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The Long Game

We've heard a lot lately regarding how certain nations play a long game in terms of regional influence and global geopolitics. The concept of a so-called long game is interesting in that it implies a more than common degree of patience and a commitment to outcomes that are evaluated over decades and generations, rather than months or years. Importantly, strategies and tactics that produce desired results in the international arena may be applied with success to the long-term health and well-being of ourselves and our families.

In terms of good health, a person's unfolding strategy always consists of putting into place lifestyle behaviors that appropriately support the desired long-term goals. For example, eating a healthy diet and engaging in regular vigorous exercise have been proved of great benefit in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases.1,2  The primary categories of chronic diseases include cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, overweight/obesity, and cancer. Most person's long-term health goals would naturally focus on avoiding the onset of these various disorders and diseases or preventing their progression to a chronic state. If one is late in arriving at a decision to engage in self-care, as frequently happens in our society, the good news is that lifestyle behavior change is always beneficial. What is required, for all of us, is to adopt the perspective of the long game.

For example, obtaining the necessary long-term benefits of an exercise program requires a certain amount of dedication and persistence. Any exercise is good, but regular exercise is much better. Our bodies are dynamic and adapt positively to physiological and mechanical stresses, such as the stresses imposed by an exercise program. But that same dynamism will cause a metabolic breakdown of muscle and bone if those tissues are not being worked and utilized consistently. Our bodies are very smart and are designed to work efficiently. Biochemical components of structures that are assessed to be unnecessary will be redirected to better purpose elsewhere. In other words, the "use it or lose it" principle applies. If we want to build strong muscles and bones that will serve us well and help us avoid injury over the course of many years, we need to engage in regular vigorous exercise ongoingly.

Thus, committing to the long game supports our desire for a long life of good health.3  There can be gaps, of course. People are very busy and there may be stretches, even lasting months, when there just isn't time enough to do necessary exercise. The solution is to minimize these gaps as much as possible, make sure the gaps don't become the new routine, and re-engage in regular exercise as soon as feasible. Adherence to our long game strategy will help achieve across-the-board wins in the areas of health and well-being.

Regular chiropractic care is an important part of the long view regarding your family's health and well-being. Even though we engage in healthy lifestyle activities, events frequently occur that have a negative impact on our health. The events themselves may be not obvious, hidden from view as a result of originating in our day-to-day environment or seemingly harmless mechanical stresses as we bump into things, trip over a crack in the sidewalk, or pick up a laundry basket filled with clothes.

But these little insults often have a cumulative effect in causing spinal misalignments and nerve interference. We're not aware of the health effects of nerve interference at the beginning. Over time, nerve irritation that results from spinal misalignments may cause neck pain, back pain, and headaches, and even problems with the digestive, endocrine, and immune systems. Regular chiropractic care, as a consistent part of your family's routine, helps prevent a wide range of problems from getting started, and helps us get better faster from the problems that may have brought us to our chiropractor's office in the first place.

  1. Engberg E, et al: The effects of health counselling and exercise training on self-rated health and well-being in middle-aged men: a randomised trial. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 2016 Apr 5. [Epub ahead of print]
  2. Davies MJ, et al: A community based primary prevention programme for type 2 diabetes integrating identification and lifestyle intervention for prevention: the Let's Prevent Diabetes cluster randomised controlled trial. Prev Med 84:48-56, 2016
  3. Pandey A, et al: Relationship Between Physical Activity, Body Mass Index, and Risk of Heart Failure. J Am Coll Cardiol 69(9):1143-1146, 2017

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