You have just been granted one wish. No, you can’t use it to ask for 1,000 more wishes. What would you wish for?

To be wealthy, powerful or glamorous like Hollywood beauties Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Lawrence? The wish which tops the list for most people is to live a long and healthy life. How can you make this come true?

To be healthy, you need to prevent, or lessen, the severity of these disorders: cardiovascular disease, diabetes II, high blood pressure, obesity, clinical depression, chronic worry or anxiety and a pattern of poor sleep. The purpose of today’s article is to introduce you to 21st century, science-based programs which prevent disease.

What are the names of these programs? Wellness training, disease-prevention and longevity training. The old terms, physical fitness or exercise programs, are disappearing.

Preposterous! You can’t stop illness from occurring, any more than you could stop a volcanic eruption. You’re a fraud, like the 19th century hucksters who peddled snake oil remedies from the back of their wagons as they crisscrossed through the prairie of the old West.

Dodge City, 1850: Perched high on the tailgate of his wagon, Dr. Quack is orating to a crowd of women. “Ladies, step right up so you can behold my latest, greatest potion, sealed inside this teeny weeny ruby red bottle — what secrets lie within this bottle? The answer to your dreams: to possess a body sculpted with thin, gracious lines and which radiates robust health. Just 3 drops of this elixir and that posterior fundament, your gluteus maximus, will shrink down into a gluteus minimus! Raise your hands if you want a bottle of my miracle elixir, ‘Body Bodacious.’”

As Dr. Quack began selling his “Body Bodacious” to the crowd of women, he sang the following tune: “My belly sags over my waistline, my thighs are as wide as the sea, my abs are as weak as a kitten, oh please fix my body for me! Three drops of Body Bodacious and Whammo — My belly’s as tight as a snare drum, my thighs are as thin as a rail, my abbs are a 6 pack of metal, oh you brought a new body to me.”

Back to the present: I’m sitting in a classroom with my 20-year-old son. We are taking a two-day, high intensity workshop on physical fitness, developed by the National Exercise Training Association. The instructor began, “Let’s review how physical fitness helps to reduce illness, by learning the risks for cardiovascular disease. Work in pairs and calculate your partner’s total CVD score.”

CVD risk factors are age, family history, inactivity, smoking, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and pre-diabetes.

Next, the instructor asked my son to discuss my CVD profile. With a smirk, my son said, “My Dad has a moderate risk for CVD.”  “What!” I exploded. “I have zero risk!” “Dad, it’s your age, you’re over ____.”

The next step was to calculate total body fat, using calipers. My son measured my biceps and abdomen, but when he tried to get a reading on my thighs, he asked the instructor for help. The instructor remarked, “You have a strange pattern, no fat on arms or stomach, but your upper legs — you have thunder thighs. It looks like each thigh has 20-30 pounds of Twinkies in them — start leg curls ASAP.”

The workshop opened my eyes. I gained respect for personal trainers, as well as their science-based technology where fitness has been re-defined as disease prevention. I also learned that good health is more than the absence of disease. To be truly healthy, you must realize that the body, mind and spirit are one whole individual entity.

When you move your body, your mind and spirit also move. As you already know, there is no such thing as a secret elixir called “Body Bodacious.” But you now have something better — the knowledge for living a longer and healthier life.

 

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