By Mandy Brown
What is good health?
People are always talking about wanting better health.
“If only I was healthier!” “I worry about my health.” “I am not as fit as I was.” “It’s my age, you have to expect this when you get older. You’re not getting any younger. “
We each have an image of what a person in optimum health looks like. We have a picture of what our own optimum health would appear, feel and be like. Do these two images match?
Imagine a healthy 20 year old. Perhaps you see them running, dancing, swinging on monkey bars, jumping. Perhaps you see them competing in some sport at the top of their game (including those super healthy and fit athletes who compete with prosthetic body part, blade, use a wheelchair or sighted guide runner.) Whatever your image of this super healthy 20 year old is, visualise them now: young, great skin, hair and nails, toned muscles, smiling, flexible, strong, clear vibrant eyes, with the perfect body weight for their height. They are full of confidence, full of life.
Now imagine your version of a healthy 40 year old. Is it the same?
How about a healthy 80 year old? Do you know any? I have seen some super fit healthy 100 year olds playing table tennis, doing yoga and dancing. I have also met some 90 year olds who, although they may from time to time use a stick or aid to get around, still consider themselves healthy. They are animated when they speak. They too have the shining glint in their eyes, have a genuine smile and they fill their days with activities and hobbies, interaction with other people and helping others around them.
Yes, we notice the difference in skin and muscles as people, even the fittest among us, age. However, one thing each healthy age group has in common is their self-confidence and self-belief, the spark of joy in their eyes and love of life.
“If you are pining for youth I think it produces a stereotypical old man because you only live in memory, you live in a place that doesn’t exist. Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.” David Bowie
So, I suggest you consider that the elusive health we strive for starts and comes from within – let’s call it inner health. Inner health being those feelings of confidence, power, joy, peace, strength, love and happiness. These emotions, energies or beliefs stream out of the confident healthy 20 year old. Nothing can defeat them – they feel invisible, that they can achieve anything to which they put their minds.
Yet many people who were really into their sports (thus considered health and fit) in their 20s and 30s, seem to fall apart over 40. I would suggest that we don’t necessarily have to keep up our sports to the same level and intensity as we did in our younger days, but the key is to look after your inner health. Your inner health should be nourished as it is that inner health that will sustain you and keep you feeling healthy up to and beyond your 90s.
It is time to reconsider your definition of good health. When you say you want to be healthier – what do you mean? Is it just your ability to participate in sports, walk, and have the energy, enthusiasm and flexibility of your youth? Or something else?
Are you healthy? If you are not doing some form of exercise, whatever your current age, then, according to the experts, you need to be doing some. If nothing else please do some daily gentle stretching exercises to remind your body of its muscles, how they are supposed to keep moving to support your frame and to help you move around. I personally have had many falls when younger (ice skating) and periodically throughout my life. As I got older these falls were attributed to arthritis, some to MS. These incidents or conditions have restricted my mobility and movement. I share this because, daily, I still do what I call my 'maintenance programme' which at times means only two minutes of stretching, but two minutes are better than none. On paper (i.e. my medical history) may indeed lead one to the interpretation that I am ‘unhealthy’, but I stress that 'my health' is within. I project an aura of health (my inner health) via my attitude to life, my positivity and my determination that life is for living and is meant to be fun! What does your projection of the state of your health say about you? How can you gain inner health and project it to the worlo be continued and concluded in part 2...................
Wishing you optimum inner health!