By Larry T. Kinakin, DC
People who live a long, quality-filled, healthy life think differently than people who seek quick gratification. What are your health goals? Is it time to change your approach to health care?
Now that I have joined the ranks of quinquagenarians (person whose age is between 50 and 60 years), I have become acutely aware of my patients who are experiencing excellent health in their mid and later years. I recently asked a patient, who was approaching his 90th birthday and is active in lawn bowling and enjoys good health, what his secret is. He explained that health and life are all about perspectives and priorities. He explained that when he was in his mid-twenties, he was passionate about rugby. He found in his late thirties that rugby was too hard on his body, so he switched to soccer and hockey. He enjoyed these activities until he was in his late sixties, and when they became too physically demanding he switched to tennis and golf. As he approached his mid-eighties, he felt it was time to switch to lawn bowling. Each step through his life, he has always had activities that he was passionate about. This fuelled his need to be functionally able to perform all the activities necessary to play these sports.
It became part of his lifestyle to do things that made him stronger, more mobile, and agile so he could keep doing all the things in his life that he enjoyed. Playing with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren now became a motivating force that kept his passion alive. He explained to me that many of his family and friends had since passed away and hadn’t shared the same outlook on health and life. It was his experience that most people seemed to dwell on their pain or disabilities, instead of focusing on what they should be doing to build their health, build their strength, or improve their bodies. He related that he prided himself on his ability to weight train and to walk, eating healthy foods and avoiding chemicals and unnecessary medications. When I asked him why he came to our health office, he stated that it wasn’t because he was in pain. He found that the improvement in spinal alignment and function allowed him to be a better lawn bowler. He was able to walk further and tie up his own shoes. Most important of all was that he was still able to play with his great-grandchildren. They thought he was cool!
I thought about his comments. It is apparent that patients in their mature years initially attend our office with health complaints such as back pain, headaches, sciatica, hip issues, and a barrage of health issues such as gastrointestinal or other challenges. However, it is how these complaints interfere with their lifestyle that is really their concern. When a person loves to golf and they are losing their ability to swing the club, that becomes their major concern. When you have been driving a vehicle for 50 years or more and can no longer turn your head and neck to back up the car, this becomes a concern because it can result in the inability to drive.
Losing a licence due to functional impairment is a real fear and much more motivating to stay healthy than just avoiding pain. So what are your health goals? Do you just want pain relief, or do you have loftier health goals? Imagine if your goal was to be the quickest soccer player on your team at age 55. What if you planned to land a 360 while skiing by age 52? How would that change how you approached your health and your lifestyle?
Research shows that people who live longer with good quality of life take fewer medications, exercise daily, and eat whole, unprocessed foods. They are aware of their body functions and take the necessary steps to ensure their bodies are functioning optimally. A seven-year study was reviewed in which patients were permitted to select a Doctor of Chiropractic as their primary care physician. The study demonstrated that these patients made decreases of 60.2 percent in hospital admissions, 59 percent in hospital days, 62 percent in outpatient surgeries, and 85 percent in pharmaceutical costs when compared with conventional medicine.
When you set your New Year’s health goals this year, relate them to the activities that you love to do so you will enjoy the journey. Include a wellness chiropractic checkup to start the new year healthy. Assessment of your spinal alignment, muscle balance, and nervous system function is imperative in allowing your body to function optimally so you can perform your work and recreational activities. A proper assessment should include a consultation to establish your health goals, neurospinal examination, and x-ray analysis to determine spinal posture and condition. Then you can be assured that you will have all the hope possible to reach your health goals!
Sanat RL, Winterstein J, Cambron JA, Clinical utilization and cost outcomes from an integrative medicine independent physician association: an additional # year update. J. Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2007 May;30(4):263–9 .
Larry T. Kinakin, DC, is a graduate of the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College and founder of Valley Chiropractic in Vernon. He is an advanced proficiency rated practitioner in activator technique and has achieved a diplomate in acupuncture. Dr. Kinakin is an avid wake boarder and skier and plays competitive soccer and hockey; therefore, he has a strong interest in helping the community reach its highest potential in the athletic scene. He can be reached at 250-549-4535 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Reprint from our Winter 2015 issue