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Healthy Aging and You: Technology, Consciousness: the Sedentary Society – Part III

In examining this subject I have found myself wondering about the challenges that this complex issue of technology and its impact on our lives is having. The reality is that NO ONE really knows what the impact of technology and our way of life holds in store for any of us. We DO know there is going to be a “reckoning” and that if we remain seated and stressed then significantly negative consequences will surely emerge. These include ongoing chronic medical issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and mental disturbances of all kinds to name a few. Finally an unhealthy aging process where people of all ages will be treated for these and other conditions will become a daily part of life for families all over America.

President Clinton was quoted in the past as saying that “this may be the first generation of children to not outlive their parents”. Quite frankly that thought shocked me so I became even more convinced that there is much work to be done before that statement can be labeled as true. It is still a real possibility and it will take all of us to find he answers. My grandson of 12 has already been diagnosed with high cholesterol and high blood pressure and this is only the “tip of the iceberg”. What about all the other children? What will their futures be like? What can be done? That is the question I will be spending the rest of my time on earth attempting to define and understand.

In this Part III I will examine the sedentary society and its corresponding partner the obesity epidemic and suggest ways we can move forward without “sitting still” until a crisis emerges that forces us to make changes to address the issues that we may have prevented in the first place! I believe in the possible and although this challenge may seem impossible we have to keep trying and not just throw up our hands in despair and do nothing. Our younger generations are counting on us to find answers and also to encourage us to ASK the best questions in order to present solutions and not merely shallow “guesses” or suppositions. That would be totally wrong!

DISCUSSION

After my training sessions I go to a nearby McDonald’s to read the paper and ponder and think – without any technology! Two examples are present in my mind of what I observe almost daily. The first one is of an elderly man who sits for hours staring at his phone and never speaking to anyone. He is always alone and he is there when I arrive – and when I leave. He is in my opinion in the “sitting and waiting to die” mode. I don’t know his circumstances but he appears to be alone in life. He is physically weak, overweight, always cold (he wears layers of clothes) and probably younger than me. Why he lives this way is a mystery to me but I DO know he is completely unaware of how his behavior is creating a future I am sure he would rather avoid!

The second one is the young man who brings his computer and sits for hours working on “whatever” while never looking up and “checking in” with his surroundings. He spends time checking websites and apparently without much purpose to his searches. The reality is that his computer appears to be his source of stimulation and while it can be a source of inspiration, a computer is not a companion. No real interaction occurs while he sits and stares at his computer. By the way, he is just one of many who do the same thing – especially on weekends. On many days there will multiple seating areas taken up with this same activity by as many as ten people.

These people are ALL “sitting their way to an early grave” and the only person who seems to notice this phenomenon is ME. Everyone, including the families with children, appear to be addicted to this form of behavior. I rarely see any people engaged in conversation and virtually NOBODY ever once looks at someone and smiles. This environment is not the one of my childhood on Maui or the times of my adulthood but it is the reality I observe everyday. Consequently, I live in a world where people no longer really interact with one another and the “quiet is deafening? This is not a world I know or feel I belong in except to say that I feel it is my job to say “WAKE UP” and MOVE!

THE OBESITY EPIDEMIC

This challenge exists but no one really knows why. Every diet in the world has not saved the world from its own gluttony. We are fatter and heavier than ever. When I was in college in the mid – late 60’s I saw virtually NO overweight or obese person. I walked everywhere on campus and exercised at the gym. I saw activity everywhere. The years following college saw more of the same. No technology – no obesity. The change came in the early 90’s. My daughter graduated from the Journalism School at USC in 1993. Her class was the last to use typewriters to write their stories. The school transitioned to computers and Lisa’s class was the last one to study her career specialty “the old fashioned way” that stories were told. News was reported with people being at the center of her universe – no twitter, Instagram, social media and all that has come to dominate our world.

From that moment on the world changed and with Steven Job’s invention of the cell phone a decade later the change became REAL and LASTING. We now live in a “seated world” where the only movement people get is when they get out their cars to do something that they CAN’T do from their cars. We line up at the drive through for banking, food and other services that keep us from walking. People even order at the drive through and now employees “walk” their order out to their cars. People SIT in their cars with the engine running eating their fries and burgers. I see this everyday also and it makes me wonder how their lives will turn out. Will they live lives of fulfillment and excitement and health or be in hospitals for “procedures” to keep them alive?

We are seeing huge increases in joint replacement surgeries on younger and younger people and because we are so inactive and heavy the issues will NOT go away without intervention and programs that address the underlying issues at the core. My answer as to why diets still are the main form of weight loss in this country is because a diet doesn’t require anything other than eating different food than we are accustomed to eating. Less than 5 percent of the people who stop dieting retain the loss – the rest gain the weight back – AND MORE!

The experts cannot agree on the solution(s) because the CAUSES are so complex. They cover a wide spectrum of possibilities from emotional, self esteem, physical, hormonal and so much more. This is why I recommend a comprehensive approach that encompasses examining all these areas in concert to arrive at an individualized approach than CAN work for EACH person in the population. However. the cost for this process may be prohibitive. There is no way we can know until we try new protocols beyond surgery, diets and drugs. I CAN say that if we do not address this issue it will cost the healthcare system billions – and possibly trillions – of dollars in the future. We just DON’T know at this point and if anyone says they THE answer – run the other way. Drugs and diets alone DON’T WORK!

IN SUMMARY

I believe in the three basic principles of healthy aging. They encompass the mental, physical, and spiritual aspects of life itself. These paths can combine to bring us relief and the answers we need in order to solve this crisis. I believe technology will keep us seated and not moving as long as we remain “unconscious” to our choices, activities and days. If we choose to keep our heads buried in our computers and continue to stare at our phones, then I don’t know what else to say except “good luck getting old”.

As my dear friend Edith Bird has said to me on numerous occasions: “Getting old is NOT for sissies”! Edith is 84 and works out four times a week doing cardio and weights and stretching. She has a wonderful soul and never makes excuses while being blessed with a wonderful heart and nature. I respect her and admire her. I tell her she is MY role model and we laugh and enjoy the time we spend together at the gym – and then we go our separate ways until the next time we see each other.

When she finally passes on (assuming I am still here), I will always hold her in my memory as someone who made a significant difference in my life. She will have left me the gift of hopefully inspiring someone else as I live out the remaining years of my journey through life. I want you to think about HOW you treat yourself and remember to think – and be – like Edith: Fearless, honest, and devoted to living each day to its fullest – with no regrets. This is the beginning to acquiring – and embodying wisdom – and that is finally after all the ONLY goal that really matters at the end of our lives!

Originally published on Healthy New Age. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.


Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

If you need help in designing a fitness plan, you can contact Nicholas Prukop via email at runningnick@sbcglobal.net or read his inspiring book Healthy Aging & YOU.

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Healthy Aging and You: Technology, Consciousness and the Sedentary Society, Part 2

In my previous article on the impact of technology on our lives, I shared some of my thoughts with you on why I felt it was important to address this issue now rather than later. I believe that as we become more inactive we WILL pay a price for our future health and our lives will be lessened as a result. I see my future through the lens of health and fitness – not money or power. I know this world relies on technology in all its forms and also due to the nature of how complex our lives become, we may have lost sight of what IS really important to us until it becomes too late to change course.

When I ask a future audience what would they value most among time, money, family, work, or health, what do you think your answer would be if you were present with me that day? Which would you choose as your first priority? I would choose my health every time because without our health, nothing else becomes possible. All the money in the world could not restore you to health and your time be used up fighting to get it back. Money is an issue in all our lives but money can be acquired through our work and with our health in tact everything else becomes possible. Finally, we can’t serve others, including our families, if we can’t serve ourselves first.

I would like to explore this important subject a bit further because I believe it is that important to ALL our futures. I want my legacy to be one of having changed lives and I can only accomplish this mission IF I continue to change my OWN life. Today is all we have and my question is: What will we each do with it to insure a positive and healthy future for ourselves?

HABIT FORMATION & CHANGE

I view habits like the grooves in the Roman road called the Appian Way when over centuries the carts and wagons that travelled over that ancient highway carved “grooves” into the stone that can still be viewed today. The subconscious mind creates our individual reality. The “grooves in our minds” become “hardwired” over time and this is why it is so difficult to not only change our behavior – but create new ones.

I am “hardwired” to run and become stronger through years of repetition and commitment to this purpose. It is a habit I acquired over 6 decades (and nurtured) and because I stayed “available” to this important aspect of my life over the years it has most likely the main reason why I am still here today. This is an example of a habit that can have a huge impact on the quality of life going forward and it did just that in my case.

This past Easter, I was scheduled to spend time with my daughter and her family but our plans changed to today. I wanted to take a day off from running even before our plan changed and I kept with that plan. It “felt” like the right thing to do – I needed a break – and today I am glad I listened to my “inner voice”. I feel rested today. If I had an addictive behavior pattern with regards to exercise I would have felt tired today. I am happy to “change my mind” whenever it feels right. This is how positive change can occur in your life as well. Instead of the “grooves” in your subconscious ruling your world, YOU can DECIDE to change your course at any time but it must be because you “listened” to your “inner voice” first. This is true consciousness in action!

This pattern of behaving “without thought” is where we get into trouble and our habits become addictive behavior. Drinking alcohol, taking drugs, gambling, and any other habit has to start “somewhere” and once set in motion this pattern becomes a “grooved” path like those in the Appian Way. Examine your behavior through the choices you make. Is looking at your cell phone constantly what you REALLY want to be doing or can you change that pattern and create a healthier one for yourself?

We CAN change ANY pattern if we want to strongly enough, but it takes a consciousness that will accept the change we desire. Release repetitive behaviors for moments throughout your day and examine what happens. Do you feel anxious? Nervous? Good! That is step one in the process of changing your mind! We ARE becoming our choices when it comes to our technology and this appears (to me) to be taking us into an uncertain future when it comes to our overall well being.

THE WAY BACK

“The way back” as I am calling this thought is to become “the captain” of your “ship of life”. As the captain YOU have the power to determine your course and how you will handle the “winds of fortune” – or the “gales of strife” – that come your way. If you have behaved in a certain way over the course of your life, your “grooves” are well established and cannot be easily changed. It IS possible, however, through effort, and an “open ended” consciousness, coupled with a deep seated desire to change your path – and fortunes – in life.

This way back is the RECOGNITION that change is necessary if you are to become happy, healthy and fit. I desire NOTHING more than to make my own unique contribution to life before I die and this is WHY I am writing in advance of  getting my speaking career going. I know in my heart if I can change and become more flexible and adaptable in my OWN life, then I can discuss this subject with audiences in the future and perhaps save someone from unnecessary suffering in THEIR future. Remember that I wrote “change one thing in one person’s life today” on the first page of my website? This was so I could remember WHY I am doing WHAT I am doing everyday! I won’t mind creating a new “groove” in my subconscious if it embodies such a thought!

With this in mind I would like to pose a question to you. What are the “grooves” in YOUR subconscious? What do they encompass? If you know what they are do you need to change them? As in the wagon’s grooves on the Appian Way carved over the centuries, they remain to show us “where we have been” but do not yet tell us ANYTHING about “where we are going”! Isn’t that a wonderful thought?. As we age and experience both the joys and sorrows of life we either create ways to protect ourselves from further hurt or open more doors to experience the good that MAY come to us over time.

I built a wall around my heart 36 years ago when my wife left me in the summer of 1982 and I am STILL trying to find a path forward, through – or around – this wall. This is the biggest groove I know of in my life to date – not letting myself get close to people (especially a close relationship where I am asked to be vulnerable). I pray everyday that the work I am doing NOW will finally bring it down! What walls have you built in your own life and do they need to finally come down now? Only you can answer this important question as I am attempting to do in my own life. It is true: You teach what you most need – or want – to learn! This is why I say I am a STUDENT first because life has way of humbling us and finally getting our attention.

IN SUMMARY

It is very possible I will continue this line of questioning in my future writing going forward because I don’t see my thoughts on this subject ending with this particular discussion. I believe life is expanding exponentially and it is up to me to try and “stay up” with change. This is my primary job if I am to be – and remain – relevant in today’s world. Are you relevant and “up to speed” when it comes to HOW you are living your life or are you oblivious to the “grooves in you own life”?

Each new day brings with it the possibility of making changes to your life. If you resist change – you eventually die – maybe not physically but spiritually and emotionally. I want to live to my highest and best nature and so nothing is “ever off the table” and I am willing to examine whatever will bring me closer to joy, harmony, love, peace and prosperity. I am willing- are you? Let’s address the “grooves in our thinking and behavior” NOW so that we may have the best that life has to offer come into our experience. Are you ready? I KNOW I am!

Originally published on Healthy New Age. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.


Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

If you need help in designing a fitness plan, you can contact Nicholas Prukop via email at runningnick@sbcglobal.net or read his inspiring book Healthy Aging & YOU.

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Healthy Aging and You: Technology, Consciousness and the Sedentary Society, Part 1

Numerous studies have revealed that on average we check our phones more than 200 times a day and have in fact started to become addicted to “staying connected”. We literally “run into” each other while walking and staring at our phones while texting. It happens every day. In the gym I attend for my training sessions, I see numerous people staring at their phones while sitting on weight equipment oblivious to the world around them. I have unofficially observed that up to 80-90% of the people who are there for physical activity are either listening “to something” through headphones or are reviewing data and/or texting someone. This is an enormous emerging challenge with no real solutions in sight: Sedentary lifestyles and technology. 

With the revelations of Facebook’s role in the 2016 elections we are seeing the unfolding of more personal data being used for all kinds of purposes and it is not going to end anytime soon. My question is: Is it worth it for our future health to be so connected through technology or is there a better balance that can be struck that enables us to “reach out” more effectively? I pose this question in the context of our health not only NOW but in the future as well. I see health issues becoming more prevalent because we are literally “sitting our way to ill health”. Sitting has become the “new smoking”! Is there a healthy way forward or are we “tied to our technology” so that we can never break “the ties that bind us” to a life of no movement?

TECHNOLOGY

The challenge  as I see it is that we are no longer “paying attention” to our lives. We need to understand what is happening in our individual experiences as we go through our day and then can hopefully make appropriate and timely decisions that will effect not only our future going forward – but today as well. The obesity crisis (71% of the population is either overweight or obese according to the latest data), the sedentary society that is now a reality, and the role that advancing technology will play in our lives are critical issues that need to be addressed if we are to find a “healthy way forward”.

As I have observed in my own experience, we are living in Steve Jobs vision of a world tied together through technology and available to us 24/7. He envisioned a world where we could access everything we needed through a phone – and computer. He wanted people to have the  “freedom” to do all that they wanted to do efficiently and with a planned effort through the gifts that technology would bring to each of us. I believe that his vision has become one that is “tying” us to our devices so completely that we are “disconnected” from what is actually happening around us. Life is literally “passing us by” and we are completely “unconscious” to this process.

I have lived 80% of my life without any technological assistance whatsoever. To retain my own power I believe I am the one who gets to “choose” how and when I let my computer and phone assist me. Right now I am struggling with the concept of what I will need to sacrifice in order to have technology help me advance my career as a healthy aging specialist moving forward. I will never “catch up” with all the technological advances that are coming – or be inclined to use all the new gadgets just because “everyone needs the latest model of a device”. That is NOT how I want to live my remaining years. Is this a choice you need to review as well? I want to use my time more toward serving others and staying healthy and fit so that I can enjoy my 70’s to the fullest – and have the greatest impact on people’s lives that I can.

What will your priorities be going forward? Will you really care if you have the most recent technological advancement or will you set other priorities for yourself? Only YOU can decide how you want to integrate the hours of your day with the technology you have and use daily. As a practical matter it is through our choices that we determine the course of our lives and if we choose to spend them staring at our phones life WILL indeed pass us by. We will be sick, fat, and on drugs as we enter the very years that we wanted to enjoy. Is this you now or will you decide to change that future today by making new choices that give you time “to be” the best version of yourself that you can imagine?

CONSCIOUSNESS

I keep coming back to the issue of consciousness because I believe it is a fundamental principle of what healthy aging means to ME and after all isn’t that what matters most? We determine our future by the choices we make today. It really IS that simple. If we choose to spend the hours of our day sitting and staring at a computer screen or smart phone we will create a life of dependence and ill health that WILL dominate our days until we eventually die.

For the past five to eight years my daughter has been fighting the longest and most difficult of fights for her health. Alcohol dependency, health issues of significance and general mishaps (falls, concussions etc.) have created a life that is characterized by hospital stays, ER visits, medical interventions of all shapes and sizes, and numerous appointments with specialists and medical professionals to treat her and get her back on the road to health. I am sure she never envisioned her 40’s being dedicated to her health in such a complex way but she is in a battle for her life now and the outcome is NOT certain. There are encouraging signs emerging but as her father I am very concerned about what IS going to happen to her going forward.

Her situation is not all that uncommon and many of us do NOT realize how close to our mortality we will come before we realize we “could have” or “should have” chosen differently when we had the chance. Lisa’s challenges started to form in her 20’s on both a professional and personal level and she is “unwinding” all of that harm now. I can only love her and wish her well – and let the professionals “do what they need to do” for her to enhance her chances at a full life again.

How will you choose? Will you continue to stare at your phone or will you decide to start living in the “real world”? I want to live in the real world as much as possible and therefore I DO NOT check my phone while training at the gym – it remains in my bag . I do NOT text so I do not need to check for text messages. My latest phone IS a very good phone with incredible capabilities but I will NOT make it the focus my day. I want to smile at people, greet my day with an “attitude of gratitude” and bless my very breath. I awake with gratitude and hopefulness in my heart and carry that feeling throughout the day so my “consciousness” may expand – and not  shrink. Let your consciousness grow beyond its current boundaries and you WILL be rewarded in kind and isn’t that worth all your best intentions?

IN SUMMARY

As I live each day my mind is always focused on my many blessings. I think about Lisa and her continuing efforts to heal and am grateful I don’t have to face such challenges. I get to breathe and think and feel – and BE as alive as I choose to be because healthy aging starts “within us” and cannot be derived from our technology no matter how SMART it may be. On one level Steve Jobs was right. Dealing with the complexities of the modern world DOES require wonderful advancements in technology but at what price? Do we succumb to the “siren call” of the internet or do we USE it as the tool it was meant to be? I don’t think even Steve Jobs would object to that line of questioning, do you? Only YOU can decide your future – what will it be?

Originally published on Healthy New Age. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.


Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

If you need help in designing a fitness plan, you can contact Nicholas Prukop via email at runningnick@sbcglobal.net or read his inspiring book Healthy Aging & YOU.

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3 Keys to Healthy Aging

No one really knows why we age other than to acknowledge that as our cells die and don’t get replaced, organs – and ultimately our bodies  – do indeed die. The role that disease plays in this process is obvious – especially if there is no successful treatment available that can address the underlying causes of the problem. I believe in the “art of prevention” as a strategy for helping not only extend our lives – but also improving the quality of the time we have to live.

I did not come to this understanding in my early years because when we are young we assume we will “live forever”. It is only as we grow older and have to face the challenges of aging that we begin to appreciate the beauty and mystery of our own bodies – and what we “could” have done better along the way.

I decided that based upon my own experiences over the past 7 plus decades of life that we ARE in control of much of the aging process as we currently know it. I could assign a number to it (i.e. 80, 90%) but I would most likely be wrong. I will therefore ask instead what if we could control the “majority” of the outcomes we might face, then how would WE choose – and act – today to prevent problems in the future? When we REACT rather than RESPOND to life’s “urgings” we are always going to be “behind the curve” and face unintended consequences.

There are people who live to be hundred or more and then there are those of us who “die before their time”. How do we distinguish between being “lucky” and making good choices and does making thoughtful choices always work? I believe it does and this is why I thought I would share with you what I consider to be the three most important keys to healthy aging as I have lived them.

BEING PHYSICALLY ACTIVE

From a purely practical standpoint this key is what I would call a “no-brainer”. I started life on Maui in the mid 1940’s (1946) and was introduced to swimming before I could even walk. I remember a man holding me by the stomach in a half empty pool teaching me to kick my legs and paddle my arms. That man became my future swim coach and his name was Mack Nakano – a former champion himself. He shared his passion and love for swimming that animated his own life and I have carried that love and passion for physical activity within me ever since those wonderful days of my boyhood on Maui.

As I grew and I moved on from swimming to other sports (because of circumstances beyond my control), I found I had formed a love for all forms of physical activity. I discovered other ways to enjoy being active when I was no longer competing and that main form of activity became running. As I adjusted to life on the mainland at Syracuse University in 1964, I began a running campaign that has stayed with me to the present day. I can’t imagine letting even one day go by without stressing my body in some form and even when I was injured as I was last year, I still found ways to train and remain active. This idea is a part of WHO I AM.

I have run over 65,000 miles in the more than half a century I have been a runner. I believe my commitment to being fit has saved my life many times over during my lifetime – even in the darkest of times when I felt lost and without hope. My question to you is: What is your passion when it comes to being physically active and will you honor that passion the way I did with my running program? If you don’t have one – then find one! Being physically fit does NOT guarantee a healthy body but a healthy body does require a FIT body. I am hopeful my “luck” continues into the years ahead. I will do everything in my power to insure that it does!

BECOMING A “CRITICAL THINKER”

This is my second choice for a key to healthy aging because the key to life IS thinking and the corresponding choices that we make leading to the actions that we take as a result. ALL thought is powerful but it is in HOW we CHOOSE to use these “power houses” of life that makes all the difference. With the fast paced changes that are occurring in all facets of life today, it is becoming increasingly difficult to know “what to think”. I say that becoming “aware of our thoughts” is a key to healthy aging because they lead us to our potential choices and it is through our choosing that we can enhance our circumstances – or cause them to do us great harm.

An example of choice gone wrong would be the choice to smoke. We all know the dangers inherent in smoking – or taking drugs for that matter – but many of us do it anyway. My father started smoking during World War II as many service men and women did during that terrible conflict and as a result shortened their lives. My father died in November of 1983 at the age of 64 from cancer which had spread throughout his body but started in his lungs. I saw him the week before he died and it left an indelible impression on me.  I was 37 at the time and I vowed to never go out like that. The past 35 years have been healthy ones for me because I cared about my future health and most importantly ACTED on that thought.

Deciding to become thoughtful and critically involved in our thoughts is an important part of the healthy aging process. Don’t “fall into” your choices – make them consciously and with the belief that you are doing what is right for you. People buy pills of all kinds sight unseen, and other potentially dangerous products online all the time “without thinking about the consequences” of their actions. I believe that we MUST “think before we leap”. It is the only sensible way to move forward in life and hopefully “cut the odds” in our favor so my advice is simple: Get in touch with your thoughts and act according to what they are allowing you to see and feel about yourself – and then choose wisely. This is the best any of us can do and it will insure WE are choosing our path in life – and not the other way around!

THE SPIRITUAL LIFE

I am not religious and have never found comfort – or peace for that matter – in any conventional religion but I have found that the spiritual path is available to all of us who seek a different way. I found this path in 1985 through a minister at the Church of Religious Science in Huntington Beach by the name of Peggy Bassett. She introduced me to the principles that would guide my life and choices going forward and that have sustained me to this day 33 years later.

I believe in “quiet time” for myself (meditation and affirmative prayer work – a form of prayer that affirms rather than asks for something). Every day presents me with a new opportunity to get “in touch” with my “inner self”, providing me with the opportunity to receive guidance – and even wisdom – that may give me clarity or a new understanding of some aspect of my life that may be causing me pain or any other challenge I need to address in the present. I will respond only when I can “see my way clear” to a solution and only then will I act on this wisdom or guidance.

The role of the spiritual journey is to bring an expanded consciousness – or awareness – into our life experiences and allow us to contact joy, peace, harmony and love in a way that enriches and sustains us while allowing us the opportunity to “let go” of the baggage of our pasts. Regret, guilt, unexpressed anger, hatred and other forms of negative inner turmoil CAN and DO lead us to an early death. The body responds to all forms of emotion and if these emotions – and thoughts – are not directed by US to a “higher consciousness” they will bring sickness and chronic illness in all their terrible manifestations into our lives.

I have never been in a hospital, had surgery, taken drugs or medication, or had any outside medical intervention that I can recall – ever. I believe that through the spiritual path that Peggy me gave all those years ago – coupled with my ongoing efforts to remain healthy and fit – I thrived and DO wake up each day grateful and hopeful. I am “lucky” but this luck came to me because I ACTED on my BEST instincts – and intentions – at the time I was making crucial choices in my life. What will your choice be when it comes to letting go of “preconceived notions” of what you “think” is true so that you can finally live in the REAL truth of who you are – and are becoming?

IN SUMMARY

I believe the world we live in today is “noisy”. There are too many voices and too little silence. I believe in being quiet and thinking and experiencing my life on more than just the superficial levels available in today’s world. I believe listening is becoming a lost art and that we are never going to “hear” anything of value arguing with another. Sometimes I feel as though I was not meant for this world and look back with fondness on the world as it was when I was a boy learning to swim and ultimately getting to know the me that I am today.

The keys to healthy aging are mine and mine alone. Whether others take what I have shared and “think about” them is for others to know. I believe that there is something greater and wiser than me that created me and is helping me to share what I have learned in my own unique way. This is my mission and this mission – or purpose – is always “on my mind”. I want it to be there constantly so that I may choose to support it in any way that I can in order to bring my life full circle from student to teacher – and back to student again.

What will you do with this information and how will your choices today affect your future? Only you will know but I will tell you that in “thoughtful living” we are ALWAYS rewarded by life with the best that it has to offer. Isn’t that worth your time and commitment? It is to me – and it is PRICELESS! Think about that!

Originally published on Healthy New Age. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.


Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

If you need help in designing a fitness plan, you can contact Nicholas Prukop via email at runningnick@sbcglobal.net or read his inspiring book Healthy Aging & YOU.

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Healthy Aging and You: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life

I am one who believes that REAL change occurs from within ourselves first and that once we decide to accept this principle, our lives – and minds (and hearts) – can become clear of all the “baggage” we have been dragging around with us over the course of our lives. Self esteem issues, guilt, regret, resentment, and so much more can be released so that we can finally live the lives we always wanted. I know from personal experience how difficult it has been for me to arrive “at clarity” on this point and now that I have I can report that my life is beginning to finally “take off”! It only took me 38 years to get to this point of consciousness but can you do better? Absolutely! What I would like to propose to you is that it does NOT have to take this long for us to finally “take control” of our lives because we CAN take control of HOW WE THINK today!

I will share with you some key ideas that will enable and empower you to do this in your own lives and free yourself from the bondage of old, outdated beliefs and ideas about yourself that no longer serve you but inhibit your growth – and expansion. It is my belief that the current state of affairs with regards to the high drug use in this country, the obesity epidemic, and the onset of chronic diseases such as diabetes are due in part to “how we think” about ourselves and that medicine alone CANNOT “cure” these challenges. This is why I am a proponent of positive change “from within” first so that we can address the underlying “causes” of these potentially life ending challenges.

The Subconscious Mind

The subconscious mind is the “controller” of our experiences and actions. We behave from its instructions and the result is that we create the world as “others” wanted for us when we were children and young adults. Programming of our subconscious occurs very early in our lives and continues unabated throughout our early adult years. It is not until we reach a “crisis point” later in our lives that we begin to realize that control of our thinking created by our parents, teachers and “the others who cared about us” began long before we became “conscious” of their effect on us. I reached this point in 1982 when my wife left me at the age of 35 and I did not find a path to healing until 3 years later in 1985 at the Church of Religious Science in Huntington Beach, California. This spiritual path was critical to uncovering “the real me” and I am still evolving to this very day.

I bring this idea forward now so that I can state that we will ALL arrive at a “crisis point” in our lives whether it be earlier like me or later like my daughter who is facing significant health issues in her mid 40’s, but arrive at it we WILL. Changing my mind about myself was difficult and for many years seemed an impossible task but I welcomed the challenge and through my own spiritual journey have found the “essential me”. This is what I want for you – to find your “essential self” – and free yourself from past guilt, pain, and regret. I never want to carry these burdens again and I know I won’t because I take time each day to “check in with my thoughts” and mostly find them to be encouraging, loving – and most of all hopeful and grateful (the starting point of my day).

Keys to Changing Our Thinking

AFFIRMATION

The struggle to changing our thinking is embedded in the previous programming of our subconscious minds earlier in our lives. “Replacing” this programming is worth the effort and one of the keys to doing this is the practice of affirmation. I will say that eventually with time and a new belief in yourself that you will see results that will amaze you. I will share two affirmations I use every day in my meditation and prayer work. They are only examples and come from my experience with religious science (you can develop your own) but remember an affirmation can be as simple as “I am loved and loving”.

“Today I am standing on the threshold of new experience. Possibilities extend before me and I accept their magnificence. Through my spoken and accepted word, I co-create with divine intelligence the plan for my life. Here and now I am open to the greatness yet to come and I am ready for a miracle”.

“Today I accept that the light of God’s love is in, through and around me. I feel its presence in everything that I do. I experience clarity in all things as this light guides my way into the unknown”.

There is REAL power in our words and thoughts CAN be changed through repetition. I am living proof that all of this works and is possible because I have practiced this discipline since 1985 and I have continued this practice every day since. It is the most important part of my day. Meditation (“going within my mind”) and prayer are the tools I use to stay “centered” throughout my day. You CAN do this too if you make up your mind to do so!

VISUALIZATION

I visualize my future and what I want to accomplish in that future so that I can DEFINE what I want to do – and be. I AM a speaker and a writer and I want to make a difference using these gifts so I am diligently preparing for my contribution to life through writing – and eventually speaking. I use visualization as the powerful tool that it can be by “experiencing” my future work NOW. I speak to audiences with clarity because I have already written about the issues that are important to me to share with people going forward in my life. I know WHO I am, WHY I am here, WHAT my message is, and the change I WILL bring to people of all ages in this future that I now love so much.

I have described in my book “Healthy Aging & You” a PATH forward for anyone who wishes to make significant changes in their lives and finally free themselves from the “shackles of the past” where most of us live our lives – or in trepidation over a future that has not yet occurred. I believe in the power of change and embracing change NOW – not later! I will NEVER go back to my old way of being. It is a waste of energy and more importantly a waste of precious time – time that is fast diminishing. VISUALIZE yourself as you want to be and with affirmative ACTION you too WILL become who you want to be! Finally, as Satchel Paige (the great African- American pitcher) once said: “Don’t look back, something might be gaining on you”!

IN SUMMARY

The power of thinking is undisputed by any expert worth their reputation. My intention is to serve as an example to people that positive thinking CAN and WILL change the course of people’s lives – especially for those that desire it with all their hearts. Meditation, affirmation, and visualization are three keys to “changing our thinking and changing our lives”. Facing crisis in life is a part of living and dealing with crises intelligently and thoughtfully can provide the necessary steps to creating REAL change in our lives that WILL make a REAL difference!

I see a world changing rapidly and with great change comes the potential for great progress if we will only THINK about our lives from the perspective of what we EACH can do to insure that the change we are experiencing is helpful and constructive – and not destructive. This is my mission: To be a  participant in change in order to help secure a positive result for the many who desire it. We ALL play a role in life. What will your role be? You can start today to determine the answer to this question and I wish you the best on your new journey! Travel well.

Originally published on Healthy New Age. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.


Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

If you need help in designing a fitness plan, you can contact Nicholas Prukop via email at runningnick@sbcglobal.net or read his inspiring book Healthy Aging & YOU.

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Healthy Aging and You: Finding Your Voice, Making Your Contribution to Life

When we reach a certain stage of life we are confronted with the reality – and question – of how we have lived that life. Did I care passionately about something? Did I care about my own unique contribution to life and if not, what DID I care about? How has my life mattered in the grand scheme of things? These and other questions have occurred to me since I first sat down to write “Healthy Aging & You” just before my 60th birthday in 2006. I have noticed as the years have passed since that moment that I have become acutely aware of the power of my thoughts, words and choices.

I feel liberated now from my past and not concerned about the uncertainty of the future because I am now part of the “flow of life” – living in the present. As I have become inspired to write again, I am feeling blessed to be able share with you the lessons I have learned along the way that enabled and empowered me to find my own voice and arrive at a place I call CLARITY. Being clear on WHO you are, what you BELIEVE to be true, and WHY you are here makes life seem so simple – and yet exhilarating – and surprising. I feel alive and hopeful and grateful each morning when I wake up. With this idea in mind I enter each new day with a passion I cannot diminish in any way.

What can you expect from today? How will you BE in life today? How will you respond to the challenges that come your way? Finally, what choices will you make today that WILL influence your tomorrow? I will share three key ideas with you that will help you answer these and other important questions that most certainly will arise as you “grow older – and not old”.

Thoughts

In my spiritual philosophy one of the principles we learn is that “thoughts are things” – meaning they are REAL – and from them springs forth our reality in form. Each of us is the vehicle through which our reality forms based upon our thought patterns and biases. What we entertain mentally has a profound effect upon how our lives unfold. Thoughts are creative. They form the foundation of our contribution to life itself.

The thought that I needed to write again occurred to me when I became aware of the ideas I was thinking about this past week. The article on learning to value oneself was the first one that had been present in my consciousness. Today my focus is on helping you “find your voice” and so this article is now “front and center” in implementing my new choices. I respond to these – and other thoughts – the same way as I have over the past decade – by taking specific ACTION – with purpose.

Since writing is a part of what I consider to be one of my natural gifts, I will express these ideas in written form today – and as a speaker at a later time. My purpose is to help “change one thing in one person’s life today” as I have alluded to on my new website (healthyhappyfit.com). This process repeats itself quite easily for me now because I have become “responsive” to life’s urgings within me and I no longer question the process. I just DECIDE and follow my thought patterns to my next step and then wait patiently for my next thoughts to emerge. This is HOW life unfolds if we allow it to BE in our lives.

Question: When do you schedule time to “listen to your thoughts” and let them find expression in form in your life? Something to consider.

WORDS

Words are the form our thoughts – and subsequent ideas – take when we allow them to move forward in our consciousness. Consciousness is nothing more than a “state of awareness” and without coming to a place of awareness we cannot grow from where we ARE to where we want to BE. I am very careful to choose words that are hopeful, loving  and filled with a sense of gratitude for when we are grateful for what we have – more of the good of life can be added to our experience.

I want more in my life of all that is good – and that I finally know I deserve.  Some of this good is recognizable to all of us and includes inner peace, prosperity, abundance, friendship, health (both inner and outer), harmony – and many others too numerous to mention here. You get the idea! I no longer want to “fight” for I want in my life because fighting implies opposition to something and I am no longer in opposition to anything. I have decided to “reach out by reaching within myself” and let my gifts do my work for me.

If your words DO indeed have power within them then CHOOSE them wisely. As Thumper’s mom said to him (Bambi) “if you got nothing nice to say then don’t say nothing at all”! That sentiment seems to work fine for me so remember your words are the vehicle through which your thoughts become “real” so choose them wisely and you WILL rewarded in kind. Your life will have become so much more meaningful and fulfilling just by simply letting your thoughts be heard in the kindest and most loving way. “Getting” becomes “giving” and this is where life expands to “meet the thinker”!

CHOICES

Making choices represents the REAL power of living life ON PURPOSE. It is in making choices – from the simple ones to the complex ones – that we set in motion the outcomes we will experience in the future. Being “in the present” means NOT staring at your phone 24/7 or not “looking up” to acknowledge another human being with a smile – and a greeting. I see this everyday in my life and it is MOST disturbing to me. Technology “runs” our lives and we have become oblivious to our surroundings – or the people that inhabit them. We CANNOT succeed in life if there is no longer a present because we are living in the past – or preparing for a future that has not yet come.

Choices reflect our priorities – or lack of same. I never want to NOT think about my choices because I know they establish my path forward. Writing and speaking come naturally to me and I want to “embody” my choices because I want them to represent me in the BEST possible way. I am always going to choose that which will enable me to be “the best example of the change I wish to see in the world”. How about you? What is your best look like to you? THINK about WHO you ARE today and ask yourself: Am I choosing wisely and if now why not? You WILL BE rewarded in kind for your “thoughtfulness”!

IN CONCLUSION

Our thoughts, words and choices reflect WHO WE ARE today. Are they helping us or hindering our progress? Finding “our voice” means that we know WHO we are and WHY we are here. Let your thoughts speak volumes FOR you through the words you choose and the choices you make. Let the world “see” the REAL you and know within yourself that you not only CAN but ARE making a difference by your very presence in the world. Leave your regrets behind and never have to live with guilt again. Be free to live the life you always dreamed of living and START TODAY! Don’t wait for tomorrow for we may not get tomorrow. Believe in your power and express it with love, authority and clarity! You will be amazed at what happens next! Travel well.

Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.


Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

If you need help in designing a fitness plan, you can contact Nicholas Prukop via email at runningnick@sbcglobal.net or read his inspiring book Healthy Aging & YOU.

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Healthy Aging and You: Believing in Your Value

My experience has taught me that the key to living a happy, healthy and fit life is to recognize, appreciate, and celebrate our own individual and unique value. This thought occurred to me again in late January when I was interviewed by Kate Delaney for her nationally syndicated radio program on public access radio. She focused on my writing – specifically my book “Healthy Aging & You” – and asked me to discuss the principles and ideas that I considered important “to growing older and not old”. This idea of becoming “more” as we age is one that enlivens and inspires me each day to become the  best version of myself that I can possibly be. Through my interview I recognized – finally – that I have learned to “value myself” and this has led me to want to share with you what that means in terms of healthy aging as I now understand it.

DECIDING

The first and most important point I want to make is that we must DECIDE to value ourselves and then allow a learning process to unfold that enables and inspires us to DEFINE what that means for ourselves. For mean the value I have decided for myself is the value that comes with becoming passionate about fitness as age. I value my health above all things including family, money and time because through being healthy I get the opportunity to make my own unique contribution to life – and help as many people as I can while I am still here.

My contribution is the value I create by being committed to my PURPOSE which as I state on my website (healthyhappyfit.com) is to “change one thing in one person’s life today”. As I spoke to Kate and answered her questions, I realized I am absolutely CLEAR on what it is I am here to do and WHY I am doing it. My mission is to make a difference in the lives of people of all ages so that they too can access the benefits of a “life well lived”. Each person on the planet has been endowed with unique gifts and through the sharing of those gifts CAN create a life of meaning and fulfillment if they are committed to their vision and purpose.

CREATING

Creating the best life we can from this perspective of sharing our “natural gifts” and living from our own unique vision that embodies our “best example” of ourselves is the “true” way to health, peace and joy. As I spoke to Kate, I realized at 71 that I had arrived at a place of honesty within myself that I had never known before. I was truly “being myself” as I had always envisioned from my earliest days as a boy on Maui who loved his friends, swimming and playing. She commented on my passion and love for  my message and said that among the thousands of people she had interviewed I was in her “top 5” all time. That made my heart jump! I KNEW my value lay in my gift of expression and that I was now a legitimate “advocate” for the principles of healthy aging as I had described them in “Healthy Aging & You” just before my 60th birthday.

Creating a life of meaning and value takes time. It is something we “grow into” as we experience the life we are living and cannot be rushed or “manufactured”. It has to be real and created from “within” by the words we use daily (self talk), the thoughts we entertain, the beliefs we hold that inspire us, the choices we make, and finally, the actions we take in support of our daily goals. Where the “rubber meets the road” for me is the training that I do daily – mentally, physically, and spiritually to enhance my vision and purpose. I am inspiring people every day in my fitness programming at the gym where I train because many know me as “the old guy” running and lifting his way to fitness goals that I don’t believe exist anywhere in the country at this time.

For me being the best “example of the change I wish to see in the world” is embodied in my workouts and meditation and daily prayer work. I believe in the “inner journey” of life and not to rely on others to define me. This is MY job. Since that day in June of 1985 when I first heard a speaker say in a presentation to a national speaker’s association audience that “if we don’t know what we stand for, we will fall for anything”. I have made it my personal mission to LEARN what I stand for in life. This understanding and “knowing” came through my interview with Kate and I am hopeful and grateful every day as a result of this insight.

DOING

Doing is the final piece to the puzzle of “valuing oneself”. We have to act and create in order to live a life of meaning and contribution. I understand my future is limited and that I will never know how much time I have left in which to share my message BUT I DO KNOW I can act TODAY and that is enough. My workouts are developed from my passion for fitness and my work is derived from this basic “impulse” I have to train and be stronger and faster as I age. Today I am running 6 mile training runs at high intensity and lifting weights and stretching to insure I can PERFORM at the highest levels for my audiences in the future. This is MY REASON FOR BEING now and it suits me.

I can see me “doing” my work for years to come because I valued not only myself over the years but my  life as well. This knowledge was always within me and through my spiritual journey I learned how to measure and understand it as a part of my daily life. I am “practicing” the principles of healthy aging every day in my choosing and activities so that my presentations continue to be authentically “real” and meaningful to those I contact in the future. It is in the DOING that we become “fully realized human beings” and my guess is that we ALL want to leave behind something unique that only we could create! This idea makes sense doesn’t it? Get busy “doing” today what you CAN to become the best version  of yourself that you can be but remember to “think” first about WHY you are doing what you are doing and remain “connected” to your inner self – the only “true guide” you will ever need.

In Summary

I have shared three key ideas with you that you can use today to improve your chances of living a life you have always dreamed of experiencing. MY hope is that like me this year through my interview with Kate Delaney, you will want to discover your “true value” and DECIDE to live your life in accordance with that value. Your goals need to include every aspect of your being mentally, spiritually and physically because all three of these principles are required if we are to find our true value in becoming the best version of ourselves.

How and when you decide to act on this challenge is entirely up to you. You create and embody what you choose to BE and this includes the words we use daily, the thoughts we entertain, the beliefs that we hold, the choices we make everyday and finally, the actions we decide to take in support of our purpose. My hope for you is that you find yourself getting excited and becoming as passionate as I feel right now because I know time WILL run out for me too and I DO NOT want to leave this life with any regret – or guilt – over “what could have been” if only I had acted! Travel well.

Originally printed on HealthyNewAge.com. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.


Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

If you need help in designing a fitness plan, you can contact Nicholas Prukop via email at runningnick@sbcglobal.net or read his inspiring book Healthy Aging & YOU.

Healthy Aging: A Paradigm Shift to Personal Responsibility

The world today is dedicated to technology, advancing research and the access to unlimited information on all manner of subjects. Each of us relies on technology not only for our questions about life but also for receiving the answers. And oh, by the way, we want our answers NOW! The speed with which we live our lives is increasing everyday and sometimes it can be very frustrating to realize that we can’t “have it all – and do it all”.

In my opinion, what has been lost in the race to become technologically advanced, is the notion of healing our illnesses and addressing underlying CAUSES so that we may each partner with ourselves as positive and loving participants in our own care. The field of healthcare is also undergoing a transformation in the 21st century – a paradigm shift if you will – toward ever more increasing complexity and technological innovation. For the individual this has many positive aspects, but in many ways it is also becoming increasingly difficult to navigate – and understand not only “what it is – but how to use it”.

When I was a child, we saw our doctor for our shots and annual checkups for school. There were relatively no other aspects of this relationship than seeking help if we got sick or injured. The doctor was very often a family friend and most of the time was able to spend quality time with the patient on each visit.

Today we rely on the healthcare system to serve a wide variety of very complex health needs. The doctor is very often busy and can spend relatively little time discussing our issues in depth because the system is designed to maximise results, revenue, and optimise time. Specialties are now common for everything from brain, heart and lungs to bones, hormones and many others that require a referral from another physician and these visits typically involve further testing at each stop along the way (more complexity). The patient is “processed” and drugs are almost always involved in any recommendation or treatment.

The juggling of information and treatments is a significant part of any participation in the healthcare system of the 21st century. This complexity – and cost – is a major part of the challenge we face going forward in designing a “patient – doctor” partnership that can hopefully restore “some” of the basic strengths that were once a part of the “older” system of delivering healthcare to people when it was really a personal and individual service.

The partnerships that are most important in today’s world of healthcare are the following: pharmaceutical, insurance, medical, government, hospitals, and finally the doctor. The doctor is stuck between a “rock and hard place” because the system is driven by money and profits for the most part. Insurance companies control the payment systems and the patient – and doctor – are left to try and understand billing systems and other ramifications of the “treatment process”.

The healthcare model of the future

The way I see it now is that we are EACH responsible for our own health (the new paradigm) and the outcomes of our choices will determine the results that we obtain in securing – or losing – our health. In the period between 1988 and 2011, I was unable to afford health insurance so I “bet on myself” and the result turned out well. I used my fitness world as my insurance program and made sure to protect myself from risk to the best of my ability while training my body, mind and spirit to be as healthy and fit as possible.

Once I qualified for Medicare at 65 in 2011, I continued to behave as though I had no insurance and have done quite well with this strategy to the present day. It does not mean that I will NEVER need to see a doctor or use the insurance I now have, it just means that I have been able to live in a world of my OWN making without ever being “stuck” in a system that does not know me and could care less about what I need. I believe I am an example of the possibility of health as it could exist in the future if we each take care of ourselves properly every day of our lives and remember the aspects that WILL characterize our true individual healthcare program:

  • what we think – whether our thoughts are constructive or destructive;
  • what we eat – whether we eat healthy and natural foods as opposed to unhealthy, packaged foods full of preservatives;
  • what we feel – whether our emotions are positive (e.g. love, compassion, patience, understanding, etc…) or negative (hatred, anger, frustration, etc…);
  • what we choose to do (or not do) – a number of lifestyle choices such as smoking, fitness and using drugs, will impact our health;
  • what we believe.

This “wellness” concept I am describing is in “play” today in many forms and is increasingly becoming the “model” by which all healthcare programs will be judged in the future. True “prevention” to me is NOT only testing for disease but depends on making the best choices we can every single day of our lives and becoming responsible and accountable for those choices going forward (personal responsibility). I am not saying we will never need others to help us because the unforeseen aspects of life always have a way of “showing up” in our lives regardless of how carefully and thoughtfully we have behaved in our lives.

What I believe to be the healthcare model of the future going forward will be a partnership not only with ourselves but with professionals who have the time, knowledge, and ability to address our needs from an aspect of “healing – not curing” what ails us.

When my father passed away from cancer in November of 1983 at the age of 64, he had taken on no responsibility for what had gotten him sick in the first place. He had also taken no part in his treatment to try and overcome the challenges he was going to face going forward. I believe this “passive” behavior played a part in contributing to his death at a relatively early age. Smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise and many stressors “seen and unseen”, “known and unknown” (and much more) probably “disabled” his ability to know what was happening to his body as he aged.

rsz_healthyThis experience at age 37 probably did more for me than I will ever know since I would be tested in the years ahead by many failures, challenges, hurts, resentments, guilt and suffering – all CAUSED by me and the choices I made in my own life. The ONE thing I did right was make a commitment to my OWN health and fitness needs and when the time came to deal with the consequences of my choices – I was able to DO SOMETHING I loved – and that was run. This is why I can say today that running saved my life – because I truly believe that it did. Fitness was my anchor. My advice to you today?

  • Get moving!
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Create positive health habits by making thoughtful choices.
  • Don’t wallow in the past and dump all your regrets.
  • Don’t let your fears dominate your thinking and be open to change.
  • Bless your gifts and those that love you.
  • Be grateful for being alive today and never take your life for granted.
  • Remember to smile everyday and be open to new experiences.
  • Get off your phone and step away from your devices – and computer – and “take a break” from self imposed pressure and stressors.
  • Finally, take time to be with your own thoughts and let them “wash over you” until you feel happy with what you are thinking. WHAT WE THINK – WE BECOME”.

Originally printed on HealthyNewAge.com. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.


Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

If you need help in designing a fitness plan, you can contact Nicholas Prukop via email at runningnick@sbcglobal.net or read his inspiring book Healthy Aging & YOU.

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Living With Purpose: A Challenge Fear Can Sabotage

I find the holiday season to be challenging mentally, emotionally and physically. I am sure many of you who are reading these words feel a similar pressure of the current year ending – and the uncertainty of the new one to come. During this time of the year I have found myself being repeatedly burdened by entertaining old, worn out, negative thinking which leaves me exhausted and prone to getting sick, frustrated and fearful of the unknown time ahead.

The mind-body connection

This year it has been no different for me as I seem to be facing a past challenge regarding my belief in myself, my self-worth – and my purpose. For the better part of the last week and a half I have been struggling with a bad case of what I believe is the flu. With this latest (rare) bout of illness I have been blessed with a large dose of coughing, sneezing, general weakness and a very substantial lethargy. I believe in the power of the mind to bring us health and well-being but I also believe our thoughts (and beliefs) can – and do – deliver to us the other side of life which includes illness, unease, a genuine lack of self-confidence, and a sense of what I will call “hopelessness” – a feeling of living without purpose.

This is how I have started to feel in December – that regardless of what I have done, written or spoken about in terms of my passion for healthy aging, that it matters little and that I am wasting my time. This thought has occurred to me many times before and I am sharing it with you now because I am going through this challenge in this moment in time. ALL of us at some point in our life (and in my case it has been more than once) have felt empty inside and afraid – fearful of the unknown, of not being enough, of having chosen our path in life badly – and much more “baggage” that we carry around with us every day! It is a burden we decide to carry. It is up to each of us to decide to stop carrying this extra weight – or it will remain a “drag” on our life well into the future! We don’t need negative thought patterns ruining our lives, do we?

Fighting negative thoughts

The point is that it takes courage and discipline to “fight” this negative “wave” of feelings and thoughts. The first step that we can take to address this important issue is to become AWARE that it is happening – and to STOP and THINK in order to increase the possibility of changing your mind in order to “reassert” your power over your training – but your life as well. I am grateful for these reminders as they spur me to make the choice again that I AM valuable and worthy of success. Even at 70 I am dealing with this very issue as Christmas approaches – again. I had a terrible Thanksgiving because I could not be with my daughter and grandson and tonight had a harsh exchange of words with her over the phone (frustration, anger, fear – whatever it may be.)

What this matter basically comes down to is a FIRM belief in ourselves – and our own unique purpose – that we are alive for a reason. It is incumbent upon each of us to maintain a vigilant and forceful awareness that CAN prevent negative thoughts from derailing our dreams from becoming fully realized. If we allow these negative thought patterns to remain in our subconscious minds over time they WILL harm us emotionally, mentally and physically. ALL life – and reality – begins with thought, so guard your thoughts well! I am sorry to report that we are never done with these challenges of the mind and they can – and DO repeat (sometimes – not always) for a reason: To REMIND us of who we are – and are becoming. The ego wants to regain control of our thought patterns and return us to an earlier status quo that never worked for us – and never will.

The antidote for this negative “cycle of thought” is an examination of what we are doing and how well we are doing it. Can we improve our behavior? Our discipline? Our planning? Our listening? What is it that we are seeing again – and why? My conversation (argument) with my daughter showed me I am still capable of entertaining past negative thinking with poor results showing up again in my life. What a DRAG! Low self-worth and self-esteem can raise doubt and fear in all of us. What I am experiencing right now is a reminder of the road I have travelled – and the miles I have to go. It is always incumbent upon each of us to be “self aware” and allow this awareness to guide us to take personal responsibility for our behavior – and thoughts – (all that any of us can control  and then, and only then, will we make it successfully to our goal and accomplish our mission.

Our fitness programming follows this same logic and if we believe we cannot make it – we won’t. Our thoughts determine our results and our belief systems determine everything else of importance in our lives. DON’T LET FEAR AND SELF DOUBT control your future destiny. DO NOT entertain thoughts that in and of themselves are self destructive. I don’t know how the distance with my daughter will be bridged before Christmas but it will probably include compromise and some serious mutual listening.

Conflict in itself solves NOTHING but it CAN promote growth and understanding so I am not shy about engaging in a good argument – if it leads to greater mutual understanding – and peace. It is in HOW we disagree that matters. I argue with my feelings leading the way sometimes and that CAN be hurtful, but in this hurting we may get the opportunity to expand our definition of ourselves – and expand our consciousness as well. This is what I would call a “win – win”. This potential outcome CAN help us grow into a new definition of ourselves and create new opportunities with those we love – and with those others we value in our lives. It is about taking some risk and exposing ourselves to being uncomfortable for a while. I feel it is worth the effort – just be smart about how you go about implementing this idea!

I am convinced this time of year is challenging for all of us because there is much we need to learn – not only about ourselves – but about each other as well. After 45 years of being a father I am still learning about what that means and tonight I found out I am still NOT as patient or compassionate as I thought I was and so some “soul searching” will be required to bring me back to my best path of growth and understanding with those I love.

Take time today to reflect not only on your relationship with yourself but also with those you love and care about and see what emerges. You might be in for some amazing surprises and only YOU can do this work. Becoming a thoughtful listener is really the key to effective communication so practice that skill a lot! We have TWO ears and ONE mouth for a reason. I really find the holiday season to be about buying “STUFF” and not about appreciating our many blessings. This thought drives me crazy! However, this is the life we are living today so I either learn to live with it creatively or I will continue to hit the same “brick wall” as I have in the past – and I CHOOSE NOT DO THAT. All of this is to say that becoming unsettled, confused – or even angry – is probably a sign that we ARE ready for positive change to enter our lives and I TRULY BELIEVE that is a VERY good thing! Travel well.

Originally printed on HealthyNewAge.com. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.


Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

If you need help in designing a fitness plan, you can contact Nicholas Prukop via email at runningnick@sbcglobal.net or read his inspiring book Healthy Aging & YOU.