Friday 5 February 2016

Doctor’s Notes: Live long and prosper? Healthy life can equal long life!

By Eric Hochman. M.D.

Around the world there are special "Blue Zone" areas where people are reaching the age of 100 at unprecedented rates. People from Sardinia, Italy, Okinawa, Japan, and Nicoya, Costa Rica, have evolved over centuries to incorporate healthy living habits into daily life. Members of these communities are outpacing the average life expectancy elsewhere.

The good news is that you don't have to travel thousands of miles or live in these cities to reap the benefits. By adopting many aspects of their healthy lifestyles today, you can attain higher levels of wellbeing and increase your longevity.

According to research from the Centers for Disease Control, it is possible to control 70 percent of the factors influencing your health. Unlike many of the questionable guarantees promoted by health craze fads or "miracle supplements," the benefits of adopting the Blue Zones initiative are backed by rigorous research and scientific data, and are proven effective for people around the globe.
The Blue Zones Project, which kicked off last November, is an 8-year community-wide initiative that incorporates the "Power 9" principles of daily living. These principles focus on eating wisely, moving naturally, belonging to a social community and knowing your life's purpose. The goals of the Blue Zones initiative are tangential to the goals of healthcare providers. Physicians and other allied health professionals have been focusing attention on patients' health and wellbeing for years, and research has proven the direct correlation between eating healthy, exercising and improved health. The project broadens the idea of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle and provides an expanded approach with specific steps to take to feel better and live longer.

From a healthcare perspective, the project highlights two important points, prevention and accountability. One of the Power 9 principles, Move Naturally, promotes the importance of leading an active lifestyle. The research shows that small steps (such as parking in a spot far from an entrance, introducing walking meetings at work or taking the stairs instead of an elevator), all have benefits.

Over time, these small steps will accumulate and lead to a more healthy lifestyle.
In our office, at Gulfshore Concierge Medicine, we offer complimentary exercise and yoga classes as a benefit to our patients, and our staff as well. Research demonstrates that promotion of fitness and community support leads to a healthier life and prevention of disease. Many studies have shown that stress leads to chronic inflammation, which is associated with almost every age-related disease.

Through incremental changes in activity and shedding stress over time, everyone can benefit.
In addition to prevention, the project emphasizes accountability. The more invested patients are in their health, the more providers will be able to work as a team to help. The innovative program encourages patients to take ownership of their health. Physicians continually work to stay current through reading medical journals, completing CMEs, and striving to stay on the forefront of innovation, both from a treatment and healthcare delivery perspective.

The Blue Zones Project asks you to make this kind of commitment to your health. Our practice, as well as many other healthcare facilities, are now offering the option for patients to interact with their health record remotely. This helps promote patient accountability and provides more personal control. Patients who feel more involved and in charge of their health report higher levels of satisfaction, and are more successful in reaching their healthcare goals. Through wellness classes, online health record access and other innovative programs, we are making it more convenient to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Take the Blue Zone pledge, be healthier … feel better … live longer.

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