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Your Health is like a Marathon – Practical Tips for Achieving your Personal Health Record

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Life really is like running a marathon!  I know – I just ran the New York Marathon.  Here are some of the things that I learned about life from my training experience and actual completion of the NYC Marathon.  Hope you enjoy!

Dr. Michael Wald, Director of Nutrition at Integrated Medicine of Mount Kisco, P.C.

914-242-8844, www.intmedny.com

First of all I want to thank everyone who attended our fundraising pre-marathon party to raise money for Tourette’s syndrome.  I’d like to repay you by giving you some practical thoughts for your health using my marathon training experiences as a metaphor. Very practical stuff – promise!

I’ve definitely learned that there are some important parallels between my marathon training and producing health and wellbeing.  These tips, I believe, are essential for anyone who is healthy or those with mild or very serious illness who wish to increase his/her chances of recovery.  If you take my suggestions to heart, I believe that you can complete your “Personal Health Record or (PHR).

As a marathon runner for two years I’ve learned that poor food choices compromise my ability to train hard and if I want to improve my performance I must inevitably pay attention to diet.

Like health and wellness efforts one must be mindful of food choices depending on the type of race you’re in.  If you’ve got cancer in the latter stages much more detail and adherence is required to get our PHR.  If you want to prevent chronic illness and avoid disease then you might be able to slack off a little, but a long-term plan is necessary.

During my training I’ve run four days per week for over eight months; that’s considered a fairly dedicated marathon training program.  That’s right!  This is considered an adequate training program, but not in an elite level training program.

Once again, whatever your health goals, if you want your PHR, you must put out efforts that are proportional to your health goals.

I’ve learned that if I run slowly on one day it might be because I ran hard on another day, but I’ve also learned that this improves my ability to run more intensely over the long haul.

From a health perspective I’ve learned from treating many patients over the last 20+ years, that we don’t have to be perfect in our health endeavors, but we have a hard time on one day or one week or one month for that matter, we can plan on making it up as we go along.

Most of us burn about 100 calories for every mile we walk or run for that matter.  I’ve done runs as long as 22 miles in preparation for my marathon burning 2,200 calories.

It’s important that when eating or taking nutritional supplements for the purpose of prevention or treatment of serious illness that a fundamental attention to caloric intake in addition to supplements must be adhered to.

I’ve learned that when you run fast your body burns glycogen and when you run slower and longer your body burns fat.  From a healing perspective, it’s important, just like in marathon training, that a combination of fast and slow efforts be attempted.

One might be more intense nutritionally at one stage of healthcare efforts, and slow things down at another.

The basic elements of training, which I believe are completely consistent with success in life and healing include consistency, mileage, intensity and rest.

Someone wishing to improve their overall health and wellbeing must be consistent with their efforts.  This does not mean that have to be perfect each day, but over the long haul they must have some repetitiveness and regularity to their efforts to “add up” to optimal health.

In terms of mileage, over time both the runner and person wishing to maintain or achieve health will benefit with a longer life due to reduction in chronic degenerative diseases.

Intensity is a key element for health improvements and athletic performance.  If one does not have some periods of intense efforts he or she cannot expect to make dramatic health improvements.

Rest, of course, is key for all healing and athletic efforts because there is no repair without rest and sleep.

Running experts agree that building up mileage over time is essential for achieving success in a long distance event.

I can tell you from working with literally thousands of patients over the years that one cannot expect to achieve health or improve their chronic disease overnight; time, in other words mileage, is an essential factor separating those who “do the right thing for short periods of time, as compared to those who become the result they desire”.

I’ve learned that with running if I want to improve my endurance I must increase the volume of my running or how many miles I run.

The same is true of health endeavors, if you set high goals for health you must practice healthy living more often than not.

As a runner, increasing the key to improving running performance is to increase mileage gradually and pay attention to how your body reacts.

As the original Blood Detective I’ve learned that careful attention to my patients biochemistry and the subjective perceptions of the healing process, is essential for making subtle adjustments over time that add up to optimal healing results.

Every runner knows there’s no single workout or training program that’s best for everyone – this is certainly true for every single patient I’ve ever met.

I literally must “rewrite the book” when developing individualized healing plans.  Careful assessment of one’s individual needs, and developing a coherent healing plan, is the best single way towards maximizing healing.

During my runs that go longer than an hour, I consume nutritional bars and supplements along my runs, often before my runs and after for speeding recovery.

There is no way that eating even the most healthy foods can substitute for concentrated forms of expertly formulated nutritional supplements.  My Blood Detective line of nutritional supplements has been developed though many years of research and can be individualized to each persons needs.  On the other hand, there’s no substitute for healthy diet, but a healthy diet without concentrated forms of nutritional supplements will hamper the healing process – in other words, goal results!

In marathon training there are days when there are hard workouts, intermediate workouts and easy workouts.

Like healing efforts I develop plans that might be easier, slightly harder and very difficult depending on what needs to be done.  For example, I’ll often recommend dramatic dietary, lifestyle and nutritional supplement changes which will be equivalent to a hard run, but one would not want to run hard or attempt extreme lifestyle, nutritional supplement and dietary efforts ongoingly.

How to train is an essential part of a well-organized running plan.

Likewise, how to eat, sleep and live for producing health also must begin with a well-organized plan.  As a runner, if you do not have a well-organized training plan you will never “peak” by race time.  If my patients are faced with surgery, chemotherapy or simply dealing with chronic health issues that don’t seem to be going away on their own, a well organized plan can help push one forward towards increased wellness.

As a new person involved in marathons (my second year of marathon training) developing a baseline for running is essential as I improve my skills over the long haul.

The same is true with my patients who desire ongoing healing and optimal wellness.  When beginning improvement in diet, lifestyle or taking supplements think of this as creating a “baseline” to build upon over the long term.  If one continues to do the same thing every day, even “eating well and taking supplements” – even when they’re based on my suggestions, will fall short if these suggestions are not adjusted ongoingly as needed over time.

A marathoner needs a minimum of 70 grams of protein a day.

A patient of mine with a minor health problem as opposed to one with a significant or even a life threatening health problem must have the appropriate intake of vitamins, minerals, proteins, healthy carbs and healthy fats.  Failure to pay attention to these fundamentals will lead to a person, and a runner, “tanking” during the race.  The ideal eating plan must be based upon one’s laboratory work, goals and current abilities and adjusted as needed.

I’ve also learned that confidence is probably the most important factor in mind of athletes.

I encourage my patients to realize the truth about health and healing, namely that there isn’t a single health issue or devastating disease that someone somewhere has not overcome!  I refuse to believe, or take the words of even the smartest physicians in allopathic medical circles, that it is impossible to manage particular health issues.  Time and time again over the last 20+ years I’ve seen people beat every manner of healthcare problem imaginable with their physicians simply saying “I’ve never seen anything like it”.

Finally, I’ve learned that maintaining a steady pace during a race will allow me to “pick up the pace” later in the race and this is known to be an effective strategy for passing a lot of runners in the last half dozen or so miles who simply went out too fast.  I can promise you that following our individualized healing plans will help you create “a steady pace” so that you have the best chance of achieving your health goals…or PRH – Personal Record in Health.

Best of health to you and to your loved one’s!

Please feel free to forward your comments to Dr. Michael Wald by visiting his website at: www.intmedny.com or calling 914-242-8844.

Dr. Michael Wald


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