Are you really healthy?
That was the main question posed by fitness professional Casio Jones, during a recent Community Awareness Series event, presented by Pasco-Hernando State College.
Jones is the wellness director for Florida Hospital Zephyrhills CREATION Health and Wellness Center, at 38233 Daughtery Road.
Jones held an educational and interactive discussion on March 14 at PHSC’s East campus in Dade City.
There, he spoke to a classroom filled with students, faculty and members of the community.
Upbeat and energetic, Jones offered up a “Cliff Notes” version for maintaining health, and presented several pillars for living life to its fullest.
Jones, who holds a master’s in health administration challenged the members of the audience to match their health efforts with their financial efforts.
He probed: “All that money in your bank account — how does that benefit you when you’re in a hospital bed, or just are not feeling good?”
Good or poor health, he said, all comes down to lifestyle choices.
“It’s simple. The choices that we make can affect our ability to exist with, or without, a chronic disease,” Jones explained.
The health and fitness professional cited a statistic by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), claiming 90 percent of the 10 leading causes of death are due to poor lifestyle choices.
He added his own blunt assessment: “I think that’s our biggest threat to our nation.”
Moreover, 1.4 million Americans die each year from a combination of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke, according to the CDC.
For Jones, the staggering figures strike close to his heart.
Several relatives, including his mother and brother, suffer from Type 2 diabetes.
“I refuse to have diabetes,” Jones said. “I make different choices in my life, because I know there’s a (family) flaw.”
He warned poor choices — unhealthy food and drinks, lack of exercise, smoking — can contribute to “bad consequences” over time.
“We have to have a new mindset,” Jones said, “that what I’m doing today can affect tomorrow.”
He advised the crowd to refrain from refined sugar, alcohol and processed foods.
Those products, Jones said, “destroy your body.”
“Moderation can be deceiving,” he explained. “A little bit adds up.”
Jones, too, suggested keeping meat intake under 10 percent of all food consumption, surprising many in the audience.
He said animal products, especially those high in saturated fat, should instead be substituted with plant-based foods.
“Your body needs clean, whole nutrients,” he explained. “If you don’t have the energy to exercise, it has a lot to do with how you eat. Your body needs fuel — the right fuel.”
Besides offering several dietary parameters, Jones’ presentation also centered on exercise — and ways to get more of it.
Setting achievable goals is a good way to start, he said.
His suggestions include using the stairs more often, parking far away from various shopping destinations and taking daily evening strolls with a friend.
Small changes can equal big results.
Finding an enjoyable activity or sport is yet another simple way to be more physically active, Jones said.
“Find excuses to move,” he said. “Discover something you enjoy doing.”
Jones’ talk also included the need to maintain emotional and mental well-being.
Adequate rest, getting outdoors each day and an overall optimistic attitude goes a long way toward relieving tension and stress, he said.
“Focus on the good things,” he said, “and don’t pay attention to the small, negative things.”
Since 2011, Jones was instrumental in overseeing the development of the new Florida Hospital Zephyrhills CREATION Health Wellness Center, which opened last February.
The 13,000-square-foot, 24-hour fitness facility offers various group classes, healthy living seminars and a wellness spa.
Since the grand opening more than a year ago, the facility’s membership has grown from 465 members to over 2,050 members, Jones said.
“We are enjoying the impact we are making in our community,” he said. “It’s just a safe environment for people to come and learn.”
For information, visit FHZWellness.com.
Published March 22, 2017