Every successful athlete knows that a plan is necessary to reach the highest levels of performance. How many practice sessions are needed each week, what kinds of things to work on during each session, how much rest to get, how much and what kinds of food to eat, how much water to drink - these are some of the factors in an overall program for athletic success.
Venus and Serena Williams, Lisa Leslie and Diana Taurasi of the WNBA, and Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh (perennial women's beach volleyball champions) are examples of world-class athletes who have very clearly defined roadmaps to help them get where they want to go. Michael Jordan worked on his jump shot every day, even after he won his sixth world championship. Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees takes batting practice and does strength training every day during the baseball season, as he continues a stellar Hall of Fame career. Track-and-field stars such as Usain Bolt of Jamaica (brand-new double world-record holder in the 100-meter and 200-meter dash) train year round and have very specific plans to reach their performance peaks at race time.
Even though we may not plan to become professional athletes, we still require a plan for success in terms of physical performance and overall health and well-being. 1-3However, most of us don't consider health and fitness from the point of view of planning. We forget that the hallowed maxim of business success - "if you fail to plan, you're planning to fail" - applies equally to health and fitness. What happens if we don't have an actual plan for being healthy? We eat to satisfy cravings. We sit on the couch and watch TV all evening. We spend all weekend at the mall. None of these activities helps us maintain good health. We put on weight, year after year, and allow our bodies to deteriorate hour after sedentary hour.
What would we be doing if we had a plan for achieving optimal health and wellness? Obviously we'd be consuming a healthful diet and engaging in regular vigorous exercise. We'd maintain a good weight for our particular body type and we'd be getting sufficient rest on a weekly average. Maybe not so obviously we'd also see our chiropractors regularly. Chiropractic care is a key ingredient in planning for long-term health and wellness. Your chiropractor is an expert in human performance.
We are able to identify roadblocks and limitations that can be corrected with chiropractic care. Diet, exercise, and rest are critically important to good health. The underlying mechanism that coordinates all your body's activities - the nerve system - needs to be in top shape, too. That's where chiropractic care comes in. Talk with us about your plans for your family's health and wellness. We will be glad to help design programs that will work for your entire family.
1Holla J, et al: Recreational exercise in rheumatic diseases. Int J Sports Med August 14, 2009 (online ahead of print)
2Pisinger C, et al: The relationship between lifestyle and self-reported health in a general population. Prev Med August 27, 2009 (online ahead of print)
3Sternfeld B, et al: Improving diet and physical activity with ALIVE. Am J Prev Med 36(6):475-483, 2009
How Do I Start?
Planning for success in the realm of health and wellness could start right now, in this moment. As with success in any other area of life, success in health begins with a choice and a shift in attitude. The choice to be healthy. The attitude of being responsible for your own health.
With a positive attitude and the freedom that comes with a choice, you're all set to begin working your plan. Having a healthy diet and doing regular vigorous exercise are deeply related, and engaging in one area will support and improve the benefits of the other.
Start right where you are - there's no special preparation needed. If you've not exercised in a very long time, begin by walking ten minutes a day for a week. Over the next four weeks, slowly build up your time and then gradually increase your pace. By the time you're able to do 30 minutes of very brisk walking, you'll be noticing some amazing changes.
To begin eating a healthful diet, a good place to start is with fresh fruits and vegetables. Five portions a day is highly recommended (in fact, this is the recommendation of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). Choose colorful fruits and vegetables - these are packed with nutrients. Cut way down on fast food, sugar, salt, and empty calories and you're working your plan!