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  • jeffreybegg

How to improve your "Healthspan"

Lifespan is how long you live. Healthspan is how long in your life you are healthy. Injury and disease may or may not shorten your lifespan by much, but they commonly reduce your quality of life and shorten your healthspan. Here's how I help with that:

The most important preventative health intervention you can adopt.

The studies are in. We know that the best thing you can do to reduce your risk of metabolic disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative disease (dementia, Parkinson's etc) is exercise. It's almost embarrassing for the medical community to admit: of all the pharmacological interventions we've discovered in the past 100+ years, none of them is as powerful as exercise in maintaining health, and pushing back the onset of disease.

What if you can't exercise because of injury?

When you have a painful knee, our health care system considers that to be a non-life threatening injury, and often you get pushed to the back of the queue, and are left waiting for diagnostic imaging or medical advice. But think of it this way - if exercise is the most powerful preventative health action we can take, then not exercising due to a joint pain is in fact quality-of-life threatening. A sore knee leads to inactivity, which can lead to high blood pressure, insulin resistance, pre-diabetes... It's absolutely vital that you keep your body working well enough for you to keep exercising.

Get your aches and pains fixed up so you can get back at it.

Here are some of the aches and pains that you might be suffering from that I commonly investigate and treat, in order to get you healthy and active again:

  • Neck pain: It is absolutely NOT ok that neck pain should get in the way of you walking, or biking, or lifting weights.

  • Back pain: See above! And ready about my approach to back pain here.

  • Shoulder pain: Your shoulder is remarkable, almost miraculous in what it is designed to do, but it can also be delicate, and a host of things can interfere with how it functions. You need a proper diagnosis first, and from that, we'll create the right rehab to get it moving fully without pain again.

  • Hip pain: There is more that can go wrong with a hip than just arthritis. And even if it is "the A-word", there are lots of physiotherapy-things you can do to manage it. In fact, I'll provide you with a list of proven non-surgical, non-drug therapies to treat your hip arthritis. And when we discover that something other than "the A-word" is causing your hip pain, we'll put together the right rehab program for that as well.

  • Knee pain. One of the most important types of exercise for maintaining cardio fitness and lower body strength is squatting, lunges and step ups. When knee pain interferes with that, something must be done. We'll either fix up the pain so you can return to squatting activities again, or in some cases squatting won't be appropriate any more, so we'll come up with alternate versions of the same motion that your knee can tolerate.

  • Foot and ankle pain. Your foot is your interface with the earth - if it can't bear your body weight, your exercise options will be limited. Sometimes, you need to pivot to biking and swimming and other non-weight bearing activities, for a time, or forever. But first, we need to figure out what's wrong in the foot, and do out best to correct that. Bearing weight through your feet and ankles without pain opens up a huge number of healthy exercise activity, including walking and running to maintain bone density, and even more importantly, getting out in nature to enjoy both physical exercise and mental refreshment.

I'm a keen student of healthy living and increasing my healthspan. I take a deep personal interest in that for my own sake, and I dive deeply into this for my patients to ensure that no stone is unturned in the pursuit of a delightfully long healthspan.

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