Retirement  from government service almost seven years ago and the third declaration of state of emergency for one year nationwide effective 13 September  2021 up to 12 September 2022 compelled me to open my stockpiles of bookholdings to spend my time safely and wisely to avoid boredom and stress at home.

                This is notwithstanding the fact that I regularly commute  to my regular Radyo Peryodiko Online Bareta  6:30-8:00 a.m. Monday-Saturday program in tandem with SM Ferdz Brizo or Uncle Sam and visiting CatSU regularly or going downtown Virac  for some important  commitments to attend to.

                I usually do these challenging but satisfying activities with utmost  caution and compliance with the BIDA or HIMAS protocols, after I have completed my SINOVAC vaccine with no side effects so far.

                Since time immemorial health or wellness has been a universal concern. Health is wealth mantra has been recognized in all times and climes.

                In her column titled “The Rewards of Healthy Aging”, Beth Day Romulo, American wife of the

Late Carlos P. Romulo mentioned New York Times Health and Wellness columnist Jane Brody who wrote about the delights of healthy aging. Two years ago, a documentary called Alive Inside showed music can do for elderly Americans, especially those whose memories have been dimned by dementia.

                In the film, a 90-year –old African American woman living in a nursing home, was asked her life in the rural South. All she could think to say, with an embarrassed smile, was “I don’t remember.” But, once she was fitted with an iPod that played music that she had enjoyed in her youth, her smile broadened and her eyes sparkled as vivid memories flooded her brain. Listening to the music, she was able to describe the music and the dances that she enjoyed when she was young.

               Again Day quoted Brody’s narrative: “At another nursing home, a man with advanced dementia who refused to speak or even raise his head was outfitted with an iPod. Suddenly, he began to talk and sway to the music and even sing along with familiar songs.

               The “Music and Memory Project” that provided the iPod was the work of a volunteer music lover who regularly visited nursing homes to help patients recall the music they loved. Through this project which is now being used across the US, music and the arts are enhancing the lives of elderly people, and not just those suffering from dementia. With grants from organizations such as the National Endowments for the Arts and the National Institute of Aging, volunteers with backgrounds in the arts have established programs that utilize activities in music, dance, singing, and storytelling to add meaning and joy to the lives of the elderly.

                Dr. Gene Cohen, a gerontologist who died in 2009, was a staunch advocate for the mental and physical benefits of creativity for the elderly. He said that creativity challenges the mind and leads to the formation of new channels of communication. A recent survey showed that when older become involved in cultural programs, they can experience a decline in depression, are less likely to fall, and have to pay fewer visits to the doctor.

           The dance and music programs for the elderly have been linked to lower blood pressure, reduced levels of stress hormones, and increased levels of the “happiness hormones” that are responsible for a runner’s “high,”Day concluded.

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           In the Readers Digest book titled “Food Cures. Breakthrough Nutritional Prescriptions for Everything from Colds to Cancer,” the editors featured an article on the “medicinal value of food.”

            In Australia and New Zealand, the average person fills seven medication prescriptions each year, for a wide range of health conditions. “But how many are using the healing powers of food to the same end,” they asked.

            Medication may seem the most straightforward, reliable and scientific way to manage health problems, and in some cases it is. But many ailments can be managed as effectively—and sometimes more effectively—simply by making small lifestyle changes, and the advantages of this approach are many, they said.

            Firstly, drugs can be dangerous or have undesirable side effects, while the side effects of lifestyle modification are more likely to involve increased fitness and higher energy levels. Secondly, drugs are usually prescribed only after you develop a health problem and have a single role in managing that problem.

             Lifestyle changes, on the other hand, can prevent problems, and their resultant effects are, on balance, much more wide ranging and longer lasting. Exercise for example, burns  energy (which helps control body weight), but it can also improve cardiac efficiency and circulation, brain function and mood, and increase insulin sensitivity and bone strength, just for starters. Food, similarly, provides hundreds of health-promoting substances that cutting-edge research is only beginning to explore and understand.

              “If  ‘you are what you eat’, then food is influencing your health every minute of the day, and can profoundly affect your chances  of developing, or avoiding, serious conditions such cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and many cancers. Finally, lifestyle changes can be much more enjoyable than taking regular medication, and you have the opportunity to share these changes with friends and family. Sitting down to enjoy a well-balanced, healthy meal together is one of life’s great pleasures, as well as chance to acquire good habits that will stay with you for life,“  further they wrote.

                Lifestyle changes may seem more complicated than just taking a tablet—and they are. You might wonder why there seems to be so much conflicting information about healthy eating and exercise, which can be confusing at times. But the basic of a healthy lifestyle are actually fairly straightforward, with a few key principles that apply no matter what kind of health issues you have or what kind of food you like. You don’t have to be a great cook! That’s it, Ka-Peryodiko. No more, no less.

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