Wise words indeed. How often do we take our health for granted? It’s usually not until we have a problem that we realise just how valuable it is.
I have a regular exercise routine, that involves a 5 km run five times per week. As I often tell people, I don’t particularly enjoy the run, but thankfully I’ve got into the habit of doing it. On every occasion, however, as I’m pounding those streets, I almost always have episodes of wishing that I was somewhere else, doing something else, anything else!
Those thoughts ended abruptly when I got injured. I had a slight Achilles strain and was unable to run properly for several months. Even though I could walk, I could tell that my body was missing the runs. I started to yearn for a run. I even had, at least one, dream about running free again. Suffice to say that when my injury was over, I appreciated the run much more than before. Even if I didn’t fully enjoy it.
It allows us to do what we want, go where we please, and have a high level of independence. It also frees us to help others. It’s much more difficult to help others if we need a lot of help ourselves.
Given what we’ve been through over the last three years, with the Covid pandemic, health has become a much more significant treasure in the eyes of many. In fact, Covid illustrated just how important it is to maintain physical health. The early reports showed that over 99% of people who tragically died from Covid, had at least one underlying disease.
These were diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, obesity, and many more. These lifestyle diseases, so-called because they occur due to our lifestyles, are some of the major causes for mortality during the pandemic. But before the pandemic, people were living reasonably comfortably even though they had these illnesses.
I like to describe the lifestyle diseases as a bear stalking us from a distance. You don’t want him there, but, as it’s far away, he’s not an imminent threat. The same thing for these diseases. We don’t want them, we would rather that they were not there. But we can live with them. We can attend the hospital appointments, we can take the medication, because these illnesses will not kill me imminently. But then along comes Covid. And that is like giving the bear such a boost that he is now on your shoulder. A deadly threat.
Covid weaponised our underlying diseases, to convert them from chronic to fatal! With all the attention given to lockdowns, masks, and vaccines, very little was focused on some of the most powerful tools to combat the prevention of such fatalities, by preventing and curing the underlying disease.
As this is my specialty – reversing and preventing disease – I realised just how important it is to invest in your health when you are free to do so, rather than trying to restore your health once it's been taken away.
The amazing thing is that many of the answers to some of the most difficult and debilitating diseases are so simple. I consider myself a pretty good doctor, but I cannot compete with the ones mentioned in this poem:
“The six best doctors anywhere,
And no one can deny it,
Are: sunshine, water, rest and air,
Exercise and diet.”
Having a healthy, colourful plant-based diet; getting out and exercising in the fresh air and sunshine daily; drinking enough water, and sleeping well, can do more for you than any doctor on the planet.
Turning these activities into habits, can change your life for good. With your health restored, the future looks brighter and more hopeful. In fact, health and hope go hand in hand.
It is absolutely true that the healthier you are, the better your outlook will be on life.
The more hopeful you will be, and the more at peace you will be. But there is something even more powerful, and more accurate. The more hopeful you are, the more at peace you become, the healthier your body will be. Health, strength, and vitality begin with our thoughts. More often, the body follows the mind, and not the other way around. "A man is not disagreeable because he is dyspeptic but is dyspeptic because he is disagreeable." (James Allen, As a man thinketh)
So, the goal is to change the way we think so that we may enjoy a peaceful, hopeful, and happy life.
In my life, knowing that there is an all-loving, all-seeing, and all-knowing God, who works out even my greatest trials for my favour, gives me a sense of peace that is more powerful than any obstacle in my life. I can wholeheartedly recommend getting to know Him.
It is my number one prescription for a peaceful, joyful, and hopeful, healthy life.
Dr. Chidi is an internationally renowned Lifestyle Doctor.