How Important is Exercise to Living Healthy?

How important is exercise to living healthy really?  We hear almost constantly about the importance of exercise but do we believe it, do we do it?  Do we know what kind, how often and how hard we need to push ourselves to get the maximum benefits from the exercise we do?  Just recently there was a post on Facebook that said that our bodies are the only machine that breaks down when we don’t use it.  I believe it.  A couple of years ago during the worst of winter, I  had been more or less housebound for a couple of weeks due to the cold and the rain and I got to feeling pretty crummy, even depressed some.   When I finally realized how bad I was getting to feel, I also realized that I needed to do something about it, like right now.   It is at least a quarter mile to my mail box and I usually walk to see if I am blessed with any bills, not that I really want them but that is life I guess.  When the weather was at it’s worse I guess I had skipped checking as often so I resolved to go every day and to do it at a brisk pace.  That was a godsend, I immediately felt much better, the vigorous exercise and the cold wind hitting me in the face coming back was invigorating to say the least.  I learned a good lesson from that experience and will not let that happen again.

If you will notice the photo at the top of the page; that is me with my exercise partner starting one of our walks with my dog Boots.  We usually never go more than two or three miles but we get a great benefit from it, whatever the distance.  It just makes Boots’ day too, she is just beside herself with joy.

Starting to exercise is not hard; we start where we are.  We start with the ability we have and don’t worry that we can’t do what some others can.  If we have chronic health problems or are obese we may have problems at first and will be limited in what we can do but we can do something.   Even those that are bedridden, if they can move at all, can start to exercise and can make a difference in how they feel.  Any movement is a start.  If 10 feet is as far as we can walk, then 10 feet it is but we do it as many times a day as we are able.   Before long we will be doing 15 feet, then 20, then 30, then out to the street and then down the block.  There is a saying that says that mile by mile it is a trial, yard by yard it is hard, but inch by inch it is a cinch.   If we start small enough we can do almost anything.  Remember the “how do you eat an elephant” joke?  One bite at a time. That is how we start exercising, one step at a time, we actually start moving, we get off of our behind and start moving it.  I want to encourage anyone who thinks they can’t do it, to try and to stay with it long enough to see results.  It won’t take long.  To get where you want to be will take awhile but you didn’t get where you are now overnight either.

Last winter I wanted to be able to exercise and not have to go out in the cold so I purchased a recumbent exercise bike so I could get some exercise in the comfort of my den.  I didn’t want to spend any more than was necessary so I went to Amazon, my favorite shopping place and read the reviews until I was sure which one I wanted.  I picked the Marcy Recumbent Mag Cycle.   For what I wanted it for, it fills the bill nicely.  For someone who is out of shape the easiest setting should be no problem and you can increase the resistance as you build up to it.  It seems the perfect solution for that rainy or cold day or for just multitasking while you watch TV.   I wouldn’t say this would be what you would want if you are already in great shape and just want to maintain it during bad weather but then you are not the one I am talking to here either.  If this sounds like what you need to get started exercising you can get it from my Amazon partner here.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson



Healthy Eating, the Starting Point to a Healthier You

Healthy eating would be my starting point to get healthier.   The easiest starting point to healthy eating is to consciously decide what you want to put in your body and use every means possible to make that happen.   To do that we must know the ingredients we want to consume, read labels to determine if in fact that is what we are getting.   Once we know what we want to eat, the easiest way to be sure we are getting it is to learn to prepare our own meals.   Even if you can’t boil water without burning it, you can learn to cook, enjoy it and enjoy the food.   I know, no time to cook.  There is a TV show that comes on mid-day during the week called The Chew and they have a segment where they take five ingredients and cook a healthy meal in five minutes.  It will take you longer than that to go through the drive-thru at Micky D’s and what you cook will be a whole lot better for you and probably cheaper as well.   Preparing you own food means making a conscious decision to do so, we all have 24 hours each day and we each decide how we use them.  Is making a conscious decision that will allow us to do most if not all the things at age 60 or even 70 that we were able to do at age 40 worth some effort on our part?

Healthy eating is ditching most prepared foods.   Don’t believe anything you read or hear in a food add unless you can independently verify what they are saying.   Some food manufactures outright lie and most others fail to tell you the truth.   Some just fail to tell you what you need to know before you buy their product, a lie by omission.   Others send your head spinning with buzz words that have no real meaning, such as lower in fat, lower in salt, wheat, whole grain, no trans-fat, natural, healthy, diet, cage free, leaner, ect.   If the ingredient list looks like a long paragraph or has a lot of words you can’t pronounce and have no idea what they are, you don’t want to buy it.   It does not matter how good it taste, it is poisoning you body and destroying your health.

Healthy eating has been on my mind for years, just not to the degree that it is today.   I like a good cracker and for years I have been buying a store brand from one of the largest grocery chains that is labeled thin & crispy wheat saltines, they actually look like wheat and they taste very good, much better than the white looking ones.  I knew they were not real whole wheat but I continued to buy them because I liked them and I guess I was putting my head in the sand somewhat too.   I didn’t really want to know they weren’t that good for me.   Recently I took a good look at the label and whole wheat flour is in there.  While it is not the healthiest cracker out there, it certainly is not the worst either.   We all make trade offs but as long as we make more really good choices than bad ones we will be okay.  After all none of us are perfect.   Healthy eating is doing what we know we need to be doing most of the time and not beating ourselves up the other times.

In my next post I will give you some idea of what we need to eat to get the nutrients our bodies need and at the same time allow us to feel full and satisfied.   You can not eat enough of food without nutrients to not still feel hungry, nor can we keep from eating to much of high calorie foods when the amount of calories we need does not make us feel full.   Healthy eating is the only solution to getting the nutrients we need and feeling satisfied.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

Healthy Living; Our Responsibility or Not ?

Healthy living; do we take responsibility or do we let that responsibility fall to others?   I have news for you; no one else cares enough to make it happen.   No one else has the same incentive as we do, we would hope that we want to live.   Looking at our fellow citizens it is plain to me that a large percentage of us either do not want to live or that we are expecting some third party to rescue us before our excesses kill us.   With 60% of Americans overweight and 35% obese; very few of us seem to be taking responsibility for our health.   Apparently New York City’s mayor Bloomberg wants us to live and be healthy but how many others can you think of that put their money where there mouth is.   In my previous posts I talked about the doctor shortage, the higher costs of insurance and the millions more people the healthcare system must be able to accommodate in the future with Obama Care.   This to illustrate the fact that as healthcare availability decreases, we are getting increasingly less healthy.   With each pound we gain; we multiply the chronic conditions we suffer from. Healthy living is just not something most of us are acquainted with.

Healthy living is the only way I see that we can have a long life with the health required to enjoy it and be a productive citizen.   The medical profession at it’s best as it relates to the chronic conditions caused by lack of exercise, poor food choices and excess food intake can only offer a band-aid approach.   They do not cure these conditions, they just manage the symptoms so we can keep doing the same unhealthy things for a little longer, either to the point of limited quality of life or death itself.

Healthy living is not easy, there is so much misinformation out there that sometimes when we think we are doing the right thing, we are not.   Healthy living is like a long journey, there are wrong turns and detours, we have to keep correcting to keep on the right tract.   Healthy living will keep us healthy and will lessen our need for remedial health care.   When that happens we will be less dependent on a system that may be less and less able to provide care to all those needing it.

In the next post in this series posts, I will give you some healthy living tips that might help you get started on your journey to being healthier.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson

Healthcare; What is Our Responsibility?

Healthcare is and has always been our own individual responsibility.  Unless we are children or some others who clearly are not capable of taking care of ourselves; then our own healthcare is and has always been our responsibility.  Before health insurance; if we needed the services of a doctor we found a way to pay for that service just as we would if we needed our car repaired.  Insurance leads people to start thinking that they are not paying for their medical care but instead someone else is and that someone owes us anything we need.  In a way it is like going to an all-you-can-eat buffet and pigging out and wasting food because we feel we have paid for it and it is our right.  When we have good, all inclusive insurance, we are tempted to run to the doctor or worse, go to the emergency room when all we need to do is maybe take a cheap over-the-counter med and go on our way.  The doctor’s visit or emergency room visit cost us very little and of course we feel entitled to it, so we go.

Healthcare has gotten expensive mainly because of the involvement of the government and the insurance companies.  They have made it big business.   What if we started buying insurance to cover all our car repairs and the government said that anyone that could not afford to repair their own car, it would?  The same thing would happen to car repair prices as has happened to medical care prices.  The reason that Obama Care is being forced on us is that people haven’t been responsible.  Many who claimed they couldn’t afford health insurance simply wanted to spend the money on something else rather than be responsible.  Whether it was the wide screen TV, a nicer car, pizza whenever they wanted it, or a thousand other things, what it was doesn’t matter but that it happened, does.  I can’t say I like having to pay my bills either but except for 2 or 3 short periods in my life I had health insurance.  One time it was partially paid for by my employer but for most of this time it was me writing a check for it after making a conscious decision to buy it.  I remember a couple of years ago seeing something on the evening news about people who didn’t have health insurance or couldn’t afford it, I don’t remember which.  One of the people they talked to worked for a well know government agency that I was very familiar with and the man said he just couldn’t afford it.  I knew what he was making and I knew about how much he would have had to pay, not a lot.  He had a much bigger TV than I did and lived in a much nicer house.  He couldn’t be bothered to take responsibility for his own healthcare; he wanted to buy other things.

Healthcare responsibility comes in other ways as well.  In my next post I will talk about how we can lessen our dependance on a system that is likely to become more and more compromised over time.   Now is the time to think about how we can best manage with the coming changes in our healthcare system.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson


Obama Care; What We Need to Know About the AHA.

This post starts a string of posts about healthcare, lack of it, the government’s role or responsibility, our responsibility, societal responsibility, the decline in the number of doctors and the impending overwhelming of the healthcare system.  At this point I have no idea how many posts it will take to get this off my chest but I ask that you bare with me.  This is solely my opinion: which I feel I have a right to have and you certainly have a right to disagree or not as you please.  Please give what I have to say a chance,; if nothing else it may make you look at things in a different light.  Comments pro or con are certainly welcome.  Obama Care being a hot topic, that is where I will start.

Most of us are familiar with Obama Care or more correctly called the Affordable Healthcare Act (AHA) . Whether we wanted it or not; most of us either love it or hate it, there is not much middle ground.  Congress pasted the act without even having any good idea whether it was a good thing or even what was in the bill.  We still don’t really know the ramifications of what it is going to do to or for the healthcare system.  President Obama said it would save money and at the same time allow millions of people who could not afford or get health insurance to be covered.  The full implementation of Obama Care will not happen until 2014 but we are already seeing massive cost increases for health insurance coverage.  This is caused by the government mandates as to what must be covered in the policies.  We are all different and have different needs; it is like the government requiring us to get leather, a moon roof and a $2,000 music system if we want to buy a new car, whether that is what we want or not.  The cost savings is to come from cuts by medicare in  how much they reimburse doctors.  Medicare already has such a low reimbursement rate that many doctors refuse to see medicare patients and certainly more doctors will decide to do that after their payments are further reduced.  The population is getting older and we seniors already have more need for healthcare care and the number of doctors who are there to treat us is declining as we speak.

Obama Care is slated to add some 30 million new people to the roles of the insured when it is fully implemented and according to a report on NBC News recently, we already have a doctor shortage.   The Association of American Medical Colleges says there is a shortage of up to 20,000 doctors now and that could grow to 100,000 over the next ten years.  The doctor population as well as the population in general is getting older and a large number of current doctors are nearing retirement age.

Since 2000 medical schools have increased enrollment by16.6% and will be graduating 5,000 more per year by 2019.  The limiting factor that is slowing the training of new doctors is that the healthcare industry relies on the government to provide funding for residency programs that all doctors must have before they can practice on their own.  Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz and Congressman Aaron Schock have sponsored a bill that would fund 15,000 new residency slots over the next 5 years.  This certainly shows the fallacy of waiting for the government to provide us with something.  You would think that with what the healthcare industry charges they would be eager to reinvest in the system and not have to wait for the government.  I guess a lot of businesses are like a lot of us, they want someone else to pay the bill.

Whether Obama Care is here to stay, is ultimately repealed or is modified to eliminate some already obvious flaws, we have challenges ahead.  It doesn’t matter if everyone is covered by a great insurance policy if we don’t have the doctors and other medical personnel to treat us when we need it.  Medical care could be free but would be of no benefit if there was no one to provide it.

Personally I don’t believe that it is government’s responsibility to provide us with healthcare or to mandate what kind of insurance coverage we must have or even if we must have it.  Nor is it government’s job to train our doctors, or plumbers or any others except for those in our military and those who need specialized training to do their government jobs.  It is getting so that there are so many depending on Mama government to take care of them that it leaves too few of us left to support the government.  The government is taking from a program that I have paid for ( Medicare and Social Security ) to support something I didn’t want and something I think has little chance of succeeding.

Obama Care aside, next I will be talking about our personal responsibility in all this.

Thanks for visiting, you are always welcome here. May you and yours have a healthy and happy day.       David Johnson