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Healthier Living with Greg Enslen, 01/30/13: Helping people make small changes that can add up to a healthier lifestyle.
Last time, I mentioned a book that changed my life: “Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever” by Ray Kurzweil. Laid out in a logical system, the nine steps in the “Transcend” Program made a lot of sense—understanding them is certainly easier than thinking about nanotechnology swimming around inside of people or super-intelligent computers!
This book put all of the different facets of health improvement into a set of simple steps:
These components are based on all the latest research, including up-to-the-minute scientific trials and discussions of the latest tests and technologies up through 2009, the date of publication.
This list of nine key components for people to maximize their health got me really thinking about where I was in life, and where I wanted to be in ten or twenty or fifty years. Reading through the book, I decided to try and follow as many of the tenants of the book as I could. And if they worked, it might lead to a more healthy lifestyle…
Of course, one could add “Don’t be stupid” to this list. Whenever I turn on the news or read the paper, I’m always hearing about people gambling with their lives: texting while driving, drinking to excess, drinking and driving, picking fights with angry weightlifters, and all manner of lifestyle choices that are doomed to failure.
If I were writing “Transcend,” I’d probably change that last “D” to include “avoiding dumb life choices.” You might want to live to be a hundred, but doesn’t living a risky lifestyle already depress your chances? I shake my head at healthy people who spend hours at the gym and then being killed in some avoidable tragedy.
Medicine has made some amazing advances in the past twenty or fifty years, that is to be sure. But there have been some advances just in the last year, and even in the last three months. Are you keeping up with all of those advances, reading all the medical journals, and literally keeping the pulse of modern diagnostic medicine?
I’m certainly not — I’m busy shoveling the snow off my sidewalk and trying to figure out why iTunes can’t see those songs I bought yesterday. I’m not in the medical industry, that’s for sure—so who can I talk to? Dr. Oz talks to me every day on the magic box, but it’s a one-way conversation.
Step #1 of the Transcend Program comes from maximizing health and wellness by maximizing your knowledge. Scheduling an appointment with your doctor, even if it’s a physical or a routine checkup, is a good first step in taking charge of your health. How can you know what to fix if you don’t know what’s wrong. Page 160 of the “Transcend” book lists exactly what the doctor will check during a routine examination and why.
Tell the doctor what hurts, get all the tests done (yes, even the scary ones), and if you’ve got health questions, ASK THEM. It’s OK to waste your doctor’s time — you’re paying for it.
Getting tests helps you and your doctor made INFORMED decisions about your health. Prevention and early detection are the hallmarks of good medicine and the basis of the Transcend Program — you have to know about a problem before you can fix (or mitigate) the problem. Ignoring that black and purple growth on your leg might make you feel better right now, but not if they have to amputate next year. Will you feel better then about ignoring your health?
Blood and urine testing can be incredibly helpful in monitoring and diagnosing health — they are the easiest and quickest ways to check a dozen different systems in your body. I think one of our jobs as a human is to live a long and fruitful life, so getting physicals and getting tested is a smart choice and will provide an excellent starting point for moving forward to greater health.
This column is not about “healthy” living but “healthier” living, which is more attainable. Send feedback or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or use the “Contact” page on Greg’s website. Greg is a Dayton-based writer interested in improving his overall health. But he’s not a doctor, so for real medical advice and direction, consult a physician.