Dr. Bell's Blog

What is Your Health Standard?

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Is it average?

I hope not.

Here’s why…

In life, being average may seem like a good idea. I think it’s actually a bad idea. When it comes to your health it is a VERY bad idea. We need to raise our standards when it comes to our health. How many of you have said before “this is the year I am going to get healthier!” Did you do it? Likely not. The standards most have set for yourself over the years as to what is acceptable are far too low. Why do we resort back to them? Because it’s comfortable.

Here is What Average Looks Like:

The facts aren’t pretty about the health of an average American. Here are what the latest health statistics show…

  • 80% of adults do not meet basic standards for aerobic and muscle strengthening physical activity.

  • 1 in 3 adults (roughly 92 million) have at least 1 type of cardiovascular disease.

  • Less than 3% of Americans meet the basic standards for what is considered a “healthy lifestyle”.

  • Roughly 40% of adult Americans are now considered obese.

  • 40% of Americans get less than average recommended sleep per night.

Try Out Some New Standards:

Making a shift in what you hold yourself to for a standard of health can take hard work, but it is absolutely worth it and necessary. Here is a look at a few minimum standards for your health and well-being:

  • A minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous exercise.

  • A body fat percentage under 20% for men, and under 30% for women.

  • DO NOT smoke, and keep alcohol consumption to a moderate to minimum level.

  • Get 8+ hours of sleep per night.

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “The things easy to do, are also easy not to do.” Essentially what he is saying is the things you should do are just as easy not to do. Because that is the case, we stay stuck in our bad habits. If you want more than average, if you want your health and well-being to be great for years to come, you MUST do the little things that are both easy to do and easy not to do. It’s going to take time to develop better health habits. I want this blog to be an encouragement to you. You can do this. Take things one day at a time so you can build a consistency that will help you create a new health standard. This new standard for your health will help you to…

LIVE well. BE well.

How To Know If You Are Making The Correct Health Care Choices?

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When it comes to your healthcare, making the right choices for both you and your family can at times be equal parts frustrating and confusing. Not knowing what else to do is a story I often hear from new patients in the office. It is a sad and lonely place to be I’m sure. You feel helpless. The other side of that coin is sifting through all the information you are told about taking care of your health. It can be like drinking from a fire hose.

What is right for you?

Are the opinions you are getting biased?

I recently had a young mother bring her child into the office who was suffering from ear infections. Luckily, as a patient herself, she knew that chiropractic care can be very helpful for ear infections. However, her child’s pediatrician had other thoughts. He told her it wouldn’t help, and advised that she not bring him in. Well, you can see she made her own decision there. This goes to show there can be misconceptions or misinformation out there at times that can make things confusing. This is not meant as a negative on pediatricians or physicians (I have good professional relationships with many of them). This also does not mean that their recommendations are always bad because they are not. However, it is reasonable that you can have a conversation with any of your doctors (including me) as to whether their recommendations are a good fit for you or your family.

How Can You Take Control?

Be Your Own Advocate: Ultimately you should and do hold the cards on the final decision making when it comes to your health. Gather all the information you think is correct and unbiased, and make your decision. It is your body and your life. Don’t let anyone force their agenda upon you.

Stick To Your Values: It is completely normal to have different values than someone else, and this includes people within our own family. This doesn’t necessarily make one right or wrong, just your own preference. Stick to doing what feels right in your gut.

Get Back To The Basics: Sometimes the best answers are the simplest. Taking regular care of your health with diet, exercise, chiropractic, etc., can help keep your body healthy. The less you need to rely on “disease care” and instead focus on nurturing your body to prevent a health crisis, the better.

Just like a lot of situations in life, sometimes you don’t truly know in the moment if you are making the correct decision. Hindsight can be 20/20. This should not stop you from making the best decision possible. Remember to follow your gut, and in the long term, more often than not, it will help you and your family to…

LIVE well. BE well.

9 Tips To Turn Back The Clock On Aging

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When I speak of aging, I’m not just talking about it in the vain sense of the word. I am speaking more about the integrity of each and every cell in our body. The fundamental key factor in how we age lies in our DNA. This does not mean it is solely out of our control. The chromosomes in our body carry detailed genetic information. The end caps of each chromosome strand are called telomeres (think of them like the plastic end caps on your shoelaces). When the telomeres begin to degrade, the DNA begins to age and die off, ultimately causing aging. This is a natural process, but the speed at which it happens it what we can control. Here are 9 ways to help control how fast those telomeres degrade and therefore slow the cellular aging process.

  1. Key Supplements: These include Vitamin C, Resveratrol (antioxidant found in red wine), EGCG (antioxidant found in green tea), Zinc, and CoQ10. These 5 supplements along with many others help to combat cellular damage.

  2. Sleep: I have well chronicled the need for regular, quality sleep in my previous blog posts. This is the time when your body rebuilds and repairs. Without regularly getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep, you will be severely limiting your body’s ability to do so properly.

  3. Flex Your Mind Muscle: Part of anti-aging is also about keeping your brain healthy. One way to do this is to constantly challenge yourself with something new. I recently read an article about former Buffalo Bills coach Marv Levy. He is now 93 years old, and mentioned how he just started taking classes at Northeastern University. You are never too old to challenge yourself with something new.

  4. Keep Your Body Moving: The research is unequivocal that people who exercise regularly have less telomere shortening than those who do not. If you find an activity you enjoy and a partner to keep you accountable, you’ll be far more likely to stick with the process of exercising on a regular basis.

  5. Don’t Retire: Research shows the average person dies within 5 years of the day they retire. They lose their passion and the “why” in their existence. I’m not saying that you have to stay at your current job until you die. What I am saying is to find something you are passionate about (this can change over the years). Find something you can do for a lifetime, and it will stimulate your mind and soul to keep you feeling young.

  6. Watch Your Waistline: This is another one I am sure you love to hear from me. Just as with exercise, the research strongly shows a correlation with obesity and telomere length.

  7. Face Your Stress Head On: Stress not only kills, as the saying goes, it also ages you. Take control of your on-going stress level. Chronic stress will also lead to premature aging, so much so that research indicates it may reduce your lifespan by as much as 10 years.

  8. Laugh, Play…Have Fun: Engaging in activities that are fun, those that make you smile and laugh, will not only get you moving but also help your aging. You don’t have to be a kid to have some fun. Hey…fun should never end! By committing to having fun on a regular basis it can go a long way towards helping maintain your physical and mental agility.

  9. Regular Chiropractic Care: I had to put this one in here, simply because I know it is true. I live it every day. I see the effects it can have (and not have) on your overall quality and length of life. Some of the healthiest looking, feeling, and acting people I know are those that have been regularly adjusted for many years. This includes myself.

Living a life, one where we age gracefully, takes constant and never-ending work. That may sound daunting, but it sure beats the alternative. When it becomes part of your daily regimen, you may actually start to enjoy the process. One thing I know is you will definitely enjoy the outcome.

These 9 tips to turn the clock back on aging will help you…

LIVE well. BE well.

Intermittent Fasting: The Science Behind Why It Works

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Intermittent fasting is something that may be new to some of you, but has been growing in popularity in recent years. It is something that I have been doing for a couple years now, not for weight loss, but just for overall health and well-being. One of the major benefits day to day that I have seen is with my energy level. Today we will take a look at why this is the case, along with many other benefits that have now been proven through scientific research.

Throughout the years, we have all been led to believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. To some degree I don’t refute that, however it depends on what time you eat breakfast, and what time your last meal was the previous day. Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating where you cycle through periods of eating and fasting. The most common way to do this is known as the 16:8 method. Simply put, over the course of a 24 hour day, you fast for 16 hours, and condense your eating hours down to 8. You can do this in whatever manner works best with your schedule, but for me it means I only consume food between roughly 11 am and 7pm. During the remaining time you are fasting. No snacks during this time. You should drink water or unsweetened tea/coffee (no artificial sweeteners) still during this time, though. Of course, there are random days when intermittent fasting doesn’t happen, but as long as the majority of the time it does, you will see amazing results. Word of warning, it will not be an easy thing to start. You have likely trained your body by regularly giving it food during your waking hours. It will be a struggle, but after a week or two it will adapt, and you will not only be used to it, but love it!

How It Works, And What Are The Benefits?

As your body adapts to intermittent fasting, your blood levels of insulin will drop significantly, and your human growth hormone levels increase (research shows by as much as 5-fold). I don’t want to bore you with the specific scientific details as to why, but these two things combined will help you burn fat and lose weight. Two of the other important benefits revolve around cellular repair and gene expression. Essentially during intermittent fasting your cells initiate an important cellular repair process, and change which genes they express. In a nut shell this helps with cellular longevity (slows down aging) and protection against disease. All of this can help prevent/reverse diabetes, reduce inflammation, improve heart health, reduce your risk of cancer, and reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.

In closing, even if you are not looking to lose weight, who doesn’t want to live the longest and healthiest life you can? Be sure during your 8 hours or less of eating each day, that it is filled with healthy nutritious foods. You can’t expect great results if you are still filling your body with garbage. Combine this with a regular cardio/strength training workout, a healthy amount of regular sleep, and of course regular chiropractic check-ups to keep your nervous system healthy, and you will be well on your way to living the long and healthy life you deserve. (As always, be sure and consult your primary care physician before beginning intermittent fasting to be sure it will not have a negative impact on any current health problems you have or medications you take.)

LIVE well. BE well.