Improve Healthspan 060921

Growing up, I was a huge basketball fan, both college and professional. I admired all the elite players of the time, and I especially liked the UCLA Bruins. They were perennial winners under the coaching of the great John Wooden.

One of the best players of that era was a man I call “The First MJ,” Marques Johnson. He had a brilliant college and professional career. Maybe I gravitated to him because we are so close in age with less than a year between us.

There is something that separates outstanding athletes from the rest of us though: tremendous drive and competitive spirit. And, in MJ’s case, height.

In thinking about my love of basketball, my admiration of MJ’s career, and my infatuation with alliteration, I’ve put together five “I”s related to one of the Power of 5 components: sweat! Here they are.

1. Inspiration

I recently read an article about Marques Johnson in an AARP magazine. The article mentioned he was able to dunk a basketball at 65 years old! I was in awe and inspired by watching a 65-year-old man dunk. It is still a remarkable feat, even if Marques is 6’8”.

2. Intention

One of the major factors of successful lifestyle change is intention. I write and speak about intention often. I can’t imagine success without an aim, goal or plan. One reason I teamed up with my wife, Melissa Bernstein, to publish our Power of 5 Journal is to help others understand how intention works to improve their lifestyle by helping them put together a plan.

3. Integrity

Another component that goes alongside intention is integrity. Here, I am referring to one’s own internal integrity. This means committing to do something and fulfilling that commitment.

By definition, integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles or having moral uprightness.

Be true to your commitment to make lifestyle changes for the sake of improving your fitness and healthspan. Having a solid reason for making lifestyle changes enhances the chance for success. Making that reason meaningful and maintaining your personal integrity enhances success even further. I have known people who visualized milestones for their children or grandchildren, such as marriage or graduation, as motivation. The resulting internal integrity helped them remain on track.

4. Impactful

Any change, large or small, starts with small incremental steps. The benefits are impactful. The evidence regarding the benefits of increased physical activity is undeniable. These benefits are numerous: mental, cognitive, cardiovascular, improved balance, greater overall fitness, and more!

5. Invigorate

The final “I” of this message is to remind us all exercise can be invigorating. Exercise promotes the release of chemicals including endorphins, which promote vigor and sometimes even euphoria.

Of course, all of these “I”s only matter as much as they are implemented! So here is how I have done this.

  • The “first MJ” inspired me by staying in shape to dunk a basketball at age 65.
  • I have continued with my intention to follow all five items in my Power of 5 formula to remain youthful and live a long and healthy life.
  • Because of my integrity, I will make a commitment to stick to my plan. I have a goal in mind. I would like to see all my grandchildren enter college and even get married.
  • By sticking with my plan, I will make a significant impact on my life not only in length but quality, which is healthspan.
  • I love the invigorated feeling I get after my challenging workouts.

As you manage your life and health, how will you incorporate these 5 “I”s into your life?

I recommend committing to a daily routine that includes quality sleep and solid relationships. Set exercise goals and make adjustments to your diet. Remember to build mindfulness into your daily routine as well.

Doing these five things will enhance your vigor and youthfulness and improve healthspan.

To a long and healthy life.

David Bernstein, MD

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