Program Your Life to Be a Bouncer, Not a Slogger

By Rebecca Shrum

Empowering Health & Wellness

Next time you climb up into a stadium or hike up a hill, stop at the top and check out the people still climbing below you. Chances are some of them are enjoying the journey, bouncing up every step and excited to see the view from the top. Others slog along, stopping often to catch their breath and looking like they’d give anything to be couch-surfing instead.

What makes these groups of your fellow climbers so different? Size? Age? The genes they inherited? Yes, to some extent, but the biggest factor is their LIFESTYLE CHOICES! Specifically, choices related to physical activity, diet, stress management…and even sleep, or lack thereof.

Truth is that in the U.S., about 40 percent of pre-mature deaths are related to lifestyle choices. A premature death is defined as dying before age 75. Even more compelling, science indicates that by the time you reach about age 60, 75 percent of your health outcomes are determined by your choices. Depending on what you choose to eat, do and stress out about on a daily basis, you can win or lose at longevity roulette.

The Role of Genetic Self-Engineering

According to Michael Roizen, M.D., chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic, at the root of it all is human gene expression. Dr. Roizen says studies show that choosing certain lifestyle changes can influence whether your genes are turned “on” or “off.” For example, after implementing changes to their physical activity, stress management, and diet regimens, men were able to turn off genes associated with prostate cancer and turn on a gene that produced a protein that cause cancer cells to self-destruct. The same applies to colon and breast cancer – lifestyle changes switched on genes that fought cancer and turned off genes that promoted it.

Tactics to Keep Bouncing

What does it take to maintain bounce factor, give yourself a chance to prolong life (and even better) prolong your youthful years? These commitments are common among people who successfully make positive lifestyle changes:

      1. Achieve health metrics. Blood pressure of less that 120/80; BMI (measurement of height-to-weight ratio) of less than 27; LDL cholesterol of less than 70 mg/dL; fasting blood sugar of less than 106 mg/dL. Don’t use/stop using tobacco. Complete a stress management program.
      2. Use technology. Track steps, minutes of activity, heart rate, sleep quality and much more.
      3. Leverage financial incentives offered by companies and government programs.
      4. Find a healthy partner or tribe. Feed off each other’s dedication to behavior change.
      5. Do the little things that matter to health on a daily basis. When something needs to be fixed, go in strong and fully embrace post-op physical therapy.
Remember that as you strive to change how your body works and reacts, every little decision adds up and compounds as you live longer.

For further reading: The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow by Michael Roizen, with Peter Linneman and Albert Ratner

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