Sunday, 29 April 2018

From The Heart

I have no medical qualifications. I have no diet management or exercise related qualifications.

I do have experience in heart health, managing my own health and exercise and my own diet, and it is from these perspectives I write the following paragraphs.

Today marks the start of Heart Week 2018.

I urge you to take a lead from Heart Week to asses your own health and lifestyle.

From my experience, us men are experts at kidding ourselves about our current state of health. Most of us will be a few kilograms heavier than is ideal and we will inevitably have in mind a point of time in the future when we will do something about it.

While waiting for that mythical date, we will be very capable of excusing ourselves for a lack of action by way of the pressures of work and the demands of family.

There is also the issue of our glorious sporting past. The fact we were fit, healthy and active in our 20’s holds little credence in our “over 40’s”. We hold on to the belief we can easily recapture the fitness of our youth whenever we decide too.

I have news for you, if you decide to get fit again, it won’t be easy. It will require determination, patience, commitment and discipline, and a medical check-up before you start.

My observation is the situation for Women is the same but different. Women often talk about how active they are just going about normal life and that they get enough exercise anyway. Right or wrong, (actually, it is wrong), in the vast majority of cases, women bear a greater percentage of child care, home maintenance and food preparation while also holding down paid employment. Yes, Women may be more naturally active but is it enough to maintain a healthy weight, muscle mass, bone density and flexibility? Probably not.

Irrespective of your current situation, heart week presents a line in the sand where you can make a thorough, open and honest assessment of your health and lifestyle and plan the tweaks to make it better.

It need not be radical. I know of a 50-year-old who 12 weeks ago decided she needed to lose 5 kilograms. She committed to walking 30 minutes each day and has easily shed the 5 kilograms.

Sure, she made some minor dietary adjustments too, increasing her whole fruit and vegetable intake and reducing her dairy consumption. In addition to losing the weight and feeling better, she is sleeping more soundly, has more energy, reports improved concentration and a loss of fatigue. She continues to walk daily.

In another example, a 57 year old male started swimming once a week, walking with his partner 3 or 4 times a week and doing two weights sessions at the gym each week. He reports almost identical benefits of improved sleep, more energy etc etc.

Modern medicine has contributed greatly to our increased life span. It is what we do that will determine the ability to enjoy, rather than endure our years over 60.

Implementing a simple exercise routine and making some minor dietary adjustments can significantly and easily improve every aspect of your life now, and in to the future.

It matters little if you are 35 or 75 years old, it is never to early, or too late to start.

And what is my basis for saying this?

11 years ago I was 20 kilograms heavier than now and about to undergo quadruple bypass surgery.

Attention to diet and exercise has seen all my quantifiable numbers improve in each of the last 11 years except for one, and interestingly, that was in 2016 and 5 months after running my first marathon in New York.

It is not necessary to be as obsessive about diet as I am. It is not necessary to do the level of exercise I do.

Then again, I am fitter and healthier in my 60th year than I was in my 35th, and that not only feels great each and every day, it is also something everyone and anyone can achieve and I cannot imagine anyone regretting doing so.

Happy Heart Week. Make it the week you started……….the rest of your life.

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