Monthly Archives: October 2010

The Value of Sickness and Health – Exploring Two Aspects Of Being Human


Health and Wellbeing When They’re Not At Home

Imagine always being in full, blooming, radiant good health, all of the time. Never an ache or a pain, no colds, viruses, cuts, scratches, bruises or discomfort. Ever.

Finished imagining? Good, ‘cos that is the closest any of us are  gonna get to it.  The reality is that we’re all human and along with that particular condition, comes many others. No matter how fit you are, no matter how nutritious your diet or how healthy your habits – chances are every now and again, through no fault of your own, you will suffer from something. If it is still tempting to make the easy conclusion (as I myself might) that if you eat sensibly, exercise often and basically keep your bad habits to a minimum then all will be fine, then you need a reality check (note to self).

The Symptoms

So why am I having this sudden reflection? You guessed it – I’m sick. I have been all week (hence the fewer posts this week). Yes even though my old friends, Enthusiasm and Passion have still been sharing my personal space, it appears that when a couple of other dodgy characters called Headache and Nausea drop by, these old friends go a little quiet.  They went completely silent when Dizziness came in the door and have decided they are happy to lay quietly on the couch until these three new intruders decide they’re ready to leave. That time is almost here. Thankfully.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not about to manufacture my sickness into a larger than it needs to be problem. I am well aware there are multitudes of people worse off than me. Some I even wrote about recently, here.

The Silver Lining

So yes I am avoiding the pity party thing altogether. I’ll live. In fact (and I’m not sure if this fact makes me slightly pathological or not) but as the week has gone on, each day with my sickness still apparent, I have decided that I might as well try to enjoy it. As the playwright George Bernard Shaw has written, ”I enjoy convalescence. It is the part that makes the illness worth while.”

Too ill to do much (basically for fear of passing out) I have been laying on the couch and reading. And reading. And reading. And reading. I am now half way through a book that I had put aside to read ‘ when I had the time ‘. And I gotta say, I’ve enjoyed myself.

Maybe the Panadol helped somewhat, but the simple ‘time out’, with no distractions, just the simple indulgence of some reflective reading has actually been enjoyable and in many ways, productive.

Maybe this is what is meant by the Latin proverb which states ”in time of sickness, the soul collects itself anew”.

Enjoying Health All Of It

My final conclusion about all this is that perhaps we do need sickness as well as good health in our lives. If only for the reason that it makes us better understand and appreciate the importance of good health, instead of taking it for granted.

And perhaps also, so we do have some time ‘to collect ourselves anew’.

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What do you think about these two sides of the human condition – are our worthwhile days only those when health and well-being shine like beacons or do you think there is some value that we are meant to derive from experiencing suffering and sickness too? 

Perhaps you may also have a‘sick day’ story to share? Are you are the veritable bear with a sore head when you’re sick or do you not  mind a day or two out of the rat race? Love to read your comments.

I love comments. Adore them, in fact and have met some very insightful and nice people via ‘the comment box’, so please feel free to leave one. I reply to everyone.

Also, if you enjoyed this (or any other) post here, please also share it with your friends on Facebook or Twitter, so that others too can join the conversation. Thanks in advance.

 

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Incidental Exercise Habits – Simple Ways To Add More Activity To Your Day


 

 

“Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.”

 Mark Twain quote.

Good To Have You Here

Hello and thanks for dropping by. I’m glad you have, but I must tell you that your very act of sitting here and reading (along with my very act of sitting here and writing) is the subject under scrutiny today. I just wanted to warn you in advance, but stay comfortable (I am) and let’s get into it.

Sitting

Yes, we are talking about sitting: that non physical activity, similar to lying down, that involves very little muscle use or movement. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not averse to either of those positions, per se, however, until someone pointed it out to me, I never really took much notice of how much incidental sitting I actually did in a day.. 

A Modern Day Ill

‘Sititis’, as I have come to know it, could even be classified as a widespread, modern-day ill, created perhaps by the increasing use of machines (like computers!), office desks, televisions, cars and countless other ‘labour saving devices’. 

And the trouble with all this sitting (as I see it) is that it removes the natural and incidental activity enjoyed by our predecessors (and I’m only going back a couple of decades here). Remember those people who didn’t have TV remotes and who did not jump in the car for every travel event in their day? Those people whose kids walked to school, who walked to the shops, who used stairs more than elevators and well….I think you get my drift. There was far more activity in their day.

What To Do?

As I myself need to sit for extended periods to write, I decided long ago, that I needed to combat this potential decline in my own physical activity levels, by getting up from my computer and desk at least once every hour.

Sometimes I just stretch a little, take a short (or long) walk, practice some yoga moves (which is kind of the same as stretching)…as long as I  do something to break up an otherwise long stretch of physical inactivity.  And I always return to my writing, a little more refreshed.

As I began to think about this subject more, I also came up with a few other simple ways to get more movement into your day that I thought I’d share. Of course, I am not advocating that this type of activity replaces any structured or group activities you may already enjoy. No, it’s just a few extra ways to get your body moving.

The Ideas

1. Park your car a longer than normal distance away from where your work, office, school, the shopping centre or whatever your destination is and walk the remaining distance. Simple.  Easy.  No need to change your routine much for that one.

2. Take the stairs, instead of the lift or elevator, wherever and whenever you can.  This can add many steps to your day and over the next several days and weeks you will burn many more calories than you would have done otherwise.

3. Take the kids to the park.  It’s fun….walk, chase, climb, play ball with them or run after them….just be that little bit more active and have some fun too!

4. I wasn’t going to add ‘chasing Bush Turkeys out of the garden’ on the list, but I just did, as it looks as though it is something that I will be doing at regular intervals today.

I have gotten up three times as I have been writing this to ‘encourage’ my noisy (and destructive) bush visitors away from our garden. Darn things!

Anyhow, do you have any ideas for something fun and different that adds activity to your day? Do you prefer incidental type exercise or a more structured approach to activity such as classes, routines or group training?

Perhaps at some time in your life, extended sitting (at a computer or desk) has caused you to suffer a sore back, neck or shoulders? Did you find that movement or exercise helped the situation? 

 

Eating, Weight Loss, Cravings and Addictions – A Self Determined Way Out


 

The Yo Yo Lifestyle Syndrome

Do you struggle with cravings, emotional eating, or dieting ups and downs?

Many of us have or will in our lifetimes. Which is okay, ‘cos it means that we have been presented with a challenge and  (apparently) learning to overcome difficulties is what leads to positive growth in our lives. At least, that’s what I’ve heard.

And, these days, it is what I have come to believe. Some spiritual followers even ask for such challenges to be thrown their way – so that they may learn and reach a higher level of functioning and living.

Self Limits

To us mere mortals, talk like this, can sometimes sound like complete claptrap.  Airy, fairy – pie in the sky kind of stuff.

But for me, I think there is some wisdom in there. I mean, basically if we leave the spiritual aspect out of it, why wouldn’t we want to learn new skills, achieve better habits and behaviours that can transport us out of the continual cycle of overeating  and the pain and regret the follows that behaviour. Who really wants to live in self-imposed misery? Of course, the answer is none of us do.  And each of us must search for our own ‘way out’.

The BIG GOAL Effect

I know there are many ‘paths’ we can take to overcome these challenges and each can be effective and motivational in their own way. But today I just wanted to share with you the one main reason that I follow a ‘good health plan’ (for want of a better description and I’m sure there is one).

Basically (and I can’t believe that I am actually going to write this thought down, but anyway, here it is)…. I want to live forever.

Huh? Okay, so I do know that the ‘forever’ bit is probably stretching it a bit, but I figure why not go for the BIG GOAL to keep me motivated and adhering to a life of good habits.

Old Age or New Awareness

The reason I have chosen this as my BIG GOAL is that I have observed so many people in older age that seem to live unhappy and restricted lives, that I know beyond a doubt, that I don’t want that. Whilst I have the deepest compassion for these friends who do suffer frailty and disease (I worked for several years in a rehabilitation ward), I know that some (maybe more than we realise) of the fragility we  habitually associate with aging, is actually avoidable. 

The Plan

So this is what I’ve decided:

1) When I am 80 I still want to be active – maybe not in the ‘let’s go for a 5km run’ active, but who knows?

2) I also know that when I am old, I don’t want to be under constant medical supervision, because of a ‘lifestyle disease’ that was totally preventable had I taken the appropriate lifestyle interventions decades before (bear in mind, I am talking about ‘lifestyle diseases’ here, not something that is totally out of an individuals control).

3) Lastly, I also want to be intellectually stimulated and still contributing to the world in a positive and meaningful way, when I am old, rather than sentenced to an existence of ill-health and struggle.

In short, I want a full life. An abundant life. An interesting life. And I want it to go on for a very long time.

Call me crazy, but I kinda like it here on the Big Blue Ball.

Longevity and Well Being

So that in brief, is my main motivation for wanting to learn, explore, develop and live a life that is centred around healthy eating, an active lifestyle and a conscious awareness of all that I can be and do.

Some people call it ‘living out your potential’, others call it ‘discipline’, others may even call it ‘obsession’. Whatever….labes aren’t important. Loving and living life to the full is all that really matters to me.

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Do you have ONE BIG GOAL that keeps you motivated and achieving your goals? Do you think ‘a healthy lifestyle’ is all it is cracked up to be? Maybe the adage ‘we’re here for a good time, not a long time’ is more apt to the way you think and live? I would love to hear your thoughts.

You certainly don’t have to agree with my musings to share a comment or thought. We’re all different (and what a boring world it would be if we weren’t) so please feel free to share whatever thoughts you have on this topic. Love to hear them 🙂