Healthy Words of Wisdom

By September 17, 2012Health Tips

Some of our greatest writers and thinkers, while not medical experts, per se, have provided some of the most profound health advice.

“A man’s health can be judged by which he takes two at a time … pills or stairs.”  
~ Joan Welsh

Regular Stairsphysical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health.  Some of the most important health benefits from getting regular exercise include:

  • Controlling your weight
  • Decreasing your risk of developing heart disease
  • Reducing your risk for developing type 2 diabetes
  • Improving bone density and strength
  • Reducing your risk of developing certain types of cancer
  • Increasing your chances of living longer
“A sad soul can kill you quicker, far quicker, than a germ.”  
~John Steinbeck

Certain types of stress, in particular “social stressors” such as divorce or the death of a loved one, can lead to depression along with an increased risk of developing diseases such as hypertension and heart disease.  Two mechanisms have been proposed for this.  This first is behavioral through sleep deprivation, lack of exercise, and unhealthy eating practices.  The second is via the body’s endocrine system with the release of “stress hormones” that adversely affect various biological systems in the body.  Similarly, depression commonly accompanies chronic physical conditions and, if not addressed, can result in a worse outcome than in someone who has a more optimistic outlook.  The following are some of these medical conditions and the percentage of time that they are accompanied by depression:

  • Chronic Pain – 30-54%
  • Heart attack – 40-65%
  • Stroke – 10-27%
  • Cancer – 25%
  • Diabetes – 25%


“More die in the United States of too much food than of too little.”  
~John Kenneth Galbraith

People whose weight is greater than what is generally considered to be healthy are labeled as overweight or obese.  For adults, these labels are determined by using weight and height to calculate a number called the “body mass index” (BMI).  Anyone with a BMI of 25 or greater falls into the overweight or obese category.  This increases your risk of developing the following conditions:

  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver and gall bladder disease
  • Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
  • Osteoarthritis
  • High cholesterol

Around the year 47 BC, a prescription for healthy living was provided by Aulus Cornelius Celsus, writer of the medical encyclopedia, De Medicina.  This prescription holds up pretty well today:

  “Live in rooms full of light
Avoid heavy food
Be moderate in the drinking of wine
Take massage, baths, exercise, and gymnastics
Fight insomnia with gentle rocking or the sound of running water
Change surroundings and take long journeys
Strictly avoid frightening ideas
Indulge in cheerful conversation and amusements
Listen to music.”

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