Health checkup: Getting outdoors

Danny Bernstein

Danny Bernstein, an avid hiker, hike leader and outdoor writer speaks with Xpress on the benefits of maintaining a schedule, setting goals and healthy eating that benefits the body and brain.

What are some techniques you use for maintaining your mental health? 

I look ahead, not back. I don’t look back on how I was raised or what my parents believed and did. Part of being a successful adult is getting over your childhood.

I have goals, activities and a schedule that I try to keep to. I am active in Carolina Mountain Club, which provides much of my social life and sense of purpose, as well as my need to be outdoors.

What is your favorite way to approach your own physical health? 

Exercise: I do yoga twice a week, weight work twice a week and hike twice a week.

Yes, I no longer punch a clock, but I have many writing and volunteer responsibilities. When I did have a regular 9-to-5 schedule, I only hiked once a week on the weekend; otherwise, my exercise routine was the same.

Eating: I eat well and don’t touch certain foods — no chips, no fried foods, no beer.

What is one book, podcast, documentary or article related to mental or physical health that you’d recommend, and why?

I don’t read many self-help books, but I was drawn to Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age by Sanjay Gupta. The book is about specific actions you can take to lessen your chances to get Alzheimer’s. Nothing in it is earthshaking: Eat right and exercise. But Gupta says that Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging. And genetics are just a small part of the cause. You can control the odds of getting Alzheimer’s.

Editor’s note: “Health checkup,” is part of our 2022 Wellness issues. These short Q&As feature local residents offering insights about their individual approaches to maintaining their physical and mental health. Hopefully, the wide range of perspectives provide readers with ideas and tips for their own well-being. Be on the lookout for more online and in next week’s Wellness Issue, Part 2. 


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