one can easily become overwhelmed, and/or or confused.  As a physician, I believe one of my roles for my patients, is to try and simplify the messaging about how we can best optimize our health.  In my mind, the basis for optimal health comes down to three variables.

I believe that exercise is the single most important thing that each of us can do for our individual health.  There is no greater health benefit available, in my opinion, than regular exercise. The level of exercise, the specific activity or activities, and the intensity of exercise varies for each individual. In the Information Age, it is easy to get bogged down in the particulars of one fitness program as compared to another. The specifics of a program, are not nearly as important, however, as the consistency. Exercise that tests the cardiovascular system, in whatever form, 3 to 5 times per week, does more for individual health, than anything else that I, or any other health care provider, can prescribe or administer. If you're exercising as such good for you! Keep it up! If you're not, don't over complicate things. Start slowly but consistently, then build intensity and volume in time. You will soon provide yourself the best medicine available.

There has never been a shortage of opinions regarding both what we should eat and how we should eat it. The Information Age has brought us more such opinions than ever. Here's my opinion--it's the one I share with my patients. Eat Real Food. That is, if you can identify it and know where it came from, it's real. Fruits, vegetables, eggs, milk, meats, cheeses--all food products we know and can identify. Real foods.

Crackers, cookies, confections, breads, and baked goods, in contrast, are all foods which are processed by comparison, to some extent or another. I encourage my patients to shop around the perimeter of the grocery store. That's where the real foods tend to be found. The center aisles, in contrast, contain the processed foods of food manufacturers, which are significantly processed, and likewise, heavily laden with fats, sugar, and salt. These foods may be tasty, but by and large, are calorically dense, and nutritionally poor. Shop the perimeter, and recognize what it is you're eating. In time, your health will reap the benefits.

We live in a busy world. Seemingly, each of us has an ever-growing list of obligations, commitments, and deadlines. This list readily creates stress. We all know it when we feel it. As a physician, I encourage my patients to have something that they do, that they love, and that they look forward to. For the lucky ones, this activity is exercise. They get the benefits of exercise while they reduce stress. For others, however, exercise is not that stress reliever. For those individuals, I encourage them to find some activity or hobby that they truly love, which they can engage in with regularity. Reading, gardening, fishing, volunteering--the options are endless. The key is to have something to look forward to and to unwind emotionally while engaging in that activity with regularity. It feels good, and it benefits our health when we do it!  More good medicine that involves neither a pill nor a procedure.

FitOne encourages each of us to find a better life through healthy living choices. In the Information Age the opinions offered on how we accomplish this task are endless. Admittedly, I have offered another such opinion. Exercise regularly, eat real food, and make regular time for yourself to do something you really enjoy. A simple prescription that can do wonders for your health.

Dr. Michael Curtin, Medical Director, St. Luke's Sports Medicine


Tags: physical activity,nutrition,life balance,health,fitness,exercise,wellness,stress reduction