I've already learned a number of things by having Dr Les contribute to my blog:
- I learn something new with each of his posts that I will integrate into my life;
- I've learned he has a much larger vocabulary than I and I'll have to pull out the dictionary more often when writing future posts to keep up;
- I've learned how nice it is to have someone of his caliber share the writing load.
Enjoy the Ride ..... Rbb
What can we do to be Healthier?
Salutogenesis is a term coined by Aaron Antonovsky. The word comes from the root salus meaning invulnerability and genesis meaning formation. Salutogenesis asks the question, “What can we do to be healthier?” It is the opposite of pathogenesis which asks the question, “What causes us to be sick!”
I would like to dig deeper into these elements of good health. Speaking of digging deeper, a metaphor for great health is fluffy deep snow! Let me explain.
Meterology is obviously not a perfect science. The forecast was for a return of El Nino - a long cold winter with lots of snow in the Rockies. Each year we buy a family ski pass at Nakiska. Just 45 minutes from Calgary, Nakiska provides a fantastic day of exercise, fresh air and family fun. http://www.skinakiska.com/ Typically Nakiska opens on a man-made snow base with hard-packed cruising runs throughout the season. Fun, but it doesn’t compare to the feeling of floating down the mountain carving turns with bursts of powder spraying in your face.
Over the years, I have had the good fortune to ski untracked slopes of deep, fresh snow. If you have ever skied fresh powder, you know what I’m talking about. Great snow comes from the perfect combination of moisture, temperature and wind. These factors and other intangibles produce light, fluffy snowflakes – the kind that skiers love to ski on. These snowflakes are very different in composition and performance characteristics than manmade snow.
Similarily, body composition and performance characteristics of healthy people are very different than that of unhealthy people. When we measure all the factors: body composition, blood chemistry, range of motion, movement patterns, performance characteristics correlated to age and gender and then look at the combination of other factors like: the interplay of genetics, nutrition, activity, rest, mental attitude, hormonal balance and nervous system function, the degree of health and wellness becomes apparent. And then there are the other factors – the intangible ones that contribute to a full well-lived life like empowerment, coherence, a close network of family and friends, a sense of purpose, a sense of community….
Obviously, the number of permutations and combinations of factors makes it impossible to have a specific one-size- fits-all health formula or like the weather to predict with complete accuracy who will get sick and who will not. There is an explosion of research and information which, while sometimes helpful, is often contradictory and confusing for anyone trying to make good lifestyle choices. But if we ask the Salutogenesis question, “What can we do to be healthier?” we need to look at all factors – the tangible ones and the intangible ones.
Ford Davidson 2004
The Salutogenesis question I have for you today is, “Are you empowered and making conscious and informed health-promoting choices?
Be empowered – here are some ideas to start
- Create a binder and collect the data from your lab tests – cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, BMI (check the excellent blog post Rob posted a few months ago: http://www.nofinishlineblog.com/2010/11/know-your-numbers.html
- Track and analyze your diet http://www.myfooddiary.com/);
- Get a baseline fitness test http://www.sportdevelopment.com/
- Have your posture and spine checked by a chiropractor http://www.acac.com/ ;
- Have a wellness check up with your family physician;
- Volunteer in your community www.volunteercalgary.ab.ca/;
- Organize an activity with family or friends to ski, skate or hike
I plan to share with you in future posts my insights from reviews of the research, caring for patients and what I have learned from the lifestyles of people with great health.
Remember all that is important counts, but all that is important can’t be counted!
Adding Life to Your Years ..... Dr. Les