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October 7, 2014

Health

Play this little song while you read the below.

What is health?

Wikipedia tells us: Health is the level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living organism. In humans, it is the general condition of a person’s mind and body, usually meaning to be free from illness, injury or pain (as in “good health” or “healthy”).

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I consider myself healthy, and yet, I get niggles (injury) and experience pain (niggles) often. Yet, I haven’t been to a GP in years and I struggle less than my peer group, so am I just healthy in relation to a broken peer group?

All these things are relative, of course.

As is everything. It gets even more confusing when I know that my mental health is best when I have been outside, in the mountains, spending time with myself, pushing myself – where pain is a given and injury a possibility and where I weaken my immune system risking illness too.

It’s all balance.

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So what keeps me healthy?

Well, I don’t have the magic formula, but the following keeps me in the general path of health… (apart from a happy wife, of course)

1. Sleeping 8 hours per night. Nothing keeps me healthier – physically and mentally.

2. Eating with conscience. This doesn’t mean 100% perfection, but being aware of the quality of the food I put inside me for fuel. This extends down to what I eat during training. It extends to the coffee I drink, the wine I buy and the beer I choose. I have observed, for years, what makes me feel best and I stick to these.

3. Exercise in places that makes me happy. Sure, at times, I have to be indoors on the indoor bike, and run in places that are not necessarily beautiful. But in general, I live in a place that offers me beautiful places to run and ride, on purpose.

4. Work on things that make me happy. One of my key work tasks is to design cycling apparel, and work with people to make them look amazing while out training and racing. I also create experiences for brands. Both things make me incredibly happy. Sure, I dislike working with SARS Customs, the banks and shipping companies very much, but the majority of my work makes me extremely happy.

5. Respectful relationships. I keep a small group of friends, and a big circle of acquaintances. I spend time with the inner circle, making sure they know they are valuable to me. Because I don’t worry about them knowing I spend the time I have with them, I never feel like I owe them anything. This headspace gives me the mental health I lacked for a long time, when I always felt I wasn’t giving enough to those around me.

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These are 5 of the big things that keep me healthy. I keep a check on them often, making sure I am doing what I need to, to keep me healthy. There are many other smaller things, but these are the big ones.

Are you tracking what keeps you happy / healthy?

How do you define yourself as healthy or unhealthy – what are the markers for each?

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But most importantly, health is a choice. Health is NOW. Life is short – make no mistake. It will be over in a blink of you are not aware of these things. Life has a million shortcuts to a faster ending and the best ways to extend it are to make choices that require action to extend your short life.

In the same way, life is long and unhealthy people can suffer for decades.

These things are life-changing and I wish I could stress how important it is to me to live a healthy, long life. Sure – I could get in a car accident tomorrow that ends my life, but that is out of my hands potentially. I do what I can and then some. I love my life and I want it to last forever.

If you need some inspirational quotes to keep you motivated here, at the end of this post, surf on over to this link where you will find some great ones.

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