If I Could Give You Anything To Start Your Healthy Lifestyle, Here’s What It Would Be…

Looking back and reflecting on my love for healthy living, what is the one thing that could be deemed the prime mover?

I don’t know that sharing this with you will make a difference in your life; but then, I don’t know that it won’t. And it’s easy for you to skip past these observations if you find them of no use, so I won’t feel guilty about wasting your time.

If these words can move you to be a healthier you, I’ll be a happier me.

This body that is me has always been a source of wonderment and fascination. From the complex issues of mind/body interaction, to the amazing intricacies of the cellular machines which comprise our corporeal reality; I am in awe.

I think, therefore I move. I touch and my brain signals that I feel. Soundwaves move a membrane in my ears causing tiny hairs to transfer a signal to my brain, and the glorious laughter of a little child stirs my heart.

I enjoy these capacities to feel and experience life and I feel they are worth caring for. I do not worship this body. And whatever your religious beliefs and understandings; or skepticism thereof, there is nothing stopping you from being as amazed as l.

Amazement, for me, has led to the act of caring for and appreciating what I see as something precious and transitory–my good health.

I wish for you this same amazement…or any other positive emotion that just might be your prime mover.

To Your Healthy Lifestyle,

Steven

The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Know Your Numbers: Ignorance and Inaction Can Cause Serious Side Effects

You can certainly make some guesses about your health based on what you see in the mirror. And the daily feedback your body gives you is, indeed, a helpful status indicator.

But nothing compares to plotting the course of your wellbeing using the numbers of your personal chemistry.

I have chosen to share my health information with you in the hope that you will become proactive about your future. You, however, must react to your own unique set of circumstances.

For the past thirty years, the measurements included in this basic battery of tests have been my guide posts. Let’s take a look at them, and I’ll share with you my personal decisions regarding recommendations given to me over the years.

Never have I been prescribed medication to treat a chronic condition, although I have been advised in the past to consider it with regard to blood pressure and cholesterol. Being prescription free and healthy at 65 puts me in the company of a very small minority.

By way of background, my father and mother were both on medication for blood pressure and cholesterol. In spite of strict dieting and being an avid and dedicated swimmer, Mom had continued cholesterol problems even while on medication. My father had a quadruple bypass in his fifties and a second heart surgery before he died in his seventies. The genetic deck was stacked against me regarding the most troublesome health issues of the day. The expectation, as a young man, was that these same cholesterol and blood pressure problems would be mine by way of inherited tendencies.

Serious research done while in college ingrained in me a respect for the power of pharmaceuticals–both the benefits, and the inevitable side effects. My approach to good health became the pursuit of what the body could do best on its own first–fortified with the benefits of exercise, nutrition, recuperation, and a calm spirit.

Let’s look at the numbers:

1. Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol levels above 200 typically raised concern on the part of my doctors, with drug recommendations following. I was advised years ago, with my level at 230, to be on medication. I chose to continue doing what I was doing and felt comfortable with my situation. Data have been available for years regarding the numerous controversies surrounding these drugs, and I made my choices accordingly, keeping my opinions to myself. In later years, under a different primary care physician, I was advised that the concern over cholesterol at a 220-230 level was mitigated by the HDL/LDL ratio and my commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

Finally, a doctor who felt the way I did about my wellbeing.

2. Blood Pressure

For many years, BP hovered in the 130/85 range – – sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. When advised to bring the numbers down with drugs, I kept on course without them. The goal was to remain heart healthy without drugs beyond the age at which my father had his first quadruple bypass.

I succeeded.

3. Blood Glucose Levels

This has been the biggest surprise to me. You can readily see that it is borderline healthy. Even though I pay close attention to sugar and carbohydrate intake, the numbers are revealing. My first takeaway was, “What would it be if I wasn’t so careful?” By all outward appearances–my weight, BMI, exercise level, food consumption –you’d think that blood glucose levels would be toward the lower limits. Looking in the mirror would make me think that there’s no hint of a reason to be concerned.

In this case, however, the mirror is blatantly misleading.

Summary and Conclusions

The decisions you make about your health are the most personal and important that you will make. I am not recommending that you make the decisions that I made, but that you make the best decisions for yourself, armed with the best information you can have, and understanding your own commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

Making decisions based on a few pieces of the puzzle can lead you in the wrong direction. I had always thought, based on my total profile, that taking drugs for either my cholesterol or blood pressure would have created issues with side effects more devastating than the slightly elevated risk posed by being at the edge of normal.

There is no doubt whatsoever that America’s treatment of choice for practically all ailments is some sort of pharmaceutical. We can’t blame this situation on the industry, as much as we’d like to. You must take responsibility for your own health–each and every day with the lifestyle decisions that you make.

The journey of good health is not an easy one. Along the way, if you’ll make the effort to incorporate more healthy responses and less dependence on others making your decisions, you will be glad you did.

I promise!

Steven Siemons
5/18/16 Research Update:
“…heightened blood pressure was associated with a 62 per cent higher risk of vascular dementia between the ages of 30-50.”
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160518120124.htm

5/11/16 Research Update: Has Good Cholesterol Been Hyped? :
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160510165110.htm

The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Aging, Exercise, and Your Contentment With Life

Looking back on my assumptions about what life would be like in my sixties, I must say that I am pleasantly surprised.

It’s about how great I feel at this age!

When contemplating how I might feel as a senior citizen from the vantage point of my young adult years, I imagined a life lived within the confines of a worn out aching body constantly reminding me of my years.

Thankfully, that just isn’t so!

I share this with you not from a sense of superiority, but with a purpose of encouragement.

It’s not too late to begin your lifestyle journey that includes proper nutrition, exercise, and a focus on wellness.

Challenging the assumption that people over 65 are generally a happy group, a 15 year study just released cites depression as a pervasive reality for many. “Key factors in these increases (of depression) include levels of physical impairment, the onset of medical conditions, particularly chronic ones, and the approach of death.”

(http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151113115607.htm)

My emphasis here is on the preventable status of ‘levels of physical impairment’ from which so much misery arises.

Your investment in your physical well being directly effects your happiness!

Contrast that gloomy outlook on living with what proactive looks like in this article from the Washington Post: ‘You can be a high level athlete whether you’re 20 or 70.’
https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/proof-that-old-age-and-high-level-athleticism-arent-mutually-exclusive/2015/11/10/d7a3c3b8-7cdb-11e5-beba-927fd8634498_story.html

(Please take the time to click on the link above and read it)

Make the decision to take charge of what you can change, and give yourself the gift of better health and more contentment along the way!

To Your Health and Fitness,

Steven Siemons

The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

If You Took Care of Your Car the Way You Take Care of Your Body, You’d Soon Be Taking the Bus.

It’s a good thing our bodies are so adaptable in the face of neglect. Our bodies require basic things like nutritious food, sleep, exercise, and a sufficient amount of water along the way, and things can go well for years at a time. Even neglecting the basic rules of nutrition, and chronically stealing hours from our sleep budget; life still unfolds in acceptable fashion for most.

Try running the car without the oil it needs, or neglect the leak in the radiator hose, and see how soon your life changes.

It’s easy to shortchange ourselves given that we can; but at what long term cost?

For many, the payment due is swift and deadly, when the heart spasms from lack of blood supply. Others may be destined, by their consistently poor health choices, to battle chronic debilitating conditions that could have been avoided.

Think enough of yourself to choose health.

Why not take a little extra time to learn about proper foods to eat, see how your body responds to regular exercise, and give healthy living a chance?

To Your Healthy Decisions,

Steven

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On Being Upside Down: My Take On Inversion Therapy

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It was my idea. The effects of gravity on my body after all these years deserve a response, I thought. You know…action/reaction kind of stuff. Anyway, after hearing me talk about it enough, the wife surprised me with, not an upside down cake, but an upside down machine. Cool.

What Happened After Assembly?

The instructions caution that it’s best to start the decline angles gradually. You can lock it into various angles, approaching straight down–maximum effect. Of course, that’s where I wanted to be–sooner rather than later; and so it was.

The pressure that you feel in your head could be a problem for some. In fact, many credible health experts recommend against this machine for that very reason. There is also an increase of pressure in the eyeballs that some experts warn against. And as far as the outcomes of traditional traction machines used in the normal course of medicine, the evidence is not overwhelming that those treatments have any long-term positive effect, either. That’s reality.

The Positive

I did enjoy the relief of tension in the back that I experienced while using the inversion table. The most uncomfortable part, for me, was the pressure put on the top of my feet. Even though the support bars were thickly padded, it puts a lot of pressure on the tops of the feet as you hang. Generally, I was using the table about three times a week for about 10 minutes at a time. That was all my feet could handle.

Why Past Tense?

Well, here’s a scenario you might relate to. It’s been decided that the spare room should be a spare room again, so the inversion table now sits in the garage with pieces carefully marked for re-assembly should we be together again.

To Your Health and Fitness,

Steven

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Believe the Warning Labels: My Near-Death Experience With Ibuprofen

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Sometimes I am prone to exaggeration and hyperbole. This is not one of those times. These personal details are shared with the hope of potentially saving the life of someone whose reaction to NSAIDS could be the same as mine.

My workouts focused on heavier weights than usual because I was trying to ‘bulk up’ at the time. I was enjoying the newness of central Florida, where we had recently moved, and was training at Gold’s Gym. A soreness had developed in my left elbow. Most likely it was inflammation, I figured; a bothersome, but not debilitating pain that could be handled with an anti-inflammatory.

It was important to me to continue my training regimen and ‘work through’ this minor irritant. With the help of a well known and advertised OTC brand of NSAIDS, I persisted.

Approximately a month later there was a slight discomfort in my stomach. A little bit of the pink stuff should take care of that, I reasoned. Taking it became a daily occurrence, multiple times a day to deal with the stomach discomfort. Within about two weeks I had bouts of light-headedness. Still ignoring these subtle cues, I began to feel my heart pounding while simply resting, and the light-headedness became more frequent and severe.

On a Sunday afternoon, my heart was pounding hard enough for me to feel it in my back. There was no doubt in my mind that I was in serious danger. I told my wife that we needed to go to the emergency room.

I didn’t have to wait long. After supplying the intake information and contributing fluids to the necessary tests, the nurse delivered the ultimatum. Somehow, I had been losing blood, and it had now reached a critical stage. Because my hemoglobin count was half of normal, a blood transfusion was necessary immediately, I was told. The plan was to do this first and determine the cause afterwards. The nurse listened attentively while I expressed my concerns about the safety of the blood supply. In a very polite but direct statement after my little discourse, she got right to the point. “Sir, you certainly have the right to choose or refuse treatment, but if you continue as you are, you’re probably going to have a heart attack in the very near future.”

All reservations about the quality of the blood supply vanished.

After two days in intensive care and numerous tests, my use of NSAIDS was pinpointed as the cause. This diagnosis was confirmed with follow-up testing after being discharged. The most thorough test involved a tiny camera encapsulated in a pill and swallowed, creating an alimentary documentary that the doctor and I viewed together in his office.

It was only later, in discussing the event with my primary care physician, that I learned how many people die annually from the same reaction as mine.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/11/051101075630.htm

I’ll never know how close I really came to having that heart attack.

The doctor used the word “lucky”.

I’ll take his word for it.

To Your Health and Fitness,

Steven
UPDATE 3/17/16: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160317151140.htm
News Update:
http://www.m.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20140409/certain-prescription-painkillers-tied-to-higher-risk-of-irregular-heartbeat-study?src=RSS_PUBLIC
The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Does Anyone Know What Your Dream Is?

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If you left this earth tomorrow and your friends and family were paying tribute, would they be able to describe the dream that was your passion?

If the answer is no, then two possibilities present themselves. You either had no dream; or you did, but lacked the belief in yourself to act upon it.

I knew that feeling.

I also know the feeling of time running out. If no one has told you to get your act together yet, let me be the one to suggest that you do so.

Let’s not carry the excess baggage of excuses and regret any longer. At this point in time, who’s the critic living who’ll shame you? It really shouldn’t matter, should it?

It really never should have.

To Your Health and Fitness,

Steven

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The Senior Health and Fitness Blog by Steven Siemons is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.