Mirror reflects secret to good health

Col. Kory Cornum
435th Medical Squadron

Good health is something that few of us truly appreciate until we’re not in good health.
Whether it’s a minor illness like the flu, an injury such as a broken ankle, or something bigger like cancer – most of us are not thankful for how good we feel.
When we’re young we can abuse our bodies with hangovers, smoking, no exercise and eating whatever we want. Because we have such a huge ‘health reserve’ we bounce back and feel normal quite quickly – if we ever felt bad at all. Unfortunately, as we become more ‘seasoned’ the little things begin to affect us more and more.
Those of us over 30 are amazed at how sore you can get after a few games of basketball with the kids, and how long it takes to recover – that never happened when we were 16.
The bottom line is that many of the things that hasten our ill health are preventable and we make conscious decisions to do or not to do these things.
The three most important things we all need to be healthy and stay healthy as our reserves lessen are exercise, eating a good diet and not smoke. If it was simple everyone would easily accomplish those three tasks and move on. It’s not always so simple; but you are in control, no one else, only you.
Any exercise is good. Walking is a great activity and I’m not sure why so many people seem afraid to just walk somewhere. Of course running, playing football, swimming and dancing are great ways to exercise, but just walking is fine. Walking to the refrigerator for another soda and sandwich during a commercial probably doesn’t count though, unless the walk to a refrigerator is at least several blocks from your TV.
Eating is fun, enjoyable and something we all have to do. However, eating a bag of potato chips for breakfast is not quite the same as a bowl of oatmeal, even though you may enjoy it more and it may be more fun.
There are too many books and plans to count about diets and weight loss and most share one thing in common – their primary goal is making money.
The bottom line here is to eat mostly ‘good for you’ foods and not eat a lot of any one thing. One bag of chips for breakfast now and then is fine – it’s the overall quality and quantity of what you eat that counts.
Probably everyone who reads this who smokes is thinking ‘and here he goes, just like every other doctor, telling me not to smoke.’ Well I guess you are right. Smoking is the single biggest preventable health risk in American society. It’s that simple, and is why everyone says it. Smoking when you are 20-years-old will not cause cancer or heart disease when you are 22, 25, 30 or 35. But when you are 50 or 60 it will make a difference, and because it’s so addictive, most people can’t stop before their health is permanently harmed.
You control whether or not you exercise, eat too much, eat foods that are good for you and smoke. No one else controls those things for you. And even though you have a huge health reserve when you are young, by the time you care, when you are sick, and then appreciate good health, it may be too late.
So take charge of your life and maintain good health. Don’t wait until it is gone and then wish you had been better.
The person you look at in the mirror every morning while you brush your teeth is the person who can make a difference in your life. Make a difference in your own life.