Written by Julianne Reichert, Duane Morris LLP

The latest YPN Professional Development event on Maintaining Your Personal Health and Wellness was highly successful, since all attendees could relate to the topic. The two speakers, each an expert in their own regard, shared their knowledge on listening to our bodies and knowing what is right for us.

Dr. Robert Bulgarelli, a Board Certified Cardiologist and Director of Integrative Cardiovascular Medicine, otherwise known as Dr. Bob, encouraged us to reframe our thinking when it comes to health and also to make dealing with stress a priority. According to Dr. Bob, 80% of all health problems are lifestyle mediated. If we invest in our mind, body and spirit, it’s very likely that we may live long into our 80s and 90s.

There are nine practices that will help you improve your health. First, eating a well-balanced, calorie restricted diet that is high in antioxidants and includes the appropriate supplements is important for your body. Dr. Bob emphasized that we should focus on our posture, flexibility and balance during the recommended 30-60 minutes of daily exercise and also to practice interval training. Sleep is another vital factor for our health. If you average 5.5 hours a night rather than the recommended 7.5 to 9, your life expectancy is shortened by 12 years.

Engaging in new and novel activities, ones that push us outside our comfort zone are great for the health of our minds. Examples of this include learning a language or musical instrument and taking courses that further your education. To be resilient in sustaining behavioral change, it’s important to notice your reaction to stress and practice shifting from a negative to positive response, as well as engaging in healthy choices and positive psychology. Simplicity of thought is another good practice to consider.

Three things help maintain health of the spirit: friendship, support and spirituality. The quality of our friendships helps us to feel good about ourselves. It is also important to have depth, breadth and closeness within one’s network as these people can often be a good sounding board and provide necessary support. Spirituality is less about religiosity and more about acting true to your core values and beliefs.

We also listened as Jessica Procini discussed her holistic approach to health and weight loss coaching. Jessica left her job in fashion marketing to acquire training in nutrition and coaching. Right away, she listed the three biggest mistakes she has seen with young professionals. The first was not eating a hearty breakfast. Breakfast is important because it helps to stabilize our blood sugar and is during the optimal time for burning calories, generally 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Second, a common misconception is that fat makes us fat. The reality is that sugar makes us fat and it’s important to eat good fats since they help to aid in digestion. Third, too often do we use the excuse of being too busy for physical activity. She prefers the word “movement” over exercise and encouraged the use of different strategies so that we could fit 60 minutes of movement into our daily lives.

Jessica proceeded to explain that there are three key ingredients to success in improving our health: having the right system, right support and accountability. She offered three healthy solutions for young professionals. Number one is to get comfortable with the optimal calorie burning time and to eat a hearty, well balanced breakfast before rushing off to work. Solution two is to eat good fats, especially the ones that burn fat. In fact, coconut oil helps curb sugar cravings and increase energy. Solution three is to pick a movement that you enjoy, whether it is walking, running, kickboxing, yoga, dancing, etc. The more you enjoy what you’re doing, the less likely you will make an excuse to miss it. On a tight schedule, squeeze six 10 minute bursts of energy throughout the day.

In our busy lives, it’s easy to say, “I don’t have time to cook a healthy meal, and I definitely don’t have time for physical activity.” However, if we invest in our whole selves (mind, body and spirit), practice time management strategies and listen to our bodies, the rewards we reap will far outweigh the costs and the quality of our lives will soar.