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The Skyrocketing Cost of Health Care

How to Get Started Exercising
In some ways, it doesn't matter what kind of exercise you're doing, as long as you're participating in some kind of regular physical activity. The most important thing is to be physically active in some way, every day or at least almost every day.

Exercise is relative. If you're 20 years old, walking a few blocks isn't going to do much for you. But if you're 80 years old, walking three or four blocks might be great exercise. The important thing is to start being active, and make it a regular part of your life.

For most of us, the biggest hurdle is just getting started. To exercise or not is a choice, and it's a choice we make each day. Do I choose to spend some time taking care of myself, or do I choose to put it off for another day and instead spend today feeling badly because I didn't do what I'd promised myself I'd do?  The bottom line is that it's actually much easier on oneself to choose the path of positive action.

The bonus is that exercise makes you feel good mentally and emotionally because your brain produces endorphins in response to physical activity, so you get an extra bonus of good feelings!

Begin slowly, especially if you haven't exercised in a few months or a few years. The goal is not to look like a supermodel or world-class athlete. The purpose is to be healthy and well. This can take some time. Workout gradually, and pay attention to what you're doing. The more you focus clearly on your activity, the more beneficial it will be for you, both physically and mentally.

Sure, exercise is work, but it can also be a lot of fun - especially when you start noticing your clothes becoming looser. It's really fun when people stop to tell you how great you look.  And it's really fun when you realize that you have so much more energy than you used to and how much more you're enjoying your life!

Health insurance costs have been out of control for some time now. We're all painfully aware of this inflationary spiral. Monthly premiums are through the roof. Co-payments always seem to be on the rise, with out-of-pocket expenses that are so costly we might begin to wonder what we're saving by buying health insurance at all.

This is a burden we all share. For the self-employed, the monthly premiums for adequate individual health insurance are often $1000/month or more. Because of this, many small business owners, choose catastrophic coverage instead. Catastrophic policies will probably still cost $4000 - $5000 or more per year, and if you encounter medical problems, you could end up paying $5000 or more for out-of-pocket expenses.

Some savvy self-employed people combine a less expensive catastrophic (high-deductible) policy with a Health Savings Account (HSA) which allows them to save and use pre-tax dollars for health related expenses, included alternative and preventative treatments.

It is more important than ever for individuals and families to do what they can on their own to ensure better health. Improved health and well-being always translate into reduced health care costs.1,2

Health-promoting lifestyle choices make a significant difference in both short-term and long-term well-being. Bad habits may need to be broken and replaced with new more positive habits. Nurturing good, healthy habits will pay dividends in better health, and will usually result in increased monetary savings by reducing your health care expenditures.

Nutrition and fitness are usually the main categories in need of improvement. Obesity, heart disease, chronic high blood pressure, and diabetes are a few of the main culprits that raise our national health insurance costs. Each of these can be positively impacted by engaging in regular exercise and improving your diet.

Other vitally important changes include stopping smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, drinking water instead of soda, reducing your snacking and portion sizes, and significantly reducing the consumption of processed foods - especially sweets and carbohydrates. Making all these positive changes, slowly over time, will improve your overall state of health.3

Think in terms of the long haul rather than short-term results. Lasting change is a process that doesn't happen overnight. Our goal is a lifetime of good health supported by good habits. Think about how you can make small changes, one at a time, that will become part of your long-term lifestyle. 

It is also helpful to focus on what you are gaining, rather than what you are giving up.  For example, focus on preparing wonderful high-quality whole foods that are full of flavor rather than focusing on the less healthful foods you are giving up.  To successfully replace your habits with more healthful ones, make sure to frame things positively.  Instead of stuffing yourself with low quality purchased sweets that are filled with chemicals you can't pronounce, indulge your sweet tooth with one or two organic, dark chocolate truffles that are filled with antioxidants.  Eat slowly, chew your food well, and really allow yourself to enjoy your meals.  Become a picky eater - make an effort to choose high quality whole foods and small portions instead of larger quantities of junk food.  Chances are, you will learn to enjoy eating this way.

Chiropractic health care is an important part of the process of restoring well-being and reducing health care costs. Regular chiropractic visits can help a person stay active and are an important component in regaining your fitness. Chiropractic treatment helps to improve flexibility, stability and balance, which can increase your ability to exercise and make it more fun.

Your Millar chiropractor can be an invaluable resource as you work on improving your health. He or she will have many helpful recommendations regarding health-promoting nutrition and exercise, and will be happy to provide support and guidance in your journey back to good health.

1Fronstin P: Health promotion and disease prevention: a look at demand management programs. EBRI Issue Brief 177:1-14, 1996
2Parks KM, Steelman LA: Organizational wellness programs: a meta-analysis. J Occup Health Psychol 13(1):58-68, 2008
3Pearce PZ: Exercise is medicine. Curr Sports Med Rep 7(3):171-175, 2008

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