This post was originally published in the May 2018 edition of Senior Review.
Our culture and society seems to be changing a lot.
Just think – it used to take days to send letters by mail, and often weeks to get a response.
Now we instantly send email, texts, audio, data and even video digitally over the Internet from our portable phones and tablet devices, which are also cameras, video recorders, our portable offices, entertainment centers and potentially hundreds of other things. What used to take days or weeks, now takes mere seconds.
Without a doubt, we obviously have experienced (and continue to experience) a communications revolution of dizzying proportions.
In this fast-paced spirit, people seem to yearn for instant gratification in just about everything. There is what could almost be characterized as an addiction to “quick fixes” such as “makeovers”, fast food, yo-yo fad diets, rushed and often phony online dating, distant virtual relationships, and a seeming obsession with fame and fortune with the expectation of little or no work or sacrifice being required.
I’m not suggesting all people subscribe to this way of thinking, but many seem to be increasingly lured to this mindset by a constant bombardment of media messages and advertising.
A friend recently reminded me, “Success only comes before work in the dictionary.”
Good Health Is A Lifestyle Choice
The same can be said about success with health and fitness. Despite what the “get fit quick” ads and fitness gurus suggest, good health requires both action and ongoing commitment.
The celebrity singer Cher once said, “If it came in a bottle everyone would have a great body.” Few if any however actually achieve ongoing great health simply from consuming something in a bottle or from a magic system or formula.
Similarly, most of the quick fix reforms in health care have so far failed to make it more affordable, efficient, or effective, as has been repeatedly promised by our politicians and policy makers.
Instead, health care continues to get even more expensive and complicated, with less and less value returned on the tax payer and patient investment.
Better Living Through Pharmaceuticals?
A big part of the elevated upstream and downstream costs of health care can be found in the modern over-emphasis and myopic reliance on manufactured drugs and pharmaceuticals. Many highly advertised drugs play on common human insecurities and claim to be quick fix answers to almost every malady or condition.
Some results are indeed disastrous. Tragically many of those with chronic pain who initially get some relief from narcotics end up with a drug addiction, and far too often death.
One hospital in Wisconsin for example was nicknamed “Candy Land” for handing out so many opioids (Chicago Tribune, Glantz, “Pain Killers Handed Out Like Candy At Wisconsin VA Hospital”, Jan 9 2015).
It’s Really Not That Complicated
To truly reduce the cost and improve the quality of health care, it must become more consumer-driven and less over-regulated and micro-managed by politically-driven government officials and bureaucratically-driven insurance companies.
What does that mean? It means unleashing the forces of a truly free market, and reversing the current modern headlong stampede toward socialism and medical fascism.
In the current health care environment of ever rising insurance deductibles and co-pays and reduced insurance coverage, these days there is much less assurance with insurance than ever before.
Cash Is Truly King
Consumer-driven cash-based health care treatment clinics and providers can (and do) frequently provide much better value care with more care options for patients, at a fraction of the cost of the current insurance-driven model.
Cash-based care is especially helpful for individuals with no insurance or with high insurance deductibles. Even more can be saved using health savings accounts and direct access physical therapy.
It’s a good and rewarding habit to shop around for value and effective innovations in health care treatment options!
Get Into The Habit of Good Health
Habits of good health and fitness should optimally be taught and learned in childhood, but can be obtained at any age. Our habits are often key factors in our health – or lack of health.
In physical education, I suggest much more emphasis than is at present should be placed on leading students to the habit of daily exercise with less emphasis on sports. Most will not play sports as adults, but all should have the habit of regular exercise and staying physically active.
“Proactive” is a word described by the late Dr. Stephen Covey in his classic book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” The habit of pro-activity he defines by saying, “As human beings, we are responsible for our own lives.”
Self-responsibility acknowledges that our behavior is a product of our decisions and not our conditions. Ultimately, we choose our behaviors, including how we spend our time and live our lives.
We also choose our response to a given set of circumstances. The best health care policies promote good quality lifestyle education, independence, and an emphasis on helping people to optimally help themselves.
What About Physical Therapy?
A Doctor of Physical Therapy can be a tremendous asset. Physical Therapists are highly trained to evaluate and to treat the drivers of restrictive pain, weakness and instability – rather than to just mask the symptoms with pharmaceuticals. A good physical therapist will also help you identify and address relevant lifestyle issues.
With more emphasis on pro-activity and less on quick fixes, better health care value and quality of life can be achieved.
As Aristotle put it, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.”