Embrace a holistic view of wellness
If you have read the Bermuda Health Workforce, 2017 Report, issued by the Government of Bermuda, then you might already be aware that life expectancy for Bermudians now extends beyond the age of 77 for males and women may well live to the age of 85.
However, just because we are managing to live for an extended period of time out here on the rock does not mean that we are experiencing good health throughout our lives.
The same report also details some alarming statistics regarding the incidence of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity, including the fact that 74.6 per cent of the population is deemed to be overweight and 55.8 per cent of people aged over 45 have three or more chronic disease risk factors.
These are scary numbers and suggests that the question that we need to start asking ourselves is: are we content to accept that our later years will be plagued by preventable illnesses?
Do we want to live with high blood pressure, impaired vision, arthritis, heart conditions, diabetes and mobility difficulties, or are we willing to accept the dramatic consequences our failure to address these issues and associated behaviours now, can have on our future health and do something about it?
Obviously, I am not a qualified medical practitioner and it is essential that you discuss your health, wellness strategy and any contemplated changes to your health regime with your doctor.
Having said this, the key question to consider is — do you believe it is possible to achieve optimal wellness at any age if you are not adopting a “holistic” view of wellness?
More and more modern medicine is taking the approach that to heal a person, you have to heal the whole person — not just the symptoms at hand.
According to the American Heart Association: “A healthy lifestyle is fundamental for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease and other non-communicable diseases. Investment in primary prevention, including modification of health risk behaviours, could result in a fourfold improvement in health outcomes compared with secondary prevention based on pharmacological treatment.”
The message is clear — longevity and overall wellness in the modern world are about a lot more than how your last visit to the doctor went.
Holistic wellness assesses a person’s health from many perspectives including mental, physical, social, nutritional, environmental and spiritual.
But, the precise mix of these components that are required to achieve optimal wellness is unique to each individual and varies depending on your age and gender (particularly when it comes to your diet and exercise regime). This is where consulting and following the advice of an expert can really help.
Eating your vegetables and working out might seem like a no-brainer when you are young, but what about if you are over the age of 50? Can you continue to eat the same diet that you did when you were 20? How much exercise do you need?
Better yet, what level of intensity of exercise do you need? Do men and women need the same amount of exercise to remain healthy in later life? And what about maintaining your skeletal strength and muscle mass — how do your exercise requirements change in this regard as you go forward in life? And finally, how does your outlook on life itself impact your overall state of wellness?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, make an appointment to discuss them with someone who does. If you think you do know the answers, make an appointment anyway and find out what you can do to refine your wellness plan and take your health to the next level.
After all, you might well live for a long time wouldn’t it be nice to be healthy enough to enjoy the journey?
• Robin Trimingham is an author and thought leader in the field of retirement who specialises in helping corporate groups and individuals understand and prepare for a new life beyond work. Contact her at olderhoodgroup.com, 538-8937 or email@example.com