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Sensible Limits Make Good Sense

Armen Hareyan's picture

Doctors advise healthy exercise and sensible eating for healthy lyfestyle.

Q: How can I use the concept of "moderation" to help develop a healthier lifestyle?

A: By Manali Shendrikar, M.D., Staff Physician at Saint John's Health Center.

Moderate Approach: When Paula Golden and Bob Klein interviewed me on the TV show "Coffee Break" recently, Bob asked how my advice to a patient to "exercise as much as you can" squared with a philosophy of "everything in moderation." It was a terrific question. My use of the term "moderation," from a medical viewpoint, is meant to convey the idea of acting within sensible limits. It does not necessarily mean that you must scale back to achieve a balanced exercise program.

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Healthy Exercise: Bob has been a top professional athlete and keeps up a special physical fitness regimen as a matter of course. If you are a sedentary businessperson who hasn't taken a brisk walk in years, however, you'll have to work your way up to moderation.

When you come to see me and I make sure it's safe for you to begin a regular workout, I might tell you to make exercise a priority in your life. In reality, that might mean starting out with two hours of physical activity during the work week combined with a couple of weekend hours. That's hardly a rigorous exercise schedule. The point, though, is that you'll be on the road to better health.

Of course once you get in the habit, you'll soon find it was well worth the effort. Not to mention fun. When you have better health, you have greater happiness. Everything around you seems to fall into place. If you've got the okay from your own doctor to start a course of physical activity, isn't that a goal well worth aiming for?

Sensible Eating: One of the most satisfying aspects of my practice is being able to see several generations of a family develop through different life stages. It's gratifying to know that when I make a recommendation to a patient regarding nutrition that might help keep her cholesterol at a safe level, she could be introducing a useful dietary element into the lives of a husband and daughter who happen to be my patients as well.

Staying the course of moderation through regular exercise, and eating low fat, well-balanced meals is a terrific insurance policy against obesity and many other potentially harmful conditions.

The trick, of course, is to stay that course. That's simple, but it is not always easy. It is, however, one of the most important things you can start doing for yourself. Why not start today?