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    Lesson One – Move Naturally

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | April 18th, 2021

    Lesson One – Move Naturally

    When I see patients for their annual gynecological exam, I always ask the question – What are your health goals? The most common answer is, ‘I would love to lose weight’ and the second common response is ‘I want to be healthy’. With the weight loss, I think about The Best Diet Plan that I blogged about in June 2019.  Regarding being healthy, I immediately think about the ‘Blue Zones’. The blue zones are areas in the world where people live longer lives. They have fewer diseases and are active well into their 90s. There are five areas in the world that have been designated as blue zones – Sardinia-Italy, Okinawa-Japan, Loma Linda-California, Icaria-Greece and Nicoya Peninsula-Costal Rica. Dan Buettner and his team visited these countries and interviewed many of the individuals living in these areas. He was able to compile a list of what they had in common and wrote the book, Blue Zones, Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest.

    Lessons learned include:

    1. Move Naturally – Be active without having to think about it
    2. Hara Hachi Bu – painlessly cut calories by 20%
    3. Plant Slant – Avoid meat or processed foods
    4. Grapes of Life – Drink red wine (in moderation)
    5. Purpose Now – Take time to see the big picture
    6. Downshift – Take time to relieve stress
    7. Belong – Participate in a spiritual community
    8. Loved Ones First –   Make family a priority
    9. Right Tribe – Be surrounded by those who share the Blue Zone values

    In the last chapter of Dan Buettner’s book, he talks about creating your own ‘Blue Zone’. I truly believe that the road towards being healthy is following the advice of these elders.  In the next few weeks, we will talk about each lesson. This week will be Move Naturally.

    Move Naturally – Moving is important. Although the people in the Blue Zones did not have a formal exercise routine, there were plenty of opportunities to move.  Exercise is the way that we move.  When people think of exercise, they think of going to the gym. If you love the gym, go to the gym. If you hate the gym find something else to do. There are plenty of opportunities in our lives to move. There are everyday things that we can do- cook at home, use the stairs at work, park furthest from the entrance way anywhere you go, walk to your destination if possible, learn the latest line dance and dance before you hop into the shower, hula hoop, jump rope, walk in place while watching television at least during commercial time, give up the remote control, iron more, plant a garden- all you have to do is move. While you are moving, think about adding strength- resistance exercise, flexibility and balance. For strength exercises, carry two water bottles and use as weights. Get on You-tube and watch videos – Yoga, Pilates, or Tai Chi. Stay near a wall and stand on one foot for a few seconds. I know that we talk about trying to get at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. Do not get bogged down on time. Start with 5 minutes a day and be consistent and then add extra minutes. Move! Move! Move!

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    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

    The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.




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