Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Two “No-Brainers” for Optimum Health

My clients commonly lament that health related advice is often contradictory or changes frequently. While I understand their frustration, I’m happy to report that there are two universally held recommendations that I have never seen contradicted or negated. Following these two pieces of advice will lower your risk of contracting virtually every major disease and most lesser known ailments, as well.

The first is to not smoke. Happily in Arizona some 84% of adults and 77% of teenagers already follow this advice. This still leaves about a million Arizona residents who smoke, however. Because oxygen fuels every cell of our body, smoking affects every single organ. Oxygen is our life force and smoking reduces the body’s ability to absorb oxygen, so it’s not surprising that smoking compromises our body function so tremendously.

According to stress management expert Kebba Buckley Button, smoking also causes long term brain damage and results in personality changes. Many non-smokers are unable to tolerate the second-hand smoke, limiting smokers’ social opportunities. While many smokers cite relaxation as a primary reason they smoke, Kebba points out that the economic, health, and social costs of smoking far outweigh any perceived benefit. She explains that her “breath work” techniques utilize the same slow exhaling that smokers practice, without any of the cost and risk associated with smoking.

This week I learned that in the summer of 2012 all ten Maricopa Community College campuses and the District office will be smoke- and tobbaco-free. Perhaps your workplace has already implemented such a program. If not, don’t wait. Think of the four million Arizona adults who are non-smoking with whom you’ll be able to socialize. Join me next time for “no-brainer” number two.

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