Every day of your life you make choices, some are easy…some are hard. Some choices take a great deal of thought and others that can be made in the spur of the moment. No matter what they are or how hard they are to make, they all have one thing in common. You have to live with them. Some choices will have an accumulative effect on your life. A major purchase may affect months and even years of your life. Health style decisions can affect your entire life. If you decide to take up drugs or to smoke or to start drinking alcohol, the damage you do to your body may be permanent. Remember you only get one body, while it is true people get organ transplants, they are not that easy to live with. Many organ transplants fail with time.
Another decision is whether you are going to live a healthy life which means eating healthy food and exercising regularly. There are other components in living a healthy life as well. I will discuss them shortly. I have always tried to eat healthy and exercise on a regular basis but sometimes life just did not cooperate. I am currently paying the price for my folly. You may recall my discussing the years I spent running and participating in triathlons. The problem is that exercise is only good if you keep it up. There is a phrase that is relevant to this discussion; “That was then what about now?” Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is for the long haul, otherwise it serves little purpose. It is like taking care of your car, you have to maintain it for the whole time you use it.
Nobody says that living healthy is easy, it is not. Junk and fast food while expensive is easy to come by. It can be tasty and it does provide energy. However, the calories are mostly empty and they provide little health benefit. Eating a balanced diet is the only way to go if you want to maintain a healthy body. Not everybody can eat enough fruits and vegetables and so on. Thankfully, there are dietary supplements and vitamins that you can take to help out.
Like I mentioned earlier, many of the larger gyms cater to the active lifestyle and are open 24 hours a day. You just need to have the motivation to do it. Once it becomes a part of your life, it will be easier to do. Your body will actually start craving it. You will begin to enjoy the feeling of being healthy. You will have more energy and you will also be mentally sharper because you are taking care of yourself better. Everyone knows that if you take care of a machine it will work better and last longer. Your body is just an organic machine. If you keep this in mind, it will be easier for you to make the right decisions about your health.
Your body, with some limitations is remarkably resilient and forgiving. If you gain weight, you can lose it and pretty much all is forgiven. That is provided you haven’t done irreparable damage in the interim. Nutrition is a good example. I want to do a little time traveling to bring this point home. Many of you may have heard of Scurvy, if not, it is a dietary deficiency caused by a lack of vitamin C. The effects can be quite gruesome.
In his 1820 textbook on nautical medicineSailor’s physician, exhibiting the symptoms, causes and treatment of diseases incident to seamen and passengers in merchant vessels book page on the US National Library of Medicine website, Navy surgeon Usher Parsons unflinchingly described the signs:
- “The gums become soft, livid and swollen, are apt to bleed from the slightest cause, and separate from the teeth, leaving them loose.
- About the same time the legs swell, are glossy, and soon exhibit foul ulcers.
- The same appearances follow, on other depending parts of the body.
- At first the ulcers resemble black blisters which spread and discharge a dark colored matter. These ulcers increase.
- Emaciation ensues.
- Bleeding occurs at the nose and mouth.
- All the evacuations from the body become intolerably fetid.
- Death closes the scene.”
However, if you catch it early enough, the effects can be reversed, all you have to do is get vitamin C. Easier said than done for sailors in the 16th through the 18th centuries. Especially when they did not know what caused it. Luckily for us we do, and unless you find yourself on a deserted island, it presents little problem for us today.
I brought this subject up for a couple of reasons, one is to drive home the point that proper nutrition is quite important. Don’t forget this is just one nutritional deficit, there are many others as well. Junk food is lacking in a lot of the nutrients that you need. Secondly, I wanted to let you know that your body can recover from some of the bad things you do to it. I am not telling this to you so you can intentionally abuse your body, I am telling you this so that you won’t beat yourself up needlessly if you slip up a little from time to time. Just don’t make it a habit.