The Greatest Wealth is Health
If you doubt the above statement take a walk into a hospital on any given day. You will have poor people and wealthy people alike all battling a variety of illnesses and diseases, along with people fighting for their lives due to accidents or violence. I am sure all of us can look back to a health scare or a specific incident, such as the flu or food poisoning, and think about how you would do just about anything if only the suffering would end.
Imagine that feeling on a daily basis for years on end. Sometimes we are too quick to judge suicide. When things are going great and we are on top of the world we can look at those who want a way out as weak willed or need of some mental help. However some people are really suffering because their health has taken such a turn for the worse. Ultimately that is what we do to the old people in this country who are hospitalized with little hope for recovery. We just up the dosage on the the morphine bit by bit till finally they slide away.
I don’t lose sleep over my health, because I know that would only be detrimental to my health. I don’t freak out about the water, but I do drink only multi stage filtered water or high quality bottled water. I don’t freak out about the air, but I do have two air filters in my small apartment. I don’t have to have everything organic, but there are many foods that I won’t eat unless they are organic, while others I don’t think are such a big deal. I don’t worry about fat and calories, and I don’t worry how much time I spend exercising each day.
The reason why I don’t worry is because I have covered all of my bases. I have spent a good deal of time learning about food, nutrition, posture, biomechanics, body systems, hormones, physical fitness, exercise, sports, and martial arts. I have invested more time than is required to receive a phd and I still keep my mind open to learning new things.
There is no way around it. If you want to be healthy and fit for as long as possible you are going to have to educate yourself. If you think your doctor, nutritionist, masseuse, and trainer have you covered, I think you are wrong. They can all help with your education but in the end your health is your responsibility.
You can have the best nutritional advice but if you sneak food off the plan in shameful binges you are not making the best use of it. Your trainer can but you through all of the best workout protocols, but if you aren’t minding your posture and movement the other 165 hours each week, there is good chance the training you do with the trainer will amount to nothing substantial.
Knowledge is not power. Intelligence is the real power, and intelligent people know that that only applied knowledge is power. So essentially taking the correct actions is the key to success in any field. Health and fitness have a lot of complexity and individuality. You can’t just fix your problems by reading a book with a sexy person on the cover and follow their script. Who knows, perhaps their problems are exactly like yours but perhaps they are totally different. You need to take time to research and learn. Then you need to be able to form your own opinions about what needs to be done.
I’m not saying you should take your health entirely into your own hands, but I think the vast majority should be taken on yourself as your own responsibility. I have a great respect for doctors, osteopaths, eastern medicine practitioners, masseuses, rolfers, chiropractors, trainers, therapists, nutritionists, and all of the other healers and health educators out there. I do think most of those people are doing their work with the intention of helping others.
Some people are multi dimensional and some are specialists. They can all have their place but we must remember that they are just people. They chose to read about how the humerus goes into the glenoid fossa while another person chose to study how the suspension of an automobile works, fractional reserve banking, or any other million things.
We live in a time of access to information about everything, but an overall ignorance of some of the most basic things. The education of your body, mind, and environment (which is crucial to health) is something we should have all received since we could speak. We shouldn’t leave our health up to others and always use the worst excuse of, “I didn’t know any better!”
We will still need doctors for emergencies and research to advance cures to disease and illnesses. However we don’t need doctors for most of the conditions that ail us these days in the developed world. The solution is found in going back to becoming human, or as I have been saying for over 20 years now, “high tech indigenous people.”
We need to find a balance of using the best of technology to alleviate us from the things we don’t want to do, while staying as close as possible to our natural way of life in regards to movement, nutrition, recovery, and managing stress. If we take care of those 4 things on a moment by moment basis most doctor’s offices and hospitals will have about 50% less patients each year.
Eventually death we come knocking on everyone’s door, but that doesn’t mean that everything needs to go downhill after 40. There are certain prevailing stereotypes on aging, and I think most people are misinformed. It is very dangerous to accept any stereotype without really considering the alternatives.
For sure somethings will decrease with age. For example if you were a sprinter in high school and college, you won’t be beating your teenage 100 meter sprint times in your 40s. That doesn’t mean you can’t still beat the pants off of most teenagers who aren’t sprinters. Assuming you never stopped staying fit.
Flip that scenario around and say you never played any sports. You made straight As and got into the best college and then got a great desk job, essentially never developing yourself in your teens and 20s. You can become the most fit and best version of yourself in your 40s and 50s.
It’s a window that opens when you begin taking care of yourself and closes when you stop. It is something that too many people are confused about because the sources of information most people seek are always talking about how Tom Brady, LeBron James, David Beckham, Gisele Bundchen, or Madonna train, eat, and live. Not that it doesn’t matter but that is so far from most people’s reality that most of what they do has little application.
Then there are those always looking for the hacks to health and fitness. Seriously just take a look at most of these hackers. If they were onto such great secrets then shouldn’t they be looking and performing amazing things. I can tell you that by adding one nutrient to my diet I increased performance by 200 percent in 4 weeks. Now I may not tell you that the test was pull ups. I could do 1 pull up 4 weeks ago and no I can do 2. I’m not lying but I’m also manipulating your desire to improve yourself.
There are no real shortcuts, but there are lots of paths that lead to nowhere of value. There is a way and it is good to find a guide, or hone your intuition and base of knowledge. Preferably both!
When I go somewhere new I like to ask the concierge for advice or directions. I like to ask friends and people I trust who have been there about their opinions and suggestions. Doesn’t mean I will use all what I am told but it is good to have options. Health and fitness should be seen the same way.
We live in the age of information. Too much information can cripple your ability to take direct action. The simplest changes can have the biggest impact on your health and fitness. I always circle back to the list below because they work for every single person I have ever had come to me for advice. Follow this list and you will begin making long lasting changes to your health.
1. Drink water more than anything else.
2. Eliminate processed food from your diet.
3. Minimize sugar and carbohydrates.
4. Maximize clean sources of proteins, fats, and fiber.
5. Sleep at least 8 hours each night (once you have done this for 3 months you can slowly adjust more or less based upon your real needs.)
6. Learn how to maintain your posture when sleeping, sitting, standing, and walking.
7. Walk at least 5 miles each day.
8. Do functional training at least 3 times per week.
9. Turn off the distractionsTV and computer and do some reading or watch documentaries.