Before I start talking about wellness, I want you to know where I’m coming from. I grew up in a chiropractic household. I was adjusted by my father on the day I was born, and have been adjusted regularly in the 57 years that have followed.
I’ve never had or needed a regular medical doctor. My primary care physician, if you will, has always been a doctor of chiropractic except when faced with a health issue clearly beyond the average DC’s scope (for example, a very suspicious mole I had to have removed). Drugs were never the solution, except when I had my four wisdom teeth pulled, and then only for that day.
Nutrition was always a focus in our house. Now, as a parent, I’ve made it even more of a focus than when I was growing up. Eating right and taking vitamins are just as routine as brushing our teeth. My father understood the value of supplements, especially vitamin C. He had an understanding of their value long before there was any research to support it. This was back in the days when the medical community was suggesting vitamins had no benefit and were actually a type of health fraud.
All of the above has been handed down to my children. It is a part of their lives and I expect them to pass it on to their children.
What’s Missing? Exercise
What my father didn’t teach is exercise. Those who knew my father know that he was chronically overweight. The last time he did any serious exercise was probably when he was in college. I’m convinced his lack of fitness contributed to his death at age 61.
Here in the U.S., we are some of the most unfit in the world. The latest figures show that 33.9 percent of adults are obese and another 34.4 percent are overweight.1 That means less than 32 percent of the U.S. adult population is at or below their ideal weight. This doesn’t even take into account fitness levels, as we all know you can maintain a healthy weight but still be unfit.
Data on America’s children shows the same disturbing trend. More than 10 percent of those ages 2-5 years old are obese. After age 5, the percentage almost doubles to just under 20 percent obese.2
Over the past 57 years, I have met a lot of DCs and frankly, cardio-fitness / exercise doesn’t seem to be a wellness priority for most practices. We all know chiropractic and nutrition are not enough to achieve complete wellness. Every patient, obese, overweight or otherwise, should be given a weekly exercise regimen that will help them lead a long, healthy life.
There is no question about this. Enough research has already been conducted to demonstrate that regular exercise is the only way to live a healthy life, both physically and mentally. Exercise has been shown to reduce the risks of arthritis, various forms of cancer, cognitive impairment, diabetes, dementia, fibromyalgia, kidney disease, stroke, and various causes of mortality. Exercise can also increase your life expectancy and even your intelligence.3
Keep Your Patients Fit and Your Practice Healthy
In short, we must include exercise recommendations if we want our patients to stay on the path to wellness. These recommendations need to be specific to the individual, and must include a discussion about weight, eating habits and nutrition. Patients should be monitored to ensure they are still exercising and that what they are doing is still appropriate.
Fit patients are walking billboards for chiropractic. Friends and co-workers will ask a fit person how they stay in shape. Their answer should include you, their doctor of chiropractic. Fit patients can reveal a great deal about you and your practice. Unfit patients can do the same.
- Ogden CL, Carroll MD. Prevalence of Overweight, Obesity, and Extreme Obesity Among Adults: United States, Trends 1960–1962 Through 2007–2008. Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, June 2010.
- Ogden CL, Carroll MD. Prevalence of Obesity Among Children and Adolescents: United States, Trends 1963–1965 Through 2007–2008. Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, June 2010.
- See my Wellness Report blog for summaries of the latest studies suggesting the benefits of exercise. http://blog.toyourhealth.com/wrblog/tag/exercise/
Click here for more information about Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher.