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Local physician offers top five steps to better health in the new millennium

Feature Story with Photo

By Wayne Caparas

In a search through the short list of healthy lifestyle role models available to Lowcountry executives, one man turning up on everyone’s  “A” list is Dr. William Maguire.  An internist in private practice for 11 years, McGuire maintains affiliation with Roper Hospital and keeps his offices in the Roper Medical Office Building downtown. 

Executives indulging in extreme sports aren’t the only ones who seek out Maguire’s counsel.  Even Hollywood appreciates his skills: He is the film industry’s “go-to” man for actors filming in the Lowcountry.  (Most recently he was summoned to the set of Mel Gibson’s new film “Patriot.”)

Why do people turn to Maguire for advice concerning health issues?  Quite simply, because he is a “walk the talk” kind of guy who definitely practices what he preaches. Nearly every day Maguire can be found lifting weights, surfing, skiing, biking or running through the streets of downtown Charleston and still have time for an active social life.

Physicians are among the most overworked professionals in America, and Maguire is no exception. But his time and health management philosophy includes a tall order of common sense, a regular sampling of “the good life,” and a “just do it” mind set that would make Nike executives proud.

Common sense prescription

If Maguire were to outline five simple steps that could send you on your way to living an active life well into your 80s and 90s, would you take them to heart? What if ignoring them could ensure a recurring illness or untimely demise?

According to Maguire, a staunch practitioner of these five ethics, the advances in modern medical science and treatment are being greatly offset by the utter breakdown of old-fashioned common sense.

The top ten causes of death in the U.S. are all directly linked to poor choices in individual lifestyle practices,” says Maguire. 

Experts at the American Council on Exercise and the U.S. Surgeon General’s office agree.  “Right now we are the most unhealthy nation of all time,” says Maguire.  “There is a simple path to getting the most out of the rest of your life, and if you take the following five simple steps ‘dead’ serious, you might just live to see another century.”

1.   Practice moderation.  Avoid extremes at either end of the health spectrum. Use moderation in your exercise. Overdoing it is likely to cause more harm than good to your body. The same goes for the other end of the spectrum: enjoy a well-rounded lifestyle, but don’t go overboard.

2.  Wash your hands often.  Bet you didn’t expect this one.  But according to Maguire, most upper respiratory infections are caused by viruses spread by touch, and antibiotics are useless against them. Upper respiratory infection is one of the top two causes of workplace absenteeism. (Low back pain, most often caused by improper lifting, is the other top cause.)  So next time you move something heavy, ask for a hand (preferably a clean one).

3.  Eat a wide variety of foods and drink plenty of water.  Avoid or reduce your intake of dairy, red meat, and rich sauces or gravies.  A low cholesterol, low fat diet is still king. Skip the fads and eat more fruits and vegetables, poultry, and deep-water fish. Try to get your vitamins and minerals from natural (preferably organically produced) foods.  Whole soy foods (loaded with isoflavones and powerful phytochemicals) are best, and don’t waste your money on supplements.

4.  Maximize human contact.  “Depression is at an epidemic proportion and suicide ranks higher than homicide among the top 10 killers of Americans,” says Maguire. “Nothing substitutes for human contact where good health and longevity are concerned.” Seek group contact at every opportunity, and further develop your spiritual life for good psychological balance.

5. Get plenty of exercise (AND rest).  Okay, you probably saw this one coming.  The trick here is to find types of exercise you enjoy enough to partake 3-4 times per week.  Be sure to get enough sleep. Again, practice common sense, and approach everything with moderation.

Says Maguire, “Like a song always returning to the verse, it all comes back to common sense in lifestyle choices.”