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Quality of Life May 6, 2010

Posted by The Barefoot MD in : Health , add a comment

In addition to my mortality, I’ve been thinking about the quality of my life.  I’m sure this has much to do with the information I’ve accumulated along the trail of becoming a doctor.  I’ve determined a couple of things as I’ve survived med school:

  1. I must maintain a “normal” body size throughout my life, if for no other reason, than to make it less of a difficulty for the surgeon who may need to operate on me at any point in my life.  During my surgery rotation, the only time the surgeon had a difficult time was when the patient was obese.  I made this decision while standing at the side of the operating table watching the surgeon struggle for over an hour on a part of a surgery that should have taken less than ten minutes . . . simply due to the size of the patient on the table.  Of course, maintaining a normal body size for my height has many other advantages, but this reason was poignant.
  2. I must keep my body in shape so I’m not inhibited in my movement by the side effects of decrepitude.  Our bodies function according to the “use it or lose it” principle.  Utilize what you have and enjoy it or give it away to atrophy.

I shared my first point with someone in the operating room the other day and he said, “What’s your definition of normal?”  Good question.  There is a measurement widely used to determine whether or not a body size is normal.  Body Mass Index or BME.  While this is a useful measurement for a population, much the same as certainly health policies, it doesn’t take into account individual variability.  BME can be an inaccurate measurement of body mass if the person has a large quantity of muscle.  As muscle weighs more than fat, a very muscular person would have a higher BMI than someone the same weight and a higher percentage of fat.  Here’s the calculation for BMI: Weight (kg) / (Height (m) x Height (m))

If you’d like to find out your BMI, try this link: http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/

My current BMI is 25.2 which puts me just into the overweight category.  Like I said before, you need to consider a little more about your personal body makeup before you take the category too seriously.  I know I need to lose a few pounds and get more in shape.  My plan is that this will happen as I transition into running barefoot/minimalist and continue my effort to eat the Mediterranean diet (more about this later).  Maintaining a healthy body really won’t extend your life any more than the time you put into exercising, but what you will gain from living a healthy lifestyle is an increase in the quality of your life while you are alive.

Would you rather live a long life while being limited in your physical activity due to the poor choices you made on a daily basis or would you rather be able to enjoy life to its fullest?  Simple choice . . . now go do it . . . barefoot!