Resolve to Exercise Your Thoughts
by Dr. Steven Heidinger, Moose Jaw Chiropractor
This is the time of the year when the local fitness centres are seeing their annual surge in volume. The “resolution-ists” have made their way back to the gym in hopes of turning their lives around with improved health. With goals such as weight loss, improved energy, flexibility or strength, thousands will be crowding spin classes, yoga sessions and boot camps, while countless others will be signing up to receive their monthly supply of dietary supplements and meal-replacement shakes.
While I am not “pooh-poohing” any of these strat- egies, as I admire the effort to improve one’s own health, especially for the few that continue past the first two weeks of January, I often wonder if physical fitness is enough to gain the kind of health many wish they could have.
I recently read a University of California San Francisco (UCSF) article regarding research on “super-agers” (those living healthily into their 80s and beyond). Professors at UCSF wanted to know why some octogenarians flourish in their golden years while others struggle with multiple disease states.
While interviewing numerous “super-agers,” one neurologist noted one common denominator — those who were healthy and thriving into their older years appeared to all have a positive outlook on life and were happy with their present circumstance. The big chicken/egg question is, does being healthy make them happy, or are favourable personality traits responsible for their impressive health?
Most of us know of people who have treated them- selves poorly their whole lives with liquor, tobacco and zero exercise, yet lived to a ripe old age. There are others out there that lived textbook lives yet did not live past their sixth decade. There must be more to the secret of longevity than eating right and exercising right. Maybe the most important “right” is what goes on between the ears. Flooding our minds with positive thoughts and practicing healthy stress management may be the secrets to a long and healthful life. There are many stressful circumstances and situations we face in our daily lives, most of which we have no control over. Life coaches tell us we have full control over our thoughts surrounding these events. Is it possible that training our brains may be more important than training our bodies?
Life coaching is gaining space in the wellness world and it is my opinion research in healthy aging will validate the concept that how we think may be more important for our health than attending that ab-blasting, butt-crunching, 5 a.m. boot camp.