Wellness expert Alexandra Drane is a fabulous and thoughtful speaker. At a leading-edge health conference, she pitched the concept that, “When life goes wrong, health goes wrong.”

She discussed the concept of a hierarchy of needs for health. When Maslow’s hierarchy of needs isn’t met, people lose focus on personal healthcare. Drane noted that Walmart research discovered that about 85% of the United States population did not see a doctor in the past two years. She surmised that they struggled with life’s challenges.

For the remaining 15%, Keep Health takes the optimistic viewpoint that their base physiological, safety, social and esteem needs have been achieved. They care about their health and have the self-confidence and financial resources to get help. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs covers:

 

  1. Physiological — water, air, food, sleep
  2. Safety — security, shelter, stability
  3. Social — love, family, friends, inclusion
  4. Esteem — self-confidence, feeling of accomplishment, respect
  5. Self-Actualized —  desire to be the best you can be

At Keep Health, we’ve added steps for increased healthspan onto the foundation of Maslow’s hierarchy.

Our 6th step is focus. This requires making time and allocating resources to improve your health.

What are you willing to do to maximize your health and wellness?

How much time and money would you commit each month to increase the number of healthy months in your life? That’s a big question. Take time to think about it and write down your answer..

How much is an extra month of good health worth to you?

An extra six months?

An extra ten years?

<When you’ve decided how much time and money you’d commit, scroll down…>

Tim Peterson, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis produced this chart showing average healthspan vs lifespan in the United States.

In today’s culture, few people realize they have the opportunity to add 10+ years to their healthspan. Most people fatalistically proceed through their lives until their bodies wear out.

Valter Longo, PhD, a renowned professor of biological sciences and director of the Longevity Center at the University of Southern California thinks the opportunity is even bigger to increase both healthspan and lifespan. He states that “If we can learn from the past and match it to the science and clinical data, it’s not unreasonable to think we could add 20 or 30 years.”

Dare to be different. We believe the risk is worth the reward.

Our 7th step is establishing your health baseline for your body, genetics, microbiome and environment. You want to know your starting point so you can measure improvement and compare yourself to others. You want to know your current weaknesses and vulnerabilities so you can be proactive in caring for them. Fortunately, there are companies which provide good assessments and the cost is affordable.

Our 8th step is setting up continuous health and sleep monitoring. Wearable devices providing daily feedback allows you to see and measure the impact of your choices.

Discussions with health behavior experts like Cheryl Morrison-Deutsch from corporate wellness provider, Zillion, revealed that the most important factor in being able to change is getting consistent, sufficient, quality sleep. Without proper sleep, people follow their daily patterns or indulge in unhealthy activities which make them temporarily feel good.

There are plenty of good, affordable personal monitoring devices in the market and they are improving rapidly to provide detailed data.

Our 9th step is to optimize your diet and supplements. Do you think your diet is very good? Do you eat 8-9 daily servings of fruits and vegetables and minimize simple carbohydrates? Even with a very good diet, can you make improvements without giving up foods you love? For example, do you taste and enjoy more than the first couple bites of a dessert? Are you willing to reduce the portion size? The frequency of consumption?

In seeking to optimize your diet, delicious new foods and recipes can be discovered. Fortunately, there are many tasty foods in this world! Some are healthier than others.

Supplements are tricky to figure out. There are many supplements on the market. Which of those make a difference in our healthspan? Which are proven safe by trusted independent laboratories? How do we figure out what is right for each of us? The need for and choice of supplements varies from individual to individual, but finding the right mix for you will have a positive effect on your health.

Our 10th step is exercise, strength and flexibility.

Not surprisingly, getting exercise boosts your healthspan and your longevity. The Blue Zones researchers who studied the people who live the longest recommend the following exercises for a happy healthy life.

Strength training can be done with light weights and repetition. It boosts your body’s healing properties and has many other scientifically proven health benefits.

Most people forget about flexibility. Don’t be one of them. There are some easy ways to include stretching in your daily routine.

Our 11th step is social wellness, caring about the health of your friends, family and co-workers. When you’ve become a role model for good health, others see that change and cautiously express interest. You can support them. This has multiple benefits. When your network is practicing healthy behaviors, it makes it easier for you to do the same.

Our 12th step is augmentation, to replace parts as our bodies begin to wear out and to enhance our capabilities. Today, we benefit from contact lenses, eyeglasses, Lasik surgery, hearing aids, smart watches, standard procedures for hip and knee replacements and more. By 2025, there will be opportunities for further physical and mental augmentation. What we see in science fiction movies is being turned into reality. Here are some:

Real Clear Science author Rob Tracinski describes five technologies for physical and mental augmentation:

 

  1. Bionics and Prosthetics (artificial limbs)
  2. Brain Computer Interfaces
  3. Neurotechnology (brain implants)
  4. Nootropics (smart drugs, cognitive enhancers)
  5. Gene Editing

Big Think author Elise Bohan describes ten upcoming augmentation technologies:

 

  1. Embedded RFID Chips
  2. Exoskeletons
  3. Real-Time Language Translation
  4. Augmented Vision
  5. Smart Contact Lenses
  6. 3D-Printed Body Parts
  7. Smarter Drugs
  8. Brain-Computer Interfaces
  9. Designer Babies
  10. Enhanced Sexual Organs

Future articles from Keep Health will dive into steps 6-11 in greater depth with practical, science-backed guidance to increase healthspan. Until then, see also:

Keeping Health is Not Just Diet and Exercise: 20 Key Health Factors for 2020

 

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