Personal health as a concept, refers to your overall well-being both physically and mentally. It is about taking charge of your health by making a conscious decision to improve and maintain it. It not only refers to your physical state but the respective wellness of the emotional, intellectual and even spiritual aspects of your life. Sadly it is something that many of us are not very good at dealing with or choose to ignore. All too often good intentions get sidelined by the realities of life. Sadly, physical and mental issues are usually only addressed after something bad has occurred. Furthermore, much of the most basic and practical information needed to improve our personal health is drowned out by the white noise of fads, quackery and those seeking to sell you a “solution”.
In recent years I have experienced a great deal of illness through my family and have subsequently pondered upon issues that I may not have considered otherwise. As a fifty-one-year-old man I am acutely aware of where I am in terms of the human life cycle and how I am now at a point where I need to get my house in order with regard to my personal health. A problem diagnosed now is a potentially a lot easier to remedy than in a decade’s time. Simply put, I’ve seen what can happen potentially to me and have decided I want to avoid such an outcome. So I saw my GP last week and explained my concerns. Fortunately, the NHS in the UK is becoming more proactive in its healthcare, as it is often more cost effective to do so. Hence my Doctor was happy to help.
As a society we seem to suffer greatly from cognitive dissonance when it comes to our physical health. We live in an age where information about living a healthy lifestyle is readily available. Yet we wilfully choose to ignore it because snacks are tasty, exercise is dull and doing what is right often means denying ourselves, which makes us sad. So we do our own thing and suffer the consequences. And I’m just as guilty as everyone else. However, I have decided to change my lifestyle and intend to do so by sensible and practical increments. I had the sense to quit smoking in 2001 and have never gone back. I couldn’t afford to smoke nowadays. My former thirty a day habit would cost me over £3,500 a year now. The next and most obvious step for me now is to address the issues of weight and exercise.
I presently weigh 180 lbs, which according to the BMI makes we overweight. Now the BMI is a flawed measurement, however a cursory look in a mirror is sufficient verification that I’m carrying some surplus pounds. I need to shift about 6 to 12 lbs to be at a sensible weight for my height (5’ 11”) and build. To do this I’m adopting a two meal a day policy. Breakfast of either cereal, toast or eggs. And a late afternoon meal of fish and vegetables. Snacks and any additional eating outside of those two meals is prohibited. I shall also limit my alcohol consumption to just Wednesday evenings when I talk to friends on Discord. As for exercise, I mainly do this through walking and shall be actively pursuing a target of ten thousand steps a day. I do lots of chores such as shopping and household maintenance for my parents, which also counts towards periods of exercise. I shall be tracking both my weight and step count via my phone and am considering writing regularly about my progress.
I shall be seeing the Practise Nurse at my local surgery this coming week to have my heart and lung function checked. This is all part of the “NHS Health Check” which is intended to “to spot early signs of stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes or dementia”. This service is specifically aimed at those over the age of 40. I am cautiously optimistic that there won’t be any surprises in store for me. My GP took my blood pressure which was fine, along with my “sats”. However, if something is discovered it is best to grasps the nettle now. We may not get a choice in the exact time of our death, but we can certainly have a say in the manner of it. I know for some people that may sound somewhat heavy or dour, but life has taught me that we should not avoid certain subjects because they make us feel uncomfortable. Therefore I would urge everyone to reflect upon their health and if you have any concerns, go and see a medical professional about them. Avoid quackery, keep a positive attitude and don’t take the status quo for granted.