"The Greatest Wealth Is Health" - Virgil
"When Health Is Absent, Wisdom Cannot Reveal Itself, Art Cannot Manifest, Strength Cannot Fight, Wealth Becomes Useless, And Intelligence Cannot Be Applied" - Herophilus
Before we dive into this topic, I'd like to ask you a question. Please take a moment to think on it before continuing.
Has anyone ever told you how healthy you were? Or was the focus always on whether or not you were sick, and how sick you were or weren't?
I understand this concept as it refers to medicine because they are so focused on treating disease. But what if we took 200 people who are definitely not sick and put them in a room. The doctors would see each and every one of them, examine the ladies and fondle the men while they cough.... thick thumbs need not apply. And the doctors would give each of them a clean bill of health. Would you say that they are all of equal health? HELL NO! Of course not. That would be ludicrous. But since they are free from disease, that's what we do now. We know intuitively that not all 200 people are equally healthy. But what separates one person from another when it comes to health? And how do we build it?
Health is a high functioning body through daily activity that is also resistant to illness.
What the hell does that even mean?
Let's start with "high functioning body." For this we'll look at what puts most people in the nursery home, mobility - the ability to move freely and easily through space. In order to stay mobile you need good bones, some muscle, and healthy joints. And this all starts with how we treat our body, the exercise program we choose to perform, the quality of movement we perform on a regular basis, and the way we take care of our bodies through massage, stretching, and soft tissue care. To maximize our mobility we need a combination of resistance training for good bone health and muscle strength, activity of varying duration for a body that keeps going, and a good deal of "self-care" work for flexibility and joint health.
Now let's take a look at what it means to be "resistant to illness." Let's say that you are at your peak health and you catch the flu. Maybe you're also an amazing athlete in a given sport - like Josh Bridges at the CrossFit Games in 2017. He is a former Navy Seal and certified CrossFit badass, but he didn't look like he was performing to his potential. It was reported that he was sick and couldn't keep food down for 2 days prior to the Games. While his performance was not competitive with the best in the world on day 1 or even day 2, he managed to walk away with an event win on day 3. And what's crazy is that his performance on day 1 and 2 was still amazing. He hadn't been able to keep food down and the man was competing to become the "Fittest On Earth." This is what it means to be resistant. There are upwards of 500,000 deaths per year from the flu and millions are hospitalized with severe illness, but here's a man competing in his given sport at the highest level with an illness, that he overcame while competing and then actually won an event! WILD!!! And that's what resistance to illness is. A subdued experience of the illness itself and an innate ability to fight it off while remaining functional. (We'll not be talking about the man-flu when we choose to be babies about it). There are a lot of things that go into this: for instance, mental health - the ability to manage stress in a positive and productive way, social networks - the experience of love and belonging and the way those communities help to mold you, immune function - the body's ability to fight the illness directly, hormone balance - supporting good energy production and bodily function. When these all come together it creates one incredibly resilient person.
Ok.... so that's what "healthy" is..... but where do I start building it in a meaningful way?
Dial in these five things:
1. sleep sleep sleep
2. feed yourself well
3. exercise and care for your body
4. practice mental fortitude & stress management
5. be a part of communities that inspire you
If you're even the slightest bit confused about how to do these things and do them well, the easiest way is to find a coach or mentor that can guide you through the process. It's no secret that the program, community, and coaches here at Wingman are good for your health. :)