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A Healthy Lifestyle Helps the Planet


The Tranquility of Nature

It is well-known that meditation offers profound benefits in terms of reducing emotional turmoil, anxiety and stress.  It also provides the possibility of improving immune system function and lowering a person's blood pressure.

You can enjoy the same benefits by communing with nature - admiring the beautiful colors as the sun dips below the horizon, taking a leisurely stroll through a wooded area, or walking barefoot along a sandy shoreline.  Spending time in a nature creates a marvelous feeling of tranquility and peace in most people, which can also improve their health and well-being.

It may take a bit more effort for city dwellers to find a patch of green, but the benefits are worth it. Green spaces, including green-trails, rooftop gardens, and stands of trees, can be an oases of tranquility amid the stress and hurry of city life.

Even adding houseplants to your home is a simple way to help you connect with the natural world.  Not only that, but they can also help purify your the air you breathe by reducing toxins in your home.

Has it ever occurred to you that the choices you make to increase your health and well-being may also improve the health and well-being of the planet?  They can, especially when there are a large number of people making the same healthy choices to improve their welfare, and that of their family and community at large.

Maintaining a health-enhancing personal lifestyle with regard to nutrition and fitness can have a positive impact on the both the local environment and the global biosphere. Our personal choices and the positive actions we take can make a difference. When we make life-affirming choices to get fit, remain fit, and eat a health-promoting diet, it often has a positive affect on everyone and everything around us.

Consider how you get to work.  For most Americans driving to work is a lifelong habit that they don't even think about. But driving a car or truck with a typical internal combustion engine produces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  Every gallon of gas burned pumps 17 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

If you walk or ride a bicycle to work, you are gaining not only the vast health benefits of exercise for yourself,1,2 but you're also helping to reduce GHG emissions which can help to stabilize the overall climate.

If you live too far away from your place of work to reasonably walk or bike there each day, perhaps you could arrange a car pool with your co-workers and bike or walk to their home on days when you're not the designated driver.

Buying local farm products and produce is not only good for you, but good for the planet also.  Food is usually much fresher, tastier, and more nutritious when it doesn't have to be transported across the country or from the other side of the world - which also saves on fossil fuel and reduces the emissions involved. Did you know that on average, food consumed in the United States travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to your local grocery store? Foods that are grown locally eliminate most of the fossil fuel resources that are otherwise wasted in transporting non-local items. Check out LocalHarvet.org and EatWild.com - Alabama for local farms near you.

In addition to supporting local farmers, tending your own garden or participating in a community garden is a health-enhancing activity that offers a triple benefit.  First of all, food production doesn't get more local than your own garden, saving fossil fuel resources and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.  Secondly, you'll be adding the freshest vegetables to your family's diet, providing an abundance of natural vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that are necessary for good health.  And last but not least, gardening is terrific exercise! It's the kind of exercise our forebears used to get, way back when people didn't sit in chairs at their desks all day long.

The side benefits of participating in health-promoting activities don't stop there.3 For the most part, healthy people don't wind up in the local hospital emergency room. Resources saved include fossil fuels burned by high-speed ambulances, fossil fuels burned to produce electricity used to power life-saving medical devices, and energy utilized to produce the vast amounts of medical supplies consumed in an emergency procedure, including syringes, IV set-ups, and towels, wipes, and disinfectants.  Additionally, if you are able to keep yourself healthy by maintaining a health-promoting lifestyle, chances are you will avoid or at least minimize the amount of prescription drugs you take during your lifetime.  This benefits you by avoiding the expense and side effects, but it also benefits the planet because you're not adding to the increasing amounts of pharmaceuticals that end up in the water we all drink.

Making an effort to improve your health and that of your family has a huge multiplying effect. Your chiropractor knows that all body systems are deeply interconnected and must work together to produce good health.  It is the same with the population and the many different living systems that make up Planet Earth. Your Millar chiropractor can provide you with detailed information regarding good nutrition and health-promoting exercise that can help make a real difference in not only your own health, but that of your community.

1Villegas R, et al: The cumulative effect of core lifestyle behaviours on the prevalence of hypertension and dyslipidemia. BMC Public Health 13(8):210, 2008
2Christie BR, et al: Exercising our brains: how physical activity impacts synaptic plasticity in the dentate gyrus. Neuromolecular Med 10(2):47-58, 2008
3Booher MA, Smith BW: Physiological effects of exercise on the cardiopulmonary system. Clin Sports Med 22(1):1-21, 2003

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