My friend Joe Tomarchio of Monro Inc. always says that “none of us are getting out of this world alive.” When you’re young, he says, you just want to make as much money as you can to cover your basic needs, wants and then desires. But as you become older, time becomes more important than money. And as you become even older still, health is number one, while time and money fall to second and third.
Running a tire dealership can be stressful in the best of times - and even more so as the year winds down. In this column, I’m going to depart from what I usually write about to share some health tips that will hopefully help reduce your stress level as you gear up for a busy and successful 2023. (I try to pass these along to every tire dealer I meet.)
Saunas will increase your lifespan. I’ve always loved saunas. I’ve joined gyms mostly because they had saunas and would work out for like 30 minutes and then sauna for 30 minutes. When my wife and I remodeled our house, we added a dry heat sauna in our master bathroom. A dry heat sauna is the one with stones in it. (A steam room is different.) At first, I only used our sauna on weekends to decompress, but I increased to daily use after researching the long-term benefits of this.
In research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 2,300 men in Finland between the ages of 42 and 60 were studied for their sauna use or lack of sauna use for over 20 years. The results show that people who sauna four to seven times per week - for at least 20 minutes at a time, with an average sauna temperature above 174 degrees - experience 60% fewer deaths related to Alzheimer’s, 55% fewer heart disease-related deaths and 40% fewer “all-cause mortality” deaths.
Saunas aren’t incredibly expensive, either. A kit on the SaunaFin website for a five-foot by seven-foot by seven-foot sauna room - the same size as mine - will run you $3,650. You can also join a gym that has already has a sauna.
Transcendental Meditation (TM) reduces stress. This falls under the umbrella of “don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it.” I discovered TM at the end of a stressful 2021. For the last year, I’ve meditated twice daily and I feel less stressed, less anxious and overall better for it. (Hey, if it was good enough for the Beatles, it’s good enough for me!) TM is not a religion or philosophy of any sort. It’s just a relaxation technique. For more, check out www.tm.org.
Intermittent fasting - combined with good nutrition - will help keep you at a healthy weight. I started intermittent fasting at the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show five years ago. Knowing I had lunch and dinner meetings scheduled, I skipped breakfast, grabbed a coffee and headed to the show. I did the same thing the next day. I found I could last until noon or so without eating. (My mom used to say that breakfast was the most important meal of the day and it still is for me. I just chose to ‘break my fast” at noon.)
You can do the same. Google “intermittent fasting” and you will find different plans. I do the “16:8” version and eat within an eight-hour window — usually between 11:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. I like that I now have only two potentially bad decisions about what I’m going to eat!
I also try to make better choices, like cutting out the bad carbs, avoiding processed foods, cooking from scratch and eating more fruits, vegetables and lean protein. Check out “Food Rules” by Michael Pollan for an easy read on nutrition.
Exercise will reduce your stress level and make you look and feel better. I belong to Orange Theory Fitness, which offers high-intensity interval training, done in a group or personal training setting. Every workout is designed by experts and is led by experienced coaches. You wear a heart rate monitor to track your heart rate on a screen and watch calories burn in real time.
As we age, we lose muscle mass, so we need to lift weights to counter this and make our bones stronger. So I also strength train at a gym. You can hire a personal trainer, but there are lots of personal trainers on YouTube for free. My favorite is www.athlean-x.com. Jeff Cavalier at Athlean-X. com knows a lot about nutrition and is a licensed physical therapist and trainer. He’s well-regarded by people like Sylvester Stallone and professional athletes. He’s also very funny and down-to-earth, like many tire dealers I know.
If you have questions or would like additional information, please contact Michael at [email protected].