Take charge of your own health

Every morning I get a motivational e-mail from Dr. Andrew Weil.
Sometimes it describes the benefit of exercise or meditation, or the importance of friends.
Other times, my e-mail has healthy diet tips–eat more greens or shitake mushrooms.
One time it was a good-for-you apple-oat-bran muffin recipe.
Whatever the tip, it always motivates me to live healthy.
I signed up for these free e-mails on Dr. Weil’s website at www.drweil.com because I have read his books and have found them very helpful.
“8 Weeks to Optimum Health” is my favourite. I even have an audio tape of this book, which my husband and I have listened to on trips.
It’s a wonderful way to get inspired to take care of your body. After all, you have only one body—and it has to last a lifetime.
“Health is a dynamic and temporary state of equilibrium destined to break down as conditions change,” Dr. Weil says. That’s why you have to take charge of your own health, and this book will help you do exactly that.
Dr. Weil is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and a pioneer in the field of Integrative Medicine, which combines Western medicine with alternative therapies.
He also is a prolific writer, authoring articles for the The New England Journal of Medicine and other national publications, as well as eight books.
Three of his books have been on the New York Times’ best-seller list.
In “8 Weeks to Optimum Health,” Dr. Weil focuses on healthy behaviours that should increase your resistance to disease, and improve your health and happiness as you age.
There’s a lot of common sense in this book. It offers suggestions to improve your diet–eat more whole foods, such as fish, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Eat more organic produce and less processed foods.
You’ll feel better and have more energy.
Other tips from Dr. Weil’s research: Drink lots of pure water. Take a walk every day. Breathe deeply. Take your vitamins. Volunteer in your community. Have lots of friends and stay close to your family. Enjoy nature, art, and music.
To reduce stress, he suggests a week-long moratorium on news.
In the last section of the book, Dr. Weil includes customized plans for special target groups: men, women, those who travel frequently, persons at risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer, and those over age 50, under age 20, and over age 70.
For 50-year-olds, he suggests scheduling a medical check-up if they haven’t had one recently, and replacing strenuous exercise like running and competitive sports with walking.
For those over 70, Dr. Weil says, “It is necessary to health and happiness to be at peace with the aging body.” He suggests you seek out persons who are aging well and use them as role models.
Dr. Weil particularly encourages persons 70 and older to maintain an active lifestyle. “Don’t neglect the walking. It is the perfect activity for older bodies,” he notes.
So, as you plan ahead for the new year, why not resolve to live healthy. Build a lifestyle that will help protect you from illness and disability.
A lifestyle that can heal health problems you already have. A lifestyle that can help you age with vigor and vitality.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@aol.com or visit www.visit-snider.com

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