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M. P. Ravindra Nathan
HEALTH & WELLNESS MAN'S SEARCH FOR PRACTICAL IMMORTALITY - PART 13
FINAL ROUNDUP AND TAKE HOME POINTS - 2

By M. P. RAVINDRA NATHAN, MD, FRCP (LONDON AND CANADA), FACP, FACC

Your body and your health are entirely your responsibility; so, honor your life with consistent healthful practices. Interestingly, these also are good for planet earth. Human sustainability is necessary for environmental sustainability. Here are some more take home points for healthy living and graceful aging.

1. Be optimistic' positive thinkers always live long and are successful in life.

2. Two drugs seem to have made quite a difference in our search for longevity - Aspirin and Statins (like Lipitor, Crestor, etc. used in the treatment of high cholesterol). So, plug in these two drugs whenever possible. As you well know, they protect your cardiovascular system preventing strokes and heart attacks. Of course, check with your doctor first.

3. Keep your stress levels down. Don't get distressed for minor matters. If you can't change your fate, change your attitude. Yogi Amrit Desai's technique of 'Meditation in Motion' is all about keeping calm even during the emotional vicissitudes of your daily life.

4. Inculcate spirituality. Apart from achieving universal harmony and all other lofty goals, your mind will always be at rest. So much already has been written about "prayers being helpful for healing." Invoke that divinity within yourself, perhaps the ultimate basis and essence of all reality.

5. Practice yoga. You don't have to go for a costly professional retreat or training programs. Breathing exercises (pranayama), Asana practice and meditation, all part of yoga, will certainly help you with mental and physical relaxation.

6. Follow doctors' orders and don't be a skeptic when he/she gives you instructions. Often, patients don't hear the whole advice from their doctor; they just hear what they want to hear. Lack of compliance leading to occurrence or recurrence of major illnesses is quite common.

7. Screening tests can be medical miracles, so be knowledgeable about them. Screening mammograms, pap smears, PSA tests for the prostate, etc. have been invaluable. There are many more of these tests although sometimes they can over-utilized. So, discuss with your doctor.

8. Listen to pleasant music - not the stadium strength loud rap music but more of Beethoven or Balamuralikrishna or classical Yesudas. It reduces your heart rate and BP and improves the vascular reactivity, all beneficial for the body.

9. Finally, don't forget the 'mind-body' connection: Hostile emotions and cynical attitudes can cause biological responses that lead to heart disease and many other health problems. "I think mind is where heart disease begins for many people," says the famous research cardiologist Dean Ornish.

It is time that you know a little bit of your own health. With computers being available in every home, library and workplace these days, the world of "e-health" is expanding for readers searching for health information. "Dr. Google" is a consultant who makes free house calls but don't forget to talk to your real doctor.

Well, you may not like old age, but sure it is coming. But don't let it influence your mind negatively, it is always a good time to enjoy if you keep yourself healthy and energetic. That should be your focus. The secret of the success of many who have crossed 90 or even 100 is that that they had somehow maintained healthy habits over a long period.

They are always interested in their surroundings and often involved in local affairs, community activities, etc. In any case, no matter what you do, life goes by you, sometimes like a hurricane when you should have the right props to grab on to. At other times, you may be able to float along peacefully. As Dr. Robert Schuller, the famous evangelist and motivational speaker said during his address to Midwestern farmers when they had a bad harvest season and poverty was looming in the horizon, "Tough times never last, but tough people do."

So, now you know. Best wishes in your quest for longevity.

This concludes the series on "Man's Search for Practical Immortality"

Cardiologist Dr. M. P. Ravindra Nathan, director of Hernando Heart Clinic in Brooksville, lives in Brooksville.


FITNESS COLUMN


PILATES - HOLLYWOOD'S FAVORITE TYPE OF EXERCISE
By ACHUT MASHRUWALA

Pilates dramatically transforms the way your body looks, feels and performs. It builds strength without excess bulk, creating a sleek, toned body with slender thighs and a flat abdomen. It teaches body awareness, good posture and easy, graceful movement. Pilates improves flexibility, agility and economy of motion. It can even help alleviate back pain.

Pilates develops a strong "core," or center of the body. The core consists of the deep abdominal muscles along with the muscles closest to the spine. Pilates' exercises develop core control, integrating the trunk, pelvis and shoulder girdle.

Conventional workouts tend to build short, bulky muscles - the type most prone to injury. Pilates elongates and strengthens, developing muscle elasticity and joint mobility. A body with balanced strength and flexibility is less likely to be injured.

In conventional workouts, weak muscles tend to get weaker and strong muscles tend to get stronger. The result is muscular imbalance - a primary cause of injury and chronic back pain. Pilates conditions the whole body - even the ankles and feet. No muscle group is over trained or under trained. Your entire musculature is evenly balanced and conditioned, helping you enjoy daily activities and sports with greater ease and less chance of injury.

Pilates' exercises train several muscle groups at once in smooth, continuous movements. By developing proper technique, you can actually re-train your body to move in safer, more efficient patterns of motion - invaluable for injury recovery, sports performance, good posture and optimal health.

Pilates gets your mind in tune with your body. By emphasizing proper breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment, and complete concentration on smooth, flowing movement, you become acutely aware of how your body feels, where it is in space, and how to control its movement. The quality of movement is valued over quantity of repetitions. Proper breathing is essential. Correct breathing helps you execute movements with maximum power and efficiency. Last but not least, learning to breathe properly can reduce stress.

No other exercise system is so gentle to your body while giving it a challenging workout. Many of the exercises are performed in reclining or sitting positions, and most are low impact and partially weight bearing. Pilates is used in many physical therapy facilities to rehabilitate injuries.

The benefits of Pilates:

Builds strength without "bulking up"

Increases flexibility and agility

Develops optimal core control

Creates flat abdominals, slender thighs & strong back

A refreshing mind-body workout

Challenging, yet safe.

Many marketing tools are available for Pilates exercises. There are a variety of visuals and music available to practice Pilates at home. However, I prefer joining classes or fitness professional supervision for proper exercise routine. The improper movements may cause injuries and does not give wanted results.

Share your exercise experience and health-related stories by e-mailing andy@fitnessguruone.com




Payal Patel
TOILET TRAINING
By PAYAL PATEL, M.D.

There comes a time in every toddler's life when parents feel it is the right time to start potty training. Therefore, many parents come prepared with a slew of questions about the right time for their child and how to proceed so as not to instill a fear of toilet training.

First, you have to assess whether your child is ready to toilet train or not. This is evident by the child demonstrating the ability to understand what pee-pee, poo-poo, potty or whatever term is used. The readiness is usually demonstrated at 15-18 months of age. Most children are ready by the time they are 2 years old to proceed to be completely trained and most children can be trained by the time they are 3 years old.

A child has to be able to understand what the toilet is for, and this can be learned by watching older siblings or parents using the potty. Also, a child signifies readiness to train when he or she can tell the difference between a dry and wet diaper and shows interest in changing so they are dry. Many children actually are able to tell you when they are about to wet their diaper or when they have to stool as well.

To help your child, read toilet-training books so they understand what they will have to do soon. Let them play with older children who are toilet trained so they see that it will be OK when they use the toilet. Teach them how the toilet works. Be positive and supportive of their trial and errors, and don't get frustrated, which they will be able to sense.

The best way to start training your child is by praising them when they are able to tell you if they want to pee pee or poop. Do not scold or punish them if they hesitate; instead, be patient and try to make it fun. Buy a potty seat together and let the child know why you are doing it. Let them feel like they are in control by purchasing the seat, bringing it home and then experimenting with it.

Let them sit on it with their clothes to get a feel of what it will be when they are ready. Praise them for doing it. Talk about a plan where action will entitle them to a reward such as stickers, or healthy treats such as raisins, crackers, etc. Practice first when you notice your child either saying pee pee or has signs they want to void or stool, and lead him to the potty. Encourage him to take his diaper off and sit on the potty. Try to make it comfortable by either holding a favorite stuffed animal, a toy or even reading their favorite book.

If they are able to do it, praise and reward him appropriately. If it does not go as planned, reassure your child that it's OK and to try again next time.

Your child may continue to have accidents during the day, which is perfectly normal. Let he or she know its OK and mommy or daddy is not mad, and that he/she will get it eventually. Once the child consistently uses the toilet, you can use pull-ups to encourage and give them a sense they are a big boy or girl. If your child refuses to train, stop training, until a few months later, or when they feel ready.

Dr. Payal Patel is a board-certified pediatrician at Sunshine Pediatrics, 18928 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Suite 102, Lutz. For information, call (813) 948-2679.



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