New Castle News

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February 6, 2014

Lori Brothers: Choose wisely for better life quality

NEW CASTLE — I saw research reporting that vegetarians live longer than people who eat meat.

On the average, vegetarians live to the age of 84, meat eaters live to the age of 78.

I don’t think this means that you have to become a vegetarian unless your goal is to strive to live an extra six years. If that is truly your calling, go for it! Learn to be a healthy vegetarian.

Still, there is something more compelling to focus on than longevity when considering your health. It is the quality of your life. We are all sentient beings. Feeling lousy is no picnic. Comfort and ease of living matters to all of us. We want to feel good.

As a yoga therapist, I teach mindful awareness in choice making, along with setting the intention to live well. In the yoga world we call it “ease of well-being.”

Stats are showing that as Americans age, they want support with pain management and quality of life. For example, the most common reason for joint replacement in the U.S. is pain and decreased quality of life from osteoarthritis. With an aging population and one-third of Americans obese, the prevalence of osteoarthritis is expected to increase, according to webmd.com.

From 2007 to 2009, 50 percent of adults 65 years or older reported an arthritis diagnosis and by 2030, an estimated 67 million Americans ages 18 years or older are projected to have doctor-diagnosed arthritis, according to National Health Interview Statistics.

When you live creating unhealthy living patterns, your choices may speak to you in the language of physical pain. Are your knees, hips, elbows, wrists, hands, neck, or back talking to you? Do you have headaches, too much body fat or feel de-conditioned walking up a flight of stairs or across a parking lot?

There is a good chance that inflammatory conditions are your body’s way of trying to tell you that you are in need of making new choices in your diet, exercise and living patterns. You can support your body to cope with health conditions. Move toward more ease of well-being. It is possible to improve how you feel.  

It has been proven clinically that reducing animal products and refined foods in your diet is anti-inflammatory to the body. Less inflammation means less pain. So you don’t have to become a vegetarian to make a large impact on how you feel. Swapping meat for a plant-based protein like a black bean burger or an egg-beaters veggie omelet once per week gets you in the well-being mindset. Increase the swap as you get used to the change.

Not only is an anti-inflammatory diet a key to how you feel, research has documented that staying physically active is also essential to the quality of your life. This is true even if you already have been diagnosed with arthritis. Cardio exercise and strength training with stretch bands is recommended. Gentle stretching and breathing, such as gentle yoga, also does wonders to add to the anti-inflammatory approach to more quality living.

Among older adults with knee osteoarthritis, engaging in moderate physical activity at least three times per week can reduce the risk of arthritis-related disability by 47 percent. (Data Source: FAST Trial).

Almost 50 percent reduction in disability is a stat that I hope may bring you through the doorway of helping yourself with choosing more movement and wise stretching, and reducing some of the animal products from your menu. Healthier choices impact the body by generating more energy and vitality, little or no pain, and more strength and stamina.

It is great we live in a time when joint replacements are an available option. So if you make decisions about utilizing the advantages of modern science, such as a joint replacement, complement the choice with healthy patterns that will ensure that you are supporting your new amazing body. You’ll feel better.

Quality feels great and is worth living for.

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