#13 – Health practice and happiness

A. Introduction

When you put your swimsuit on, do you purposely close your eyes when you walk past a mirror? Everyone in this practice is a health professional. In each level I’ll give you more information – and more opportunities to get into shape. Improving your health is like any self-improvement effort, you need a good reason or you’ll fail. Look at the following list to help.

  • Increase Fitness Level
  • Improve Quality of Life
  • Lose Weight
  • Was told by Personal Physician that I needed to
  • Reduce Stress
  • Have more energy
  • Lower Blood Pressure
  • Sleep better
  • Lower Cholesterol
  • Increased Self Esteem
  • To Live Longer
  • To Feel Better
  • To be able to enjoy activities more
  • To Look Better
  • Avoid colds and other Health Problems
  • Increase your strength

Okay, now that you’ve got at least one personal good reason; decide of these categories you fit into (based on a AP wire story).

A. Healthy and Wealthy (45 million: largely middle age college degree, professional, high income)
1. Careful with diet, limit fats, get enough fiber vitamins, and minerals
2. Regular physicals
3. Maintain proper weight, wear seat belts, exercise
4. Drink some alcohol, not to excess

B. Safe and Satisfied (13 million: largely over 50, slightly below average in education and income, most have unskilled jobs)
1. Limit fat, sugar, but higher cholesterol
2. Best group at exercise and weight control
3. High stress levels, see dentists less, sleep less

C. Sedentary but Striving (14.5 million: 40+, mostly women, minorities, low incomes)
1. Overweight and want to do better
2. Avoid salt, fat, cholesterol, but overweight
3. Little exercise
4. Drinks little, gets physicals

D. Young and Reckless (68 million: younger than 35, slightly higher than average income and education)
1. Know about, but don’t practice good health practices
2. Exercise regularly
3. Eat what tastes good

E. Fat and frustrated (13 million: mostly women, least educated, usually minorities)
1. Want to be healthy, don’t know how
2. Always on a diet, never succeeding
3. Most are overweight
4. Little exercise

F. Confused and indifferent
1. Don’t know how to be healthy and don’t care
2. Eat lots of fat, salt, sugar
3. Overweight, seldom wear seat belts
4. Seldom have physicals


So, what kind of shape are you in? If you said anything less than great, you’re short changing yourself, your family, and the people you work with. With work, kids, house, spouse and holidays it often seems like you are the last one who gets any time to yourself, but these are just excuses. You can use the same determination you’re using to work through the levels to build your career to improve your level of health and fitness.

The YMCA understands the time crunch. They work with professional women like yourself who know that being healthy is important, but are having trouble finding the time. We also understand your time crunch. That’s why we are willing to provide you a personal trainer. The advantages of a personal trainer are:
1. will assess you thoroughly and design a training program that meets your specific needs
2. custom tailored to your lifestyle and location – you will probably prefer to exercise at home
3. show you the proper way to exercise to avoid injuries
4. over time, your trainer will assess your progress and change your program

In this level there are 2 activities to complete – filling out the confidential health appraisal questionnaire and getting a physical at the YMCA. The health appraisal questionnaire asks questions about all aspects of your lifestyle regarding your health, for example: What do you eat/drink? How do you deal with stress? How often do you go to the doctor? All in order to assess your “health age” as compared with your actual age.

A major part of your health age is your current level of fitness. This is where the physical comes in. We will pay for you to get a physical at the YMCA. It will last about 30 minutes and you will work with a qualified physical trainer who will:
1. accurately record your health measurements
2. answer your questions
3. give you a program to reach your goals

Now it’s time for you to call the YMCA . Arrange a time to drive there for your free health assessment. Be sure to take your questionnaire from level 1 along with you.

This step is not a requirement. Your health is your own responsibility, but I hope you will take advantage of the opportunity. After all, doesn’t your family deserve it?

C. Starting your exercise program

Improving your physical health takes a big commitment. Most of us haven’t exercised on a regular basis since high school gym class (isn’t that an awful thought?)

Now that you’ve been to the YMCA, and you have your goals, it’s time to get started.

You may find it hard to believe, but your body enjoys a workout. When you exercise, your body produces dopamine, a pleasure sensation. Now this won’t happen right away, but it will happen.

The key is to find several forms of exercise you enjoy – and do them for at least 30 – 60 minutes 3-4 times every week. Here are some tips to help.
1. Get your doctor’s approval. his physical should include a resting and a stress EKG.
2. Find someone to exercise with – You can look forward to the time you’ll spend together, and the time passes more quickly.
3. Help someone else that’s starting out. It’s harder to fail when you are being looked up to as a good example.
4. Combine exercise with another activity you enjoy. Wear headphones or if indoors, read a book (stationary bike) or watch TV. 30 minutes almost everyday is enough
5. Have several different types of exercises -jogging, swimming, tennis, weights, etc.-and alternate them. Doing 40 minutes of step aerobics improved strength less than 20 minutes of step aerobics and 20 minutes of weight training
6. Don’t overdo. You should be able to talk with the person you are exercising with. If you are out of breath, you’re exercising too hard.
7. Don’t expect to form an exercise habit until you’ve been at it regularly for 6 – 12 months.
8. Any exercise counts!
a. Walk around the block over lunch
b. Yard work (particularly mowing and raking)

Surprisingly, exercise is more a mental activity than a physical activity. Once you have decided that you can do it and that you’re willing to pay the physical price to do it, you will do it.

Stop now and think about what makes you unhappy about yourself physically. Accept where you are and don’t us the excuses “I’m too old.”, “I’m too far out of shape.”, “I don’t have the time.” or the 1000 others. Take control of your health and happiness by thinking about what causes you to feel good about yourself. When you exercise, make sure that you feel rewarded mentally by those thoughts you value.

Today is a great day to begin becoming physically/mentally fit. The amazing fact is – ITS EASIER THAN YOU THINK! First, set aside ½ hour each day (same time so it becomes a habit).

Consider walking as exercise. This is the best stress reliever/body toner available. Here are some tips:
1. Begin with 5 minutes of stretching
2. Walk for 20 minutes
a. Use good posture. Touch your chin in and keep your shoulders back. Tuck your bottom and stomach in.
b. Swing your arms. Holding them at 90 degrees is the ideal work out. Strong forward and back movements will double your exercise value.
c. Make sure your feet are parallel. Toes in or out puts lots of stain on your knees and ankles.
d. Take a long stride and put some pop in your step. Land on your heal and rotate up to your toe to kick off.
3. Cool down for 5 minutes with more stretches.

See the article in the original manual for a walking program that fits you.

D. Hepatitis Immunizations completed

As part of your health and happiness working in a dental practice, all clinical staff are required to complete their Hepatitis series and provide documentation to management of this series. Secretarial staff may go through a Hepatitis series on a voluntary basis.

To get signed off on this level, you must provide documentation that all three of your Hepatitis shots are completed.

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