I feel the weight of Atlas.
How do I start this post off. I have a feeling this is going to be a post that reads like it’s all over the place, bouncing from one thing to another. That’s alright though. I think I’ll still be able to make my points or be able to add to your health and fitness.
Recently I met with a health care professional and had a great discussion that started on one topic and ended up covering a good few. I have known this health care professional for a few years now and thought it would be good to have a discussion regarding fitness with him. I think it’s beneficial to discuss health and fitness with people in the health care profession as they are dealing with the effects of injuries, low or no level of fitness and general poor health.
Of course what happens with me happened again. It got me thinking about things. Things like fitness, health, food, and environment. So what happens? I usually end up writing a post. And here it is. This is where things start to get dicey and may end up kind of being all over the place. Try to hang in to the end if you can.
We don’t live today like we used to hundreds or thousands of years ago. There’s good and bad with this. The following points are general and by no means am I applying this to everyone, or being flippant. I am aware that unfortunately we have homelessness, people living in poverty, people who don’t have access to affordable housing, people who don’t have access to clean water. Those are really important issues but I don’t think this is the forum to go into these things any deeper.
Generally speaking we have better health care today. The average lifespan is longer. We have easy access to information. The bad is we have gone from leading an active lifestyle that was imposed on us just to survive, cars or mass transportation was not around, manufacturing and farming was not what it is today. Most of us are working in jobs where we are sitting for a good part of the day. We have become very sedentary.
Food isn’t what it used to be. I recently saw Dr. David Suzuki and his guests on his BlueDot Tour and he talked about how when he was young there wasn’t such a thing as organic food. All food was organic. When he was young he wouldn’t give it a second thought to drink directly from a stream. Today people are put into a position to choose between the healthy and the unhealthy. Water costs more than pop does. Additives such as high fructose corn syrup, sweeteners, etc. are added to foods to entice people into buying the products. We are marketed to, and lied to, to get us to buy these products. This is just wrong. No other way to put it. It shouldn’t be a financial burden to eat healthy. People should have access to clean water no matter where they are. People shouldn’t have to spend hours trying to educate themselves on what foods to avoid. Think of what kids are experiencing daily in their lives. This isn’t the way it used to be. Kids that are 10 to 15 years old have been marketed to like no other generation. They are growing up with a really distorted sense of what healthy eating is. Seriously. Studies are concluding that obesity will be or is the next epidemic.
Why is this? What are we doing differently today than our parents, or their parents? In my opinion, food is a big contributor to this as I mentioned previously. Where am I going with this? Good question, read on please.
As I mentioned food is a big, or the biggest contributor to health concerns today. What can you do? The short term answer is to educate yourself on how to eat healthy. You cannot rely on governments or business to help you out here. They are the reason why we are where we are.
Educate yourself on eating whole foods. Start making your food instead of buying it in a can or box. Read about savvy marketing tricks such as using words like lite, or low fat, or low sugar. The long term solution would be to advocate governments and business for healthier foods. One way of advocating is by making better choices when buying your food. It’s not easy and it’s not always cheaper. Do what you can. Instead of buying pasta sauce, buy the raw ingredients and make it yourself. It will be much healthier and you will have the satisfaction of making it yourself, the way you like it. We have a lot of power as consumers and I think sometimes we forget this. I’ll use the example of Meatless Monday. A non-profit initiative with the goal of reducing meat consumption by 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of the planet. Just think of the impact if everyone did this. I’ll leave that with you to think about.
A lot of my posts talk about intense exercise, getting the most out of your workout or addressing specific issues when it comes to training. I have taken some time to look back at my posts and I have concluded that for someone to read these posts that they could be very overwhelming. That is the largest challenge I run into when writing my posts. I try to walk that line of delivering the information but not make have it end up being ‘here’s another thing that I need to do and I just don’t have the time.’ It’s tough. I guess you could say that this is somewhat of a driver to writing this post, or at least the next part of the post.
It doesn’t have to be complicated and it shouldn’t be. Ultimately if it becomes complicated you probably won’t do it. The complexity can often lead to the unrealistic. I don’t want to be part of the problem, I want to be part of the solution, and that has always been my intention. What can we do then?
I think a good place to start is by looking at yourself today. We probably all know that we need physical activity and that this activity benefits us. It keeps us healthy and ultimately it should allow us to enjoy life more. It allows us to do more and feel good too when doing these things.
So where are you today? What is your goal? I think those are two great questions to ask yourself and use the answers to determine what you want to do, and what you need to do. I put the phrase ‘want to do’ first because it’s important that you find something that you will want to do. If you start an activity solely because it is good for you, but you don’t enjoy it you probably won’t last long doing it. Either you will resent it or boredom will set in. If it’s something you need to do to address health concerns or to better yourself physically than you can look at ways to incorporate those things into your life.
It can be difficult to do. I remember seeing my optometrist and he gave me exercises to do for my eyes. You are laughing, aren’t you. I found it funny too. Did I do them? No. It was just another thing that I had to think about doing and honestly it wasn’t a priority for me.
That’s probably what it comes down to. Is it a priority for you. Do you feel adding this activity into your life is important enough to forego something else? It might me. Maybe not at this time, but maybe down the road, the future.
What does tomorrow bring? No one knows, well, almost no one. If you knew that 3 months from now you will be experiencing back pain that will make it tough to sleep, stop you from enjoying your activities and basically cause you a ton of pain, would you change what you are doing today and everyday moving forward to that 3 month mark? Probably. But that’s the tough part. We don’t know. And there’s no guarantee that it would make a difference. You could still bend down to pick up that pencil and feel a sharp pain in your back. Until we are able to replace body parts with biomechatronic parts we are going to have issues with our bodies.
I think the point I’m trying to make is choose the things you want to do to be active, to feel better and to feel stronger. If you have areas you feel you need to work on then go ahead and do it. Maybe it will push that incident out to 12 months instead of 3 months, and your recovery will be quicker.
We can’t do it all. We will never have ‘perfect’ symmetrical bodies. I recently found out I have one shoulder that sits higher than the other. Am I concerned about it? Not really. I don’t feel any discomfort or pain from it. I don’t see any impact to my range of motion. I made the choice to not worry about it. We can’t do it all. We can choose what we want to do and what we can do.
I’ve said a lot here today. Things that I feel needed to be said and will be said again but in a different way. I think it’s a good message and good messages need to be heard more than the negative messages. Too many of those.
I’ll hand it over to you now. I hope I haven’t muddied the waters.
Yours in health,