Shut out the noise of life, and take that first small step.
Dr. Josh Klapow believes that getting on the road to improved health and well-being can be that easy.
“For me, the pathway to health and well-being always runs through your actions,” said Klapow, clinical psychologist and associate professor of public health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).
“While your actions are not 100 percent responsible for your well-being, they are the only thing you can control, and they can have a giant impact on how good you feel, how healthy you are and whether you live or die.”
But people get “paralysis by analysis,” preventing them from taking action of any kind, Klapow said.
“People are constantly bombarded with tons of messages,” he said. “Everything gets jumbled up, and it all becomes noise. People get stuck and don’t know which step to take first.”
Over the next months, Klapow will host “Take Action,” a multimedia series that will provide Alabama NewsCenter readers with advice on how to work safely, and improve their health and overall well-being. The series will feature vignettes on NewsCenter focusing on topics ranging from health to safety to stress to exercise to nutrition to relationships. Although these topics seem unrelated on the surface, Klapow said in each case lives can be changed by taking one step at a time.
During each segment, Klapow will issue a call to action. He will provide three simple steps readers can take immediately that will help get them toward a change in behavior.
“On the surface, it will be like, ‘Wow, that’s common sense,’” he said. “But the idea is to give people small things they can do within 24 hours that will get them moving toward behavioral change.”
Klapow has served as a chronic conditions and behavioral science consultant for many companies and healthcare organizations, including CVS Caremark, the World Health Organization, Kaiser Permanente, United Healthcare and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
He is the author of “Living Smart: 5 Essential Skills to Change Your Health Forever.” A native of Los Angeles, Klapow was drawn to psychology while playing on the soccer, basketball and volleyball teams during high school. He began to pursue his interest in human behavior at UCLA, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in psychology in 1990.
“I have always been fascinated at how some people could stick it out and some people gave up,” said Klapow, who saw the principles of psychology in action for the first time while working with children with autism during college. “Then, during graduate school, that interest in human behavior morphed into wanting to understand why people don’t take care of themselves. There are few people in this world who want to feel bad, but there are lots of people who don’t know how to do the things they need to do to feel good. I wanted to help people learn how to make good health a habit.”
Klapow obtained his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of California, San Diego. After completing a fellowship in geropsychiatry at that university, he joined the UAB faculty in 1996.
While at UAB, Klapow’s interest in helping individuals has grown into a passion for spreading the word about good health and wellness on a large scale.
It all started for Klapow when he was on ABC 33/40 in 1997 commenting on why people fail to keep New Year’s resolutions. That launched a second career for Klapow. He realized that through the media, he could quickly reach a wider audience with his “take action” message.
Since then, Klapow has made more than 900 media appearances locally and nationally. He is co-host of “The Web” on Cumulus Radio 99.5-FM WZRR and the resident psychologist on “The Matt and Aunie Show” on Cumulus Radio 99.5-FM. He is a regular guest on the Weather Channel and Underground Weather Television, and is a contributing writer for various print and digital outlets, such as CNN.com, NBC.com, ABC.com, Forbes and Shape Magazine.
Klapow practices what he preaches. He exercises most days and has begun taking yoga.
“I’m a self-proclaimed gym rat,” Klapow said. “I love to work out. You will find me in the gym about 5 a.m. four to six days a week where I lift weights and do cardio for about an hour. It’s a great way to jumpstart my mind and jumpstart my day.”
Family is also important to Klapow, who is married and has two children: Adair, 15, and Max, 17.
To learn more about Klapow’s down-to-earth advice for a healthier lifestyle, check out the “Take Action” series, debuting this week on Alabama NewsCenter.
“What I want people to understand is that whether I am working with an individual client, working as an organizational consultant, or appearing on TV or radio, I’m very consistent about my beliefs and the science behind them,” he said. “My message is based on lots of years of thought and lots of years of helping people change. Wherever I pop up, you’re going to hear consistent Josh Klapow because that’s how I live and how I believe. My message is always focused on helping people take the right steps to living a better life.”