Bad Health Choices? Now’s the Time to Take Your Mulligan

By Martha Michael

National Mulligan Day

The job you turned down, the puppy you brought home -- or everything you did in your 20s -- we’ve all made decisions we regret. National Mulligan Day is celebrated in mid-October, so it’s the perfect time for a do-over, particularly those lifestyle choices that contribute to long-term consequences to our health and wellness.

But a do-over isn’t restricted to a day such as Oct. 17; if you’ve made some bad shots in your life, any time is the right time to take a corrective measure -- the sooner the better.

Creating a Bunker of Bad Habits

If you became a sun worshipper as a teen or developed a smoking habit, you know by now they weren’t very good ideas. What begins as a youthful dalliance becomes a lifelong struggle, and at times, a fatal one.

Smoking - Current statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that smoking affects nearly every organ of the body. There are more than 16 million people in the United States who have smoking-related diseases. And for every death there are more than 30 individuals with a serious disease related to smoking.

Diseases caused by smoking include cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smokers also have a greater risk for developing tuberculosis, problems with the immune system, and eye diseases.

Tanning - The cosmetic advantage of a body bronzed by the sun is no match for the damage to your skin. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a list of risks from sun tanning including:

  • Sunburn
  • Premature aging
  • Skin cancer
  • Solar keratoses
  • Damage to the eyes
  • Suppression of the Immune system

You can improve your chance of reversing a lot of these conditions by taking a mulligan and changing course. But changing a lifelong habit requires a swing with a solid follow-through.

Letting Pain Symptoms Lie

Perhaps you ignore recurring symptoms from a back injury or you simply power through knee pain at the gym. Failing to get treatment for such issues can result in chronic health problems.

By seeking chiropractic care, you nip the injury in the bud so it never grows to such proportions. By taking a medical history and completing an examination, your chiropractor can offer you a diagnosis and design a treatment program to help alleviate or manage symptoms. And more importantly, it cuts down on your chance of a domino effect, where a little pain becomes debilitating.

It’s an issue that’s far reaching both in its worldwide scope and for the individual. An article in the Public Library of Science Medicine journal calls untreated pain a global health problem.

“Untreated pain has a profound impact on quality of life and can have physical, psychological, social, and economic consequences,” the article says. “Inappropriately managed acute pain can result in immunological and neural changes, which can progress to chronic pain if untreated.”

In other words, don’t spend a lot of time in the hazards; get back on the fairway where you can make your best shot.

All Work and No Play Through

It’s obvious that when you choose binge-watching instead of completing that project for your boss that there will be repercussions. But what about the opposite problem, when you’ve set a precedent for senior executives that you can be counted on round the clock?

An article on Monster.com says that most maladies related to working too hard can be explained because of stress. The risk of injury and disease rises as employees experience longer stretches of job stress. Those health problems range from musculoskeletal and cardiovascular diseases to psychological issues. Workers who experience the most stress have nearly 50 percent higher health care costs as well.

It’s not just taking a toll on staffers, says executive coach and psychologist John Beiter, who works with senior executives in high-intensity positions. For example, he had a client whose vulnerability from a compromised immune system resulted in severe nerve damage brought on by unrelenting work stress.

We only go around once, and we’d all like some do-overs. You can make your golf score look better than it is, but not your health condition; taking a mulligan will give you a free stroke on the course, but it’s the other kind you’re trying to avoid -- and every other kind of health risk.

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