I am a few days out from my fitness show on Sunday. I will give a full write up in future emails of course. I continue to get asked if these shows are healthy which is a bizarre question as they are not called health shows. They are physique shows, It is a sport, a significant number of the competitors take drugs. It is not about health. Though this conversation has lead into a few chats about how do you really chart health?
Stop Doing This …..
Most people view health along the axis of whether they are ill at time of asking or not. Therefore they always say they are healthy. This black and white evaluation and thinking is not much help because when you are ill it is a bit late. This is made worse as the vast majority of people I know or have worked with say something along the lines of “I never get ill” as a token of their health. Yet, they then go on to be ill 2-3 times over the following year but completely forget about that when next evaluating their health and return to the mantra “I never get ill”.
So what is a better method?
It is more prudent to use health markers to give you a idea of how happy your body is doing and track these over time to gauge how you are doing. The key is establishing a baseline on which to track overtime. Some traits you could use include –
Body Temperature – This represents how strong your metabolism is burning. A strong all guns blazing metabolism will have energy to restore the body as needed to maximise health. A weaker one will not be able to do this so efficiently. How you react to temperature is a good insight into metabolism. Do you often feel cold? Do you wear many layers of clothes? Do you need to have hot drinks to warm up? How does this compare to previous points of your life? You can chart your morning body temperature if want to get really in-depth on this.
Sex Drive – Another good trait to see how well the body is operating is your sex drive. While it is one of our primal instincts it is one that is quickly shut down when the health of the body is running at a lower efficiency. How often do you have sexual urges? How strong are the sexual urges? How does this compare to previous points in your life?
Energy – Your overall energy comes in different forms, the link to fitness and exercise perhaps gets a little too much attention. Energy also shows itself in how much sleep you need, how often do you snooze on the sofa and the level of get up and go within you. What are your current overall energy levels? How does this compare to previous points of your life?
Mood – How you feel is directly related to your health optimisation. Your mood and emotions are a symptom of the body as well as being a result of events in life. There is also a direct influence on physical health from emotions. In this context we are looking at overall general mood states. How often do you feel up or down? How does this compare to previous points of your life?
Mental Focus – For many people their mental focus is what goes when their health is on the decline. This may mean you are not able to focus on work for so long or with previous efficiency. It could be you make mental errors you didn’t used to do or in opposite you are really sharp and productive when things are going good health wise. What are your current levels of mental focus / productivity? How does this compare to previous points of your life?
Sub-clinical Health Traits – This refers to the whole host of possible health measures we can look at which includes the five mentioned above. Other traits for example could be dry skin, nail quality, hair strength, sneezing, itching, digestion efficiency, headaches frequency and so on. The more of these you have the more compromised the body. You may remember earlier this year I gave you a free health traits checker tool. Have you completed the Health Traits analyser form? How does this score compare to previous scores?
Weight – While weight is certainly not the be all and end all it is still a very good guide for general health. Doctors use BMI for this very reason. It is so quick to measure also that it should be used in a general health evaluation guide.
Do This Before Christmas –
With the run into the festive season if you can work out you health baselines you have set yourself up nicely for the next health drive.These traits are for self comparison and not for comparing with other people so you need to become aware of your current levels.
There is little point comparing yourself to others, you may work outside and thus be much more cold resilient than an office worker. However, you should compare how you are to what you previously were. Sex drive is similar with some people having much greater drive than others, in this comparison game you are looking at how you “normally” or “previously” were to gauge your current state of play. The same applies to the other traits, e.g. your mood is affected by current events in your life, some people suffer health traits that you may not and vice versa.
What To Do After That? –
With the base measurements in hand you would reevaluate periodically. When you are next ready to start a health plan then return to see how these things change. If your energy is low and spend most your weekends slumped on the sofa. Then put in place a plan, start exercising, change your foods and then re-evaluate in 4 weeks time to see how energy has changed. The actual changes in health will usually come from four main changes in behaviours. These are :
Eating More Good Foods – Expand your vitamin and mineral profile as well as eating with a more ideal macro ratio and you will see energy and health improve.
Stopping Bad Foods – Cut out the sources worst for your body. Usually top of this list is sensitive foods followed by more typical junk and chemical laden foods.
Starting Exercise – Through introducing a consistent exercise routine sensational changes may happen in the body. The body wants you to move every day
Sleep – The changes in your health status from sleeping more is beyond undersold, it is of course not as easy to do than everyone would like as involves going to bed earlier, switching off technology and addressing the influence of foods/drinks, e.g. alcohol/ caffeine etc.
Remember This ….
To make health improvements you may be surprised by how few changes you need to make to see an improvement. For example, going from 6.5 to 8 hours sleep a night may seem impossible but adding even an extra 30 minutes can produce profound changes.
Going from drink a glass to two of wine daily to nothing may again seem impossible but cutting 6-7 days of drinking to 203 days can have a substantial benefit.
The same applies to exercise where starting up just 1-2 weekly sessions can produce massive benefits compared to doing nothing. Too often we delay this as feel we have to be doing some hardcore 6 day a week plan. Health insurance companies know it which is why they give discounts for simply walking 7000 steps a day.
Photo – The fitness prep has meant no samba for two months but here is a picture from a workshop I went to this weekend with some famous teachers from Sao Paulo.
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