We are ultimately, very much the result of our daily habits. As the cliche’ goes, “Wherever you go, there you are.” We could edit that to, “Whatever you do (or don’t do), adds up to who and how you will be”.
At True Life Medicine and with Functional Medicine and any true wellness focus, FOOD gets the bulk of the attention. We would agree with this. However, we see many people getting their nutrition under control but negating much of the effort due to missing some other key pillars. Here are three pillars we’ve been discussing a lot within the practice as of late:
Most everyone has heard this, but the first question is how much? But before we address that, the more important question is, “How can I remind myself to drink water consistently throughout my day?” There is no right or wrong, you just need a consistent dose of water throughout the day. Some people like all day sipping, some people like me like to down it in 16 oz chugs here and there. Dr. James is seldom without his tea, that’s his main source. High quality tea has many benefits and is not a diuretic like coffee that actually dehydrates you. As for the amount, a general amount for adults is 64 oz. Obviously if you are five feet tall and 100 pounds or 6 feet and 250, you’ll need to adjust accordingly. If you exercise you’ll need more. I start my morning downing two full glasses of water, then keep my 64 oz Nalgene bottle with me throughout the day (pictured). I usually finish it and drink another 32 oz or so. Here is a great article that gets further into the details of water, published by a local, Woodland Park chiropractor: http://woodlandparkdoctor.com/index.php?newsletters=30917
Talk about a highly debated topic. In America, just as we are chronically dehydrated, we are chronically exhausted. Sleep is not something we have to do when we can’t keep going any longer. Sleep is something we get to do and must do, as it’s when our body repairs, recoups and recharges. Again, people want to know…how much? Bottom line, 8 hours is the best number to shoot for. More when you are exercising a lot, ill or undergoing extra stress. People who claim they can exist great on less are generally kidding themselves. However the big caveat here is quality. Sleeping six hours very deeply is better than 10 hours fitfully. Many people don’t realize they aren’t getting quality sleep, which is why Dr. James often prescribes sleep studies. Here is a great commentary on sleep by a business personality I follow: http://www.inc.com/magazine/201604/jason-fried/all-nighters-hurt-creativity.html
Most of our grandparents and great grandparents and beyond, had no use or need for “exercise”. Their lives required much daily movement and exertion. Today, you can exist grandly through your life with almost no physical exertion at all. The number of steps the average American takes per day are often 1,000 to 3,000 and as time progresses, even less. 10,000 steps is an average goal to shoot for. But the bigger ideal is to merely move. In any way. Throughout the day, just like drinking water. Think about three things, 1) Increasing your heart rate. Just do something to allow yourself to breath harder. 2) Let your limbs and torso get full range of motion. People get rigid and immobile much due to the fact they don’t move themselves around. Stretch, squat, extend. 3) Your muscles need resistance. They are made for this and crave it. Otherwise over time they will atrophy.
You’ve probably seen info on stand-up desks. One just came out in the October, 2016 issue of Outside Magazine, with the contrarian title of “Why Stand-Up Desks are a Sham”. But it was merely pointing to the truth that merely standing stock still all day is not any better than sitting all day. However, evidence based proof from us personally is you are much more prone to move when standing, than sitting. In the office, most of our meetings and conference calls are done standing up. When on the phone you can pace or do squats or high leg lifts. It’s easy to pick up some nearby weights and do a some reps, or drop down for 20 pushups. I bought a Veridesk so I can stand or sit. With Dr. James, we just hoisted his existing desk up on some pedestals (pictured). Here are a couple non-medical testimonies from a favorite magazine of mine:
If you’re a patient with specific questions on any of these issues and how you can apply them to your life and benefit, ask Dr. James or Health Coach, Jane Enger!