Home Issues2023 Well-Being Issue Navigating Health in a Post-Pandemic World: More Than Just Surviving, It’s Thriving

Navigating Health in a Post-Pandemic World: More Than Just Surviving, It’s Thriving

by Uche Odiatu DMD

Thriving Beyond Survival

As we emerged from the shadows of the global pandemic, the importance of health has never been more pronounced. It’s no longer just about warding off a virus but redefining what health means in every facet of our lives. From the strength of our muscles to the quality of our sleep, from the food we consume to the way we breathe—every choice resonates with consequences for our longevity and vitality. Using insights from esteemed experts, this article aims to guide you through an all-encompassing journey of holistic health. Dive in, as we unravel a blueprint for a life that doesn’t just go the distance but does so with verve and vigor. Welcome to a post-pandemic world where health is not just survival – but thriving in every sense of the word.  Let’s get started!

Unleash Your Muscle

In “Outlive: the Science and Art of Longevity,” bestselling author Peter Attia MD advocates for a regular exercise program that trumps nutrition as a tool to get fit and stay fit. He discusses the “four horsemen of death” that shorten our lives: 

  1. Dementia
  2. Heart Disease
  3. Cancer
  4. Diabetes.

A casual exercise program won’t suffice to combat these adversaries. To truly protect ourselves, we need to incorporate interval training, continuously upgrade our resistance training routines, run stairs consistently, and push ourselves to enjoy the last 30 years pain-free while we live independently.  

We also believe that combining strength training with cardio surpasses the benefits of a cocktail of vitamins and antioxidants. Your 600 muscles aren’t just for display at college reunions; they function more like organs. Accounting for half your body weight, they release hundreds of chemical messengers called myokines that communicate with all your organs, tissues, and cells. To boost your VO2 max – the measurement of your body’s ability to intake, circulate, and release oxygen – you need more than a gentle stroll with your dog. Altering your jazzercise routine, running stairs, and partnering with someone fitter as an accountability partner can elevate your VO2 max to top percentiles for your age. If you’re not proactive now, you risk a steep decline in your health during the latter part of your life. And who wants to get winded trying on clothes at Neiman Marcus?

Eat for Function, Not Hedonistic Pleasure

We’ve evolved to view food not just as fuel but also as a source of pleasure, celebration, and comfort during various life events. We incorporate health into these occasions to ensure we can keep up with the demands of modern life. UK epidemiologist Tim Spector PhD, in his book “Food for Life,” suggests strategies to meet daily cravings for bread, pastries, cheese, and fast food healthily. He cautions against the allure of dubious online solutions for fitness but recommends eating homemade meals, choosing sea salt over table salt, consuming seasonal fruits, and occasionally fasting to rejuvenate the immune system.

Choosing healthy foods is easy; consistently eating them is challenging. How should one begin, especially with food sensitivities or diverse family tastes? While pursuing a master’s in nutrition is an option, consulting companies like Viome for gut or intelligence tests is another. Our genetic makeup is 99% similar, but our microbiomes differ significantly. Understanding these 40 trillion cells and their communities is crucial before creating a personalized health plan.

If You Snooze, You'll Lose

Achieving sound sleep well before midnight can be challenging but is essential for optimal health. Sloppy sleep habits can jeopardize oral health and weight loss objectives. An Italian study involving 400 couples found that having a TV in the bedroom adversely affected their intimate lives. The World Health Organization has labeled shift work as a potential carcinogen due to its negative impact on immunity. Lack of quality sleep can affect memory, impair judgment, and hinder fat burning. Sleep expert Matthew Walker PhD emphasizes that consistently depriving oneself of sleep harms almost every system in the body.

Inhale Enthusiasm, Exhale Excuses

If you believe that your breathing style is less critical than the quality of your olive oil, you’re mistaken. While one can survive without olive oil, breathing is non-negotiable. We are biologically designed to breathe through our noses, optimizing the air’s warmth and enhancing nitric oxide levels. Mouth breathing is reserved for emergencies. Historical records reveal the significant health differences between nose and mouth breathing. James Nestor, in his bestseller “Breath: The New Science of the Lost Art of Breathing,” expounds on the critical nature of our breathing patterns.

Manage the Stresses in Your Life

Chronic stress overburdens the immune system. Elevated stress chemicals like cortisol and noradrenaline inhibit Natural Killer (NK) cells from efficiently combating pathogens. To manage stress, consider hiring a consultant, delegating tasks, and empowering your team.

You Go Further in Life with Others Than on Your Own

Emotional intelligence (EI) greatly influences personal and business relationships. This skill is often rooted in early family experiences and is refreshed and refined during REM sleep. Poor sleep habits, such as consuming alcohol before bed or insufficient rest, can hamper this nightly emotional processing. Sean Stephenson, in “Sleep Smarter,” claims that quality sleep enhances interpersonal skills.

Build Cognitive Reserve and Enjoy More Life in Your Years

A dementia diagnosis is a significant concern for many. While medical treatments are limited, lifestyle changes can prevent cognitive decline. Psychiatrist Norman Doidge and neuroscientist Andrew Huberman emphasize the power of continuous learning and curiosity in maintaining brain health.

Hacking into Your Health Living Genes

Methylation, or the process of turning genes on or off, plays a pivotal role in our health. Recent studies have unveiled the potential of certain “dirty genes” like MTHFR, COMT, and PEMT that influence daily life. Techniques such as fasting, meditation, nature exposure, and a diet rich in antioxidants can optimize gene expression for better health and longevity.

Stand and Deliver: Sit Less and Enjoy More Vitality

As high-performing professionals, our needs differ from the average individual. Prolonged sitting can harm our vitality, with studies linking sedentary lifestyles to 4% of global deaths.

So Where Do You Go From Here?

  1. Schedule a comprehensive physical examination.  Do it TODAY.  
  2. Learn the language of your body by reading at least one book each on Sleep, Nutrition, and Exercise.
  3. Foster fitness relationships for support and motivation.  A few fitness pals goes a long way toward being engaged and successful at meeting your goals.     
  4. Prioritize sleep.  I cannot say it enough.  Just because it’s free…do not devalue it!  Sleep is necessary for healing and restoration.  
  5. Consider hiring a certified trainer, especially if you’re unfamiliar with exercise.  A trainer can help you meter your enthusiasm so avoid injury.
  6. Stay connected to trusted wellness partners like us!  We post on Instagram daily @fitspeakers and @lilgwellness.  
  7. Remember, balance is key.  Enjoy your health journey without becoming overly obsessive – you’ll burn out and fall off the wellness wagon. 

Read more about your well-being:  

7 Ways to Improve Your Health IMMEDIATELY – The Profitable Dentist

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