By Rick Banas of BMA Management, Ltd.
“The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like and do what you rather not.” · Mark Twain ·
After attending the inaugural Healthy Lung Expo in Chicago last week, I certainly am much more optimistic than Mark.
I walked away from the sessions that I attended with four words echoing in my mind. Diet, exercise, vitamins and laughter play a vital role in both our overall health as well as the health of our lungs.
Here is a quick summary of some key points:
Managing Your Overall Health
In his presentation, Dr. Michael Busk spoke on how managing your overall health affects the course of lung disease. Dr. Busk is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Indiana University and an Investigator in Pulmonary Medicine. A 66,000-square-foot fitness center is his laboratory. He has climbed to the top of Mt. Rainier with a colleague who has 30% lung function.
You have to be physically active. 10,000 Steps a Day Keeps the Doctor Away.
The lowest death rate for all causes is among people who walk five miles or more a day.
Unfortunately, more than half of us in the US do not walk for 30 minutes a day.
Walking is the best way to improve lung function. Walking also is showing signs of lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Adult Diabetes is related to inactivity. As a nation, we are eating healthier but becoming much less active.
An easy way to remember which is the good cholesterol – LDL is Lousy or Life-Threatening and HDL is the Happy Cholesterol.
Intensity is not as important as amount when it comes to exercise. For instance, research indicates that there is no difference in heart disease whether you walk or jog.
For burning calories, the #1 activity is climbing stairs. It is much more effective than jogging.
When it comes to exercise, it is never too late to start.
Nutrition & Lung Disease
In his presentation, Dr. Patrick Massey, emphasized the importance of Vitamin D, Vitamin C and magnesium. He is the Medical Director for Complementary & Alternative Medicine for the Alexian Brothers Hospital Network(ABHS).
Vitamin D is not really a vitamin, but a hormone made in our skin.
Vitamin D regulates cell function and our immune system.
Research shows a connection between higher levels of Vitamin D and better lung function and fewer infections.
Fish oils are a great source of Vitamin D.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant.
Magnesium improves muscle strength. Brazil nuts, cashews, pine nuts, beans and spinach are good sources of magnesium.
Healing Power of Laughter
An optimistic outlook can cut your risk of heart disease by 50%, according to an article by researchers from Harvard published in Psychosomatic Medicine in 2001.
Mirthful laughter is a physical release for tension. It can reduce blood pressure and stress.
Studies have shown that even just the anticipation of a humorous event can boost your immune system.
National Laughter Day is May 1.
Keeping Mark Twain’s comment in mind, David, who is a Registered Dietician and President of Nutrition Housecall, LLC, notes that he has stopped telling patients what not to eat but rather what they should be adding into their meals.
The Healthy Lung Expo was hosted by the American Lung Association in Greater Chicago. Colleen Wille of BMA Management served as a member of the Planning Committee.
For more information about lung disease and the American Lung Association, go to lungusa.org.
The Association operates an Health Line staffed by nurses and respiratory therapists at 1-800-LUNGUSA.
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