by L. Matthew Schwartz
The “go-to guy” has all the answers. He is in demand and he expects results. When health slips and we are no longer up to par, lacking energy or stamina, feeling stressed and unable to sleep, our work and social life is greatly affected. Often, some common-sense adjustments to lifestyle will provide surprising benefits. There are six pillars of wellness—and some attention to each can pay off in a big way.
- Minimize unhealthy influences. Cut back on sugar, starch, fried/blackened/BBQ foods, animal fats, soda and artificial sweeteners. Recognize the negative effects of smoking and excessive alcohol. Ninety-nine percent of our internal environment depends on what we eat and breathe.
- Optimize nutrition. Organic vegetables, beans, eggs, low-glycemic fruit, nuts and seeds are the fuel we need. Don’t forget to hydrate. Bring a reusable stainless steel bottle of water or green tea everywhere.
- Get moving. Even 10 minutes per day of moderately intense activity has huge benefits. Find time to do that in stride. Keep gear in the car—or better yet, walk.
- Get to bed earlier—sleep before midnight is the most restorative—and get more than seven hours nightly. Being well-rested means being more effective in less time.
- Learn relaxation breathing techniques. We will always have stress to deal with, but managing it with breathing can be done anywhere and anytime.
- Connect with people. Being social soothes the soul and lifts our spirits. Schedule social meet-ups to share and laugh, communicate responsibly and responsively. Open the mind and heart to others and try to see things as they do.
Getting back to optimal health is one step at a time. Start walking and the path will reveal itself.
Dr. L. Matthew Schwartz is a board-certified pain management and integrative medicine doctor and practices on the Main Line. He has been awarded Philadelphia magazine’s Top Doc for 10 years in a row. Connect with him by calling 215-233-6226. June 2014.