Your Family Health Made Easy
Welcome to January: The time of new beginnings. Where the slate is clean and anything is possible. Once the last toast has been uttered and the ink is dry on the final resolution, it’s time for action. Conventional wisdom (just Google it if you don’t believe me!) says it takes more than willpower to make, break or change a habit. It takes desire and time. Exactly how long depends on how strongly you are committed to the change and how deeply ingrained the behavior is you want to change. Ouch. No wonder it seems like we set the same goals year after year.
This year, why not focus on specific goals that can improve your family’s health? Even small changes can equal big results in the overall wellness of your family.
Steve Swift, a Tulsan and founder of WellQuest Medical & Wellness in Tulsa, believes that the wrap-around health services offered at WellQuest make more sense than the fragmented way that health care is traditionally delivered.
Years ago, when his children were young, Swift found himself frustrated with modern medicine’s lack of focus on wellness. As a long-time hospital and healthcare administrator, he understood why medical offices run the way they do – but that understanding didn’t mean that he agreed. “What happened to preventing illness?” Swift wondered. “Isn’t there a better way?”
This yearning for information on how to KEEP himself and his family healthy led Swift to develop and open the first WellQuest Medical & Wellness facility in Arkansas. Offering primary care, pediatrics, wellness, corporate wellness, anti-aging, weight loss, nutrition and fitness consulting under one roof, WellQuest is dedicated to healing, prevention and education – with an emphasis on prevention and education.
“Natural immunity and balance,” said Dr. Todd Rippy, a WellQuest pediatrician, “is the body’s best defense. If we can get there, we can focus on staying there.”
Dr. Amber Bazler, another physician on staff at the new Tulsa facility, feels that the integrated nature of WellQuest’s approach is needed today. Specialists can more easily communicate with one another as they work with patients. Members of the medical team are encouraged to slow down and listen, often resulting in dots being connected within the diagnosis that might have otherwise been overlooked. Every step of the way, education is stressed.
When making lifestyle changes such as following a nutrient-rich diet or engaging in a new exercise program, individuals and families should begin with accurate information.
Dr. Bazler suggests starting out with a general health exam, including an analysis of current body composition – the amount of muscle, fat and water in the body. From there, she says that individuals can follow an action plan including four key areas, which can be customized to meet specific goals for individuals or families.
These areas, along with some general information, include:
You are what you eat! Enjoy a variety of foods in moderation. Incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables and nuts. Avoid refined carbohydrates and saturated fats. The less processed the food, the better for your health.
Sleep is vitally important to health, yet usually the first area to be neglected. Lack of sleep can lead to a host of medical issues including depression, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and weight gain. Sleep deprivation can also mimic the symptoms of other problems such as ADHD in children. Adults need anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Children and adolescents need more: nine to 11 hours.
Exercise is recommended to treat and/or prevent the vast majority of chronic medical conditions. There are plenty of ways to incorporate exercise into your family’s daily life. From taking the stairs and riding a bike to having a dance party, or just playing outside, the key is to MOVE your body each day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that children and adolescents do 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day. Adults should be doing 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, including two or more days of muscle-strengthening activities.
Toxins come in to our lives in a variety of forms. If you smoke, quit (and if you don’t, then don’t start the habit). Limit caffeine intake. Use sunscreen every day of the year. Drink plenty of water. We all have stress, but where you can, reduce stress levels in your life.
So this year, arm yourself with information, create a plan and make it happen! Ready, set, GO!
Shelley Campbell is a local freelance writer and mom of two boys.