Health and Fitness

Daylight Savings Time

This year daylight saving times begins Sunday, March 13, 2022. Most people in the United States of America spring forward one hour at 2 AM, local time. I for one prefer having more daylight in the evening and wish we could just leave our clocks set an hour ahead. The morning lightness that we achieve when we go back to standard time is so fleeting anyway.

Supposedly, daylight savings time was created to conserve energy. When the sun sets later, it is presumed that people will stay out longer and spend more time outside. The pros of daylight savings time are that the longer daylight savings time promotes safety. It is good for the economy, and It promotes an active lifestyle. An alleged con is that it is bad for your health due to the disruption of your sleep. An obvious solution therefore would be to just leave our clocks set permanently at daylight savings time.

Next week is the start of national sleep awareness week. Much research has been done over the past two decades that clearly spells out the critical importance of sleep on our health. There are many things that we do in our modern lives that may disrupt our sleep. This may involve too much screen time, drinking alcohol or caffeine before bed or too much stress in our lives. All of these may cause us to wake up in the early morning hours and be unable to fall back asleep

Unfortunately, there are many detrimental short and long-term effects of sleep deprivation. Your body compensates for the lack of restorative sleep, by increasing adrenaline and cortisol. In as little as one week, this will increase the level of inflammation in your body. Long term sleep deprivation will increase your risk of multiple health conditions including chronic pain, heart disease, mood disorders and diabetes.

Interestingly, how we eat and exercise affects how we sleep, and how we sleep affects how we exercise and eat. They are intricately related. Simply put, people with lower quality diets are more likely to experience sleep disorders. Unhealthy diets and too much alcohol or caffeine will disrupt your sleep. To add insult to injury then, when tired the next day, your body will crave unhealthy simple carbohydrates. It is a vicious cycle.

An article titled “The effects of physical activity on sleep: a meta-analytic review” published in the journal of behavioral medicine in June 2015, came to the profound conclusion that both aerobic and anaerobic resistance exercises improve sleep, no matter when you do them. It’s no secret also that, in order to have high-quality workouts, you need you need to have had a good nights sleep the night before. They go hand-in-hand.

Sleep well! Stay well!

Health and Fitness

Compassionate Health Care

At the halfway point of my Osteopathic Health Policy Fellowship, I felt it was a good time to stop and reflect upon the many invaluable conversations we have had and insightful articles and books that we have read. One of our recent evening discussions involved how medicine has become big business.

If there is one reason for physician burnout, it has to be the fact that Medicine has turned into such a business, such a transactional interaction. Unfortunately, it is easy for patient interactions to be purely clinical and transactional in nature. It takes some effort remember that, like Dr. Patch Adams said, “everyone is human – those giving the treatment, those who are getting treated. What they all deserve is compassion and kindness, as a part of the best care they can get.

I recently completed Dr. Patch Adams book entitled Gesundheit! It is the story of him founding a unique institute to care for patients with humor and compassion. It is clear that he is much more than just the funny doctor that Robin Williams portrayed in the movie. Over his career, he has explored alternative medicine, humor, compassion and many humanistic traits to better treat patients.

He designed The Gesundheit! Institute initially as an eco Community and it grew to a medical center in West Virginia. It’s mission is to reframe and reclaim the concept of hospital. He has been able to bring to the world a new perspective on caring for patients. He emphasizes the importance of simple human traits such as laughter and truly listening to the patients

Dr. Adams defines Doctor as a compassionate person who is able to support the uplifting of patient’s quality of life, by any means. It is a lesson we should never forget.

Stay well!

Health and Fitness

Use Your Gifts

Gifts may mean many things. from the Longman dictionary of contemporary English, a “gift” is defined as something good you receive or something good that happens to you, even though you might not deserve it. It could be something simple such as a toy car or even a seashell. They are a powerful way to show thoughtfulness, love and affection.

Another way to look at a gift however is talents that have been bestowed upon us or a calling in our life. As I’ve got an older, I’ve tried to examine how I can use whatever gifts I’ve received to serve others. We have all received talents that we can use to serve others and not just for our own benefit.

Ariel Guzman wrote that to use your gifts most effectively, you need to 1. Consider what you’re good at. Truthfully consider what gifts and talents you’ve been given. 2. Think about what you enjoy and become involved in causes you feel passionate about. 3. Ask those close to you. Ask family or close friends to help provide some insight into your talents. 4. Learn about needs in your community. Explore causes you care about and see what needs they may have for volunteers. 5. Find a fit. Once you’ve identified your talents and gifts and the needs within the community, find a fit between you and the cause you care about.

Stay well!

Health and Fitness

New Years Resolutions

Well we’re now a little more than one month into 2022. How are you doing with your resolutions? If you’ve got a little off course, don’t worry. It is never too late to get back on track. Did you resolve to try to lose weight, stop smoking, sleep better, or exercise more. These are all valuable and attainable goals.

In the book “2 Day Diabetes Diet,” Erin Palinski-Wade said that you should aim to set SMART goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.

If weight loss is your goal then maybe you should say that you going to lose 20 pounds in order to attain a healthy BMI within 90 days.

If your goal is to stop smoking then plan to join a specific cessation program that sets an attainable goal that will enable you to stop smoking within three months and reverse the detrimental effects on your body.

We have all heard about the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation. We are all sleeping less than our ancestors. Set a goal to increase your amount of sleep by 30 to 60 minutes per night. Plan your day so this becomes attainable by doing such as things as decreasing your screen time. Educate yourself regarding the negative affects of sleep deprivation to make this goal even more relevant.

Set specific exercise goals such as taking the stairs every day at work or doing strengthening exercises three times a week. Schedule time to improve your flexibility with stretching and yoga on a daily basis. This will only improve your overall feeling of well-being and may decreasechronic pain issues and may even make you better at limbo!

Don’t worry if you fall off the course. It happens to everybody. Relevant and attainable goals that are important you will always draw you back.

Stay well!

Health and Fitness

How Will You Measure Your Life?

In 2012, Clayton M Christiansen published a book called How Will You Measure Your Life? It is A powerful book, filled with inspiration and wisdom that helps readers forge a path to health and fulfillment.

A kind and thoughtful person once told me that you should measure your life with a ruler. Take measure and stock of your life Be self-aware and don’t be afraid to do some self examination,

As a Rehabilitation Physician, sadly I see cases all time of people living unhealthy and unfulfilled lives because of the choices they have made. Poor diet and health habits often ages them greatly beyond their years moving them rapidly along the ruler of life. This robs them of the energy and mobility to truly enjoy life and achieve many of their goals.

Roy T Bennett, The Light in the Heart tells us to “Don’t just change, transform. Don’t just take, give. Don’t just see, feel. Don’t just dream, do and don’t just exist, live.“ It’s an important reminder that how you act and take care of yourself, along the ruler of your life, matters. It’s a journey, not a destination.

Mae West once humorously said “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.“

Stay well!