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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.

phone

Why Mobile Health Apps FAIL

What went wrong? Dr. Steve Feyrer-Melk reacts to a mobile health app that failed to gain adoption in this recent trial


My heart stopped.

No way… Is this true? Is this even possible?

Have I missed something in my work? Is mobile health off base?

I read the title of the research paper again and again…

“Lack of Adoption of a Mobile App … Analysis of Staff and Patients in a Failed Randomized Trial.”

Oh my God… If this could apply to things I have worked on all these years this could really mean trouble.

I had to read on….

The authors did a great job setting the stage for this paper. “Thousands of mobile health (mHealth) apps … effectiveness of many apps remains unclear.”

Alright, this makes sense, but does this include the technology I am working on?

As I continued to read on I started to see where this was going. The authors summarized mHealth apps as having failed “to balance the system demands of the app with the needs, interests, or resources of the end users…”

…failure to balance the system demands of the app with the needs, interests, or resources of the end users can undermine consumers’ adoption of these technologies

Now that was it… a failure to focus on the end users… Whew! That’s the exact opposite of everything I have worked on during my 30 years in the health and prevention industry.

This research didn’t reject my work. It actually supports it!

After further analysis of the entire article and a focus on the methodology and results, it became increasingly clear that it was not mHealth that was the “failure”, but instead, this particular app and platform failed because it was a “poor fit between the app, end users, and the recruitment and treatment approaches…”

In other words, the biggest reason for the breakdown of this particular mHealth app and platform was because it was complex, and lacked effective implementation training.

As this all sunk in my heart jerked back into rhythm. My beliefs and philosophy intact, I felt vindicated.

You see, if you truly want to leverage the abilities of a health professional and help patients achieve optimal health and wellbeing, technology must be designed and implemented properly.

To accomplish this, you MUST find and integrate mHealth apps and platforms that are simple, efficient, impactful, and provide a truly positive experience from both the end-user and the medical professional.

Unfortunately, the absence of these key factors will always result in failure.

So as I sit here, still steadying my nerves from the shock of feeling like my life’s work was being derailed, I’m realizing again the absolute necessity of two of the core design principles I value most…

Simplicity isn’t optional.

You must remove every unnecessary complication to keep the patient engaged. In the word’s of the Nudge Design Principles, “Simplicity reduces choice while maximizing utility.”

Simplicity reduces choice while maximizing utility.

Empathy isn’t optional.

You must understand and build a solution starting first from the patient’s needs, with no ulterior motives. In the words of the Nudge Communication Principles we must always endeavor to “speak to each user where they are.”

Speak to each user where they are.

If you’re hoping to launch an effective program that incorporates mobile health technology, an engagement strategy isn’t optional.

Reprinted with permission from Dr. Steve Feyrer-Melk.


Steve Feyrer-Melk, MEd, PhD, is a powerful, passionate, and trusted authority in Lifestyle Medicine who is bringing an innovative, refreshing, and successful approach to proactive health care. Dr. Steve co-founded the Optimal Heart Attack & Stroke Prevention Center where he crafts and hones real-world programs for immediate impact. Dr. Steve also serves as the Chief Science Officer of Nudge, LLC, a lifestyle medical technology company.

Seniors-by-pool

How to Maintain Physical and Mental Health After Retirement

Did you know that 10,000 Baby Boomers are retiring from their careers every day? This enormous wave of new retirees has been steady as the cohort hits the 65-year-old mark, according to the Pew Research Center and the Social Security Administration. When retiring, it is important for seniors to focus on staying physically and mentally healthy to keep up their quality of life. Seniors not only want to live longer, but they want to age well.

Exercise 

Being physically active is one of the best things seniors can do for their health. Research has shown that just 15 minutes of exercise each day can boost longevity, ward off depression, improve sleep, lower blood pressure, and decrease the risk of chronic illnesses.

Physical activities such as stretching, strength training, balance exercises, and aerobics will build endurance and flexibility. Try to incorporate a routine that includes walking, swimming, or cycling five times a week. Seniors can also participate in exercise classes at local community centers and YMCAs.

If older athletes want to remain competitive, they can train for local marathons or even compete in the National Senior Games.

Speaking of games

Seniors also can engage in games such as Sudoku or crossword puzzles to help sharpen their brains and prevent memory loss. AARP provides a variety of online games and apps for tech-savvy older adults.

Card games and bingo also may build bonds and a little friendly competition with other seniors. Retirees can invite friends over for a monthly game of Bunco.

Furry friendship

Contact with a pet can prevent loneliness and isolation for seniors who may have lost a spouse or have adult children far from home. Walking or playing with a puppy is a great source of exercise and eases the pain of arthritis. Dogs also can protect seniors in their homes. Even the barking of small dogs will deter burglars.

Volunteers can train their pets to become therapy dogs to visit long-term care facilities. Seniors will find joy in interacting with caregivers, as the therapy dogs become great conversation starters. Companionship with a dog is a great mood booster and provides emotional support.

Growing technology

Although many older adults do not adapt to technology as quickly as millennials, there is a movement to create easy-to-use, high-tech products geared toward health and safety. Falls are the leading cause of injury or death for seniors, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, contributing to about 27,000 deaths annually.

Fall-detection wearables that call for assistance have been around since the late ‘80s, but some companies have created more attractive and sleeker devices for seniors. For example, companies have designed smartwatches that can monitor the owner’s heart rate and step count and can call a designated family member if the wearer falls.

“Alexa” the digital assistant built into Amazon’s Echo also can help seniors to set reminders to take medications as well as adjust lights and thermostats in their homes.

These gadgets will alleviate the stress for family members and maintain seniors’ privacy.

Vacations for seniors

Retirees might be out of the workplace, but that doesn’t mean they should stop taking vacations. Seniors have more time and can avoid the crowds in places including the Caribbean, Hawaii, or Alaska.

Older adults also might want to consider vacationing to places that are English-speaking destinations in case they need to request medication or access to a doctor. Look for vacation packages that offer senior discounts.

There are many ways that seniors can maintain their mental and physical health after they retire. Steps seniors can take include exercising, playing games, spending time with a companion animal, and taking vacations.


Henry Moore is the co-creator of FitWellTraveler. The site blends two of his favorite subjects (travel and health) to provide readers with information about how to get the most out of both. He believes travel can change you, and good health preserves you. He combines both in his work on FitWellTraveler.
wearable-tech

Health Trackers & Apps are Dangerous… Scientists Say What?

With over 165,000 health-related apps in the App Store and Millions of wearables in the hands of the general public, scientists are wondering if they are “doing more harm than good”? One expert commented that the field can be “likened to the snake oil salesmen of the 1860s.” Is this true?

Question: What is the danger of health-related technologies in the hands of the general public?

Answer: Because health-related technology is often “one size fits all” with the data it provides mistakenly seen as the “holy grail” that leads to improved health, it can lead individuals down a path that does not correlate with improved behaviors. This should not be a shock to health professionals as it is certainly unfair to expect the average technology user to be a “health expert” who is able to accurately analyze health data and implement the proper behavior change.

Therefore, the real question should be . . . How can the power of health-related technologies that is already in the hands of the pubic, be appropriately leveraged? Well my friends, that answer lies square in the hands of the Health Professional who fills the significant gap between the individual and technology they use. I call this the Technology-Behavior Change Triad© (Details in the next article in this series).

Where the Rubber Meets the Road: While working with clients and patients for over 5 years we have successfully integrated health-related technologies with our patients and clients. During this time we have found them to be the key tool for providing patient-matched, actionable feedback related to long-term behavior change. Think about it, how else can we get “real-time”, individualized information from clients or patients when they are not with us? What’s more, smartphones and wearables are already in the hands in just about ALL of our current and potential clients and patients so as professionals we are remiss if we disregarded the use of this technology.

The Take Home Message: Health-Related technology provides valuable information to the end user. Can this be harmful? Well, the question really should be . . . How can this technology be most impactful for improved health? Simply put, the Health Professional can harness the power of Health-Related technology when it is integrated within the client or patient relationship. In the end, not only do these tools allow the creation of the best individualized motivational environment for each person, but they also take your business to the next level as you optimize your service offering with more efficient and effective engagement!

Reprinted with permission from Dr. Steve Feyrer-Melk.


Steve Feyrer-Melk, MEd, PhD, is a powerful, passionate, and trusted authority in Lifestyle Medicine who is bringing an innovative, refreshing, and successful approach to proactive health care. Dr. Steve co-founded the Optimal Heart Attack & Stroke Prevention Center where he crafts and hones real-world programs for immediate impact. Dr. Steve also serves as the Chief Science Officer of Nudge, LLC, a lifestyle medical technology company.

ORTHOPEDICS CONSULTATION WOMAN

Rebuilding and Regenerating Damaged Knees: The Future Has Arrived!

If you grew up in the 1970s, you may remember the Six Million Dollar Man TV show with Steve Austin. The show began with a futuristic-type regeneration of an injured Steve Austin, and they would say, “we have the technology, we can rebuild him.” It was a great one-liner, but seem so far-fetched. Fast forward 30 years, or just one generation. The future is now. We have the technology!