Most of us drive cars. We know there are many different things needed to keep the car running smoothly. This includes putting the right petrol in the tank, having correct air in the tyres and the correct engine oil. Periodically we need to have the car serviced by a mechanic. We also know that regular maintenance tends to be much less expensive than repairs if the car breaks down.
What makes the biggest difference is how we look after the car on a daily basis. We can source information and advice on which fuel to use and what pressure to maintain the tyres, but we must apply it. The same principles apply to health. There is a view that the health of the individual is a function solely of the health system and that the individual is powerless to do anything to influence their own health.
Nothing could be further from the truth. We need a good practitioner who can both guide us with how to look after our health and help when we need a “tune up” or when things don’t work as planned. Having a health practitioner who we trust and who understands our health goals is vital. Sometimes they will need to tell us what we don’t want to hear.
But in much the same way that you don’t get your mechanic to fill up your petrol tank, it is not the role of the practitioner to fill your grocery trolley.
Let’s look at what we can do on a daily basis to be in the best shape we can be. Whilst there are never any guarantees in life, how we look after our health does make a difference. For example, a US study has shown that people in their 50’s and beyond can maintain healthy arteries like people in their 20’s. Those who did this ate healthy food, were not significantly overweight, minimized inflammation in their bodies and of course did not smoke.
Being healthy is about maintaining good health for as long as we are here. Why? So, we can enjoy life and be as unencumbered with illness as possible.
There is no single magic bullet. In fact, I contend there are eight pillars of health all of equal importance.
Ultimately seeing your practitioner periodically, getting good advice from them and applying what works for your body is your simple effective plan for being in charge of your health.
References available on request
Dr Joe Kosterich
Dr Joe is an author, keynote speaker, general practitioner and health industry consultant. Previously holding senior positions in the Australian Medical Association and sitting on numerous industry and government boards as well as extensive corporate experience in the setting up and management of medical centres. His passion is empowering people to take charge their health through easy to understand steps helping them them to live better for longer.