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What's Good About Good Health?

May 25, 2008
There are 5 components of good health. The first is genetics. Although you can't change genetics, pharmaceutical manufacturers help us live with them. Bayer, one of the largest manufacturers of over-the-counter medications and supplements, is starting a line of products for aging baby boomers. "Nutritional Science" will feature labels that make the benefits of each product clear, enabling consumers to choose the products that are right for them. Hmmm, is it just me or does it sound like Bayer should have been doing that a long time ago.

The second component of good health is diet. Because the majority of us don't think clearly about what we eat, there are diet programs, self-help books, drinks and pills. If first we don't succeed, we try, try again - making dieting a billion dollar business. While we try to get thinner, the fat cats get fatter.

Exercise is the third component. To include exercise in my everyday life I decided to use stairs whenever possible. Although there are 14 sets of stairs to my doctor's office, I decided those stairs didn't qualify as whenever possible. Instead, I took an elevator for 7 floors and took the stairs for 7 floors. I decided a half-hearted attempt at a healthier heart was better than nothing.

Sleep is the 4th and most overlooked component. Although adults need 7-9 hours of sleep, many of us sleep less in order to do more - which means our bodies do less. During sleep is when our bodies repair muscles and other tissues, as well as replace aging and dead cells. It's when our brains organize memories. It's when chemicals are secreted to improve our immune systems. It's reassuring to know our bodies don't sleep on the job.

Finally, there's the attitude component. In 1973 an attitude test was given to thousands of elderly people. Twenty-one years later the 300 participants who'd scored highest were 30 times more likely to be in good health then those who scored lowest. When I took the test, I was told I was in the top 20% and thus I had a 50% chance of living another 21 years. Then I was told if I improved my score by 1 point, I could improve my chances by 50%. That would be100%. I don't think anything would give me a 100% chance of living another 21 years - or do I have a hopelessly negative attitude.
About the Author
KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
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