“The best time to plant a tree is 100 years ago, the second best time is now.”

– Chinese Proverb

 

As I write this the world is coming out of the daily announcement pandemonium of COVID-19. Soon, if not already, the world will shift its attention back to the biggest health challenges of our time. Sure, COVID and other viruses will have a revived level of respect and attention that they have not had since the first half of the 20th Century and the risk of more outbreaks in the future remains, but we will steadily and surely re-evaluate what the biggest risks to our health are in Australia. These diseases remain: heart disease (all forms), cancer, diabetes, and dementia or what we as Exercise Physiologists like to call, preventable diseases.

It’s time we reminded ourselves of the best things to do to ensure we are decreasing our risk of what are the most likely killers in Australia, not just the most recent one or the one that pop culture media has decided to focus on.

 

Why are these diseases preventable?

These diseases are preventable because we have long known the risk factors for their development. These risk factors continue to be evaluated and whilst the science is always improving itself, some have remained unchanged for decades. Risk factors like smoking, unhealthy body weight, unhealthy body fat percentage, sedentary lifestyle or limited exercise, high alcohol consumption and an unhealthy diet remain as important as ever. These risk factors are the precipitants to all the above lifestyle diseases in varying ratios.

So Why Does Our Team Wish We Met you 10 Years Ago?

Because we know that prevention is better than the cure. For years, I have repeated this mantra to clients, “Everyone thanks the firefighter but no one thanks the smoke alarm”. In this metaphor, your Exercise Physiologist is the smoke alarm. The firefighter is your surgeon or endocrinologist or neurologist or cardiologist or the person you depend on for help once you already have a disease.

 

“… we know that prevention is better than the cure.”

 

So, we want to meet with you and work with you before this so you may never have to meet the firefighter, let alone depend on them for help. Personally, all my maternal and paternal grandparents died from some form of preventable disease: Type II Diabetes, Stroke and later Leukaemia, Heart Disease (Heart Attack) and Dementia. I wish I knew what I know today and was able to work with all of them earlier in their lives. At worst, we could have delayed the progress and onset of their disease. At best, we could have prevented it altogether. I’m sure if I asked them what they would trade to have not had their last 5-10yrs impacted with such debilitating illnesses, that they would all say some version of “a lot”.

 

What price is quality of life and longevity?


How do you know you need to take preventative action?

Firstly, you live in Australia. Or Canada. Or a country in the Western World where these diseases constantly dominate the mortality statistics year on year. You can be almost assured they are on their way but there are bigger warning signs like:

  1. You smoke
  2. You don’t undertake regular exercise (with a combination of both strength training and cardiovascular training)
  3. You have high blood pressure
  4. You have high blood glucose (pre-diabetic)
  5. You have poor sleep (particularly correlated with dementia but also with weight gain and therefore heart disease and most cancers)
  6. You eat a poor diet (less than 2 serves of fruit, less than 5 serves of vegetables to name a couple of examples of basic dietary principles that most Australians fall very short of)
  7. You have high cholesterol
  8. You have a high body weight or a BMI above 25
  9. You consume high levels of alcohol (E.g. you don’t have 2-3 alcohol free days per week or consume less than 10 standard drinks per week or less than 4 in one day)

So, if you have any of these “smoke alarms” going off, your Exercise Physiologist at Longevity Edgecliff, Neutral Bay, Randwick, Marrickville, Pymble, Kingsgrove, Balmain, Drummoyne, Bella Vista, Coburg (Melbourne) and Barrie (Canada) want to see you now!

 

Let’s put the fire out before it even catches alight. Let’s act before we need to call the fire department. Let’s add years if not decades of quality and longevity to your life.

 

Let’s not wait to plant the tree. Let’s plant it today as the proverb above compels us.

Your Longevity Exercise Physiologist is an expert in prescribing exercise specifically to turn around the progression of the above risk factors and precipitants of disease. They are also experts in behaviour change. They will work with all of your health professionals including your GP to create the most patient centred care you have ever experienced and they will do it in the most pro-active way you have ever encountered from a health professional.

That’s our service promise to you.

Jarrat Wood

Written by Jarrat Wood, Director of Longevity Exercise Physiology