Healthy Living

  • Oct 19, 2006
  • Vicky Smith
  • Career advancement


Certain aspects of life are non-negotiable.  A newborn baby requires four-hour feedings through the night.  Exam dates are fixed for students.  Understanding that teenagers will test our patience to its thinnest limit is non-negotiable for parents.


The current explosion of TV shows and newspaper articles on obesity dramatize the consequences of not adopting wellness.  A healthy lifestyle is non-negotiable if we hope to be happy.  In trying to run as fast as we can to meet all the competing demands for our time, too many of us have forgotten how to live a healthy lifestyle.


Our method of coping with life’s stresses is to over-eat, over-drink or over-medicate.  It’s not that we don’t talk about living healthily; in fact, we talk about it incessantly instead of choosing to move other muscles instead of our vocal cords.


Your current health status is influenced 16% by genetics, 10% by professional health care, 21% by your environment, and, surprisingly 53% by lifestyle choices – whether you smoke, exercise regularly, eat to maintain a healthy weight, etc.  Thus you can influence your health.


Information is readily available on the Internet to assist us in our quest for wellness.  Increasing awareness of how your body functions, recognizing signals that something might be wrong and sourcing out information on disease prevention could add active years to our lives.


Did you know that:


·            One in two Canadians will suffer from heart disease or stroke.  In a paper, called the “The Changing Face of Heart Disease and Stroke’, it stated: “Cardiovascular disease is largely preventable.  We have the scientific knowledge to create a world in which most heart disease and stoke could be eliminated.”     Unfortunately the knowledge isn’t practically applied

·            Smoking is a very difficult habit to stop but it is never too late.  Research has shown that within a year of stopping, the risk of a heart attack will decrease

·            Various studies suggest that 60 minutes of exercising focusing on building cardiovascular and muscle strength three times a week, reduces significantly the potential of heart attacks and strokes

·            Individuals who carry excessive weight, are physically inactive,  use alcohol heavily or excessively add salt are more likely to develop high blood pressure

·            Following the Canada Food Guide still  provides excellent information about maintaining a healthy diet   


It’s so easy to procrastinate and not take time to cook a meal or exercise regularly, particularly with the weather we’ve had this winter.   Positive mental attitude and discipline are important in maintaining wellness.  We’ve heard all this before. Yet why do so many of us have such a hard time putting all this into practice?


We’re too tired after a busy, stressful day. We finish our day and then hurry to another meeting or to take our children to hockey. The quickest alternative for being hungry is fast food.  When we get home we just want to relax – who wants to exercise after being so busy for 18 hours. 


What we need to do to have wellness is to STOP.  For a couple of weeks, including weekends, stop all the activity outside of work to first appreciate unbusy time.  We think the world will end if our child doesn’t going to a hockey game or ballet practice; or if we miss an evening meeting; or if we don’t socialize with anyone for 2 weekends in a row. 

Once we stop business, we have time to think about the seriousness and impact of our unhealthy lifestyle.  What’s the point of keeping up the frenzy of activities out of duty or societal expectation, if we could die of a heart attack at 40?  Too many of us know of someone who died way too young from a heart attack or cancer.


We can’t go back to the good old days when life seemed simpler but we can bring simplicity into our lives.  Our wellness is the most precious commodity we have to give to our world.  What type of person are you giving to your family or your work?  Are you always tired, frenzied, or short tempered? Do your children consistently see the best or worst of you? When was the last time you had a good laugh?


If you don’t like your answers then you have to STOP.  Allow silence and inactivity to give you the gift of reflection to change some things in your life.  There are a few lines from a poem ‘Being Fruitful’ written by Pete Hammond that I think are worth thinking about.  “I think I would rather be known as…. available rather than busy or a hard worker… content more than driven…. self-controlled rather than excited… generous rather than rich.” 


Wellness requires giving time to be available for exercise; content with a healthy diet; self-controlled to cut down smoking, drinking and using salt excessively; and generously filing our time with a healthy living.  John Bingham, a columnist said “Being inspired is fine for a week, and being motivated might work for a month or so, but to make any lifestyle change last a lifetime, you need dedication.”