It’s Your Health: Have a richer life — take care of yourself

In case you missed what seemed to be earth-shattering news, people are more concerned about their finances than fitness entering the New Year.

They are forgoing the diet and exercise bit and resolving to get themselves financially healthy instead. That’s according to yesterday’s news flash. I wonder if this was a cross section of people who make New Year’s resolutions or if those polled were waiting in line for their triple pounder.

Ordinarily, I don’t pay attention to most “news” — especially if it is something blatantly obvious and the reporter’s exuberance is ridiculous. However, I started thinking about this one when one television personality mentioned that “at least this year the diet pressure is off.”

Dieting aside, finance and health are often related, albeit sometimes indirectly. Obviously, the looming dread of foreclosure is a stretch but a healthier mind and body could help one deal with that trauma more effectively. With skyrocketing fuel prices, a questionable economy and much more, many of us need to “tighten our belts” financially. But a notch or two on that belt will improve our health considerably. No surprise. Most of us need to shed a few pounds. Some, quite a few.

One way to save a few bucks is to make prudent food choices. Bag your lunch and, if you must, limit your fast food to once a week. Plan a weekly menu with a little flexibility. Become reacquainted with your crock-pot.

You need not eliminate your particular comfort foods but use some common sense. As you know, junk food packs empty calories and tends to be pricey.

We’re surrounded by nutritional information although sometimes it’s rather mystifying. Supposedly, 2008 will herald improvements in America’s food packaging system, making it easier to pick the optimum product.

I like the new British labeling, which is idiot-proof unless you’re color blind, I suppose. Healthy items have a green tag, marginal ones an orange dot, and eat once-in-a-blue-moon products, a red sign. Get it? Green equals go, orange equals caution, and red equals stop.

I doubt the U.S. will embrace that system. It makes too much sense.

If we took better care of ourselves, we wouldn’t spend such an exorbitant amount of money on medications. There’s the myriad of over the counter remedies and then the high priced prescriptions. Would lifestyle change eliminate the need for many of these drugs?

I was curious how much some of the more popular pills cost. I called Ken Rodger, pharmacy manager at Walgreens on San Marco. Cozaar, a popular blood pressure med runs about $2 per pill for a 30 day supply (one per day) depending upon the strength. Lipitor, almost a household word due to strategic and slick marketing, is around $4 per pill (one per day) again, depending on the strength.

Do you think we would need a continuous supply of this cholesterol drug if we ate better, exercised more, and reduced our stress?

Ken agreed that it surely would be a step in the right direction. I wonder what percentage of patients popping Lipitor every morning have never broken a sweat or eaten a healthy morsel. They rely on a pill because it’s easier.

So you see, if we all did our part in improving our health, including attitude, we would save money all the way around. But now I’m stating the obvious, and I hate that.

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Kay Sager is a certified fitness and aquatic specialist living at Port of the Islands. She is a personal trainer using land and water fitness and teaches swimming. She also has written articles for Physician and Sports Medicine among other publications. Kay can be reached by e-mail: kswimfit@aol.com.

© 2007 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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