It’s somewhat humorous to me that the last post I made was about how great 2013 turned out to be. Seven days in 2014, and whoa. What a contrast.
I joked on Twitter that if I used FitBit or any similar fitness app, it would say I’ve gone 0.0 miles for 0 calories burned. I haven’t set foot in a gym in nine days. Haven’t sniffed a trail in much longer.
Extraordinary sloth? Nope, at least not by choice. Business travel? Huh-uh. Instead, I caught a nice little flu bug which in turn blessed me with a sweet sinus infection that is currently being beaten back by a combination of antibiotics and steroids. In between was a series of fevers, coughing fits, shivers and epic Kleenex sessions. It’s been lovely to be around me.
But if did get me thinking, yet again, how precious our health truly is.
I don’t get sick often, and it’s become even less of a problem as I’ve run more and spent more time outdoors. Not suffering much in the way of sickness in 2013 (I think I had one minor cold in all of 2013) had a lot to do with how much I was able to do.
Being flat on my back for a week made me realize just how much I’ve been missing out .
Many friends have been steadily ramping up their spring season training. Some have already been racing.
Others have been busy hiking trails and climbing walls. There’s some skiing going on.
And me? Trying to find enough energy to crawl out of bed and shower. It’s been that bad. I’ve tried to be pretty good about taking care of myself and eating decently — prevention goes a long way in terms of staving off illnesses. But even then, you really never appreciate how nice it is to be healthy until you’re not.
Today I read a piece about how often Americans, state-by-state, get enough aerobic and strength-training exercise. The leading states were 58-60 percent on aerobic activity and less than half of that for strength training. The figure was even smaller than that in the percentage of people who got enough of both. If the leading states were that low, just imagine how bad it is in the rest of the country.
I’ll spare you the analysis; you can read the story and look at the maps at this link. But whatever the reasons, people just don’t do the things that will promote their own health. The story made me sad, particularly as I sat there just wishing I could go outside at that moment and pound out six miles or go through a good hour-long gym session.
Some people don’t exercise because they can’t. Most people don’t exercise because they choose not to. Everyone is busy, but life is full of choices and priorities. You can let your life dictate your schedule, or you can gain control. You can do the things that will make you less susceptible to health problems or roll the dice. There’s no guarantee that the workout warrior will live longer than the couch potato, but plenty of evidence exists that a good diet and plenty of exercise prolongs life and lessens the likelihood of heart disease, cancer, a variety of degenerative diseases, stroke and diabetes.
I spent a week stewing in my own sickness and wishing I could be outside doing something fun. I cannot imagine would it would be like to have no prospect of recovery, just wondering what it would be like to go backpacking for a week or joining a pack of several thousand runners in a race.
So far, my 2014 had not been ideal. I’m way behind on my spring training goals. But I’m reminded how blessed I am to have the health to do all the things I did in 2013, and to do so while holding down a full-time job (another thing I’m grateful for).
Never take your health for granted. Do the things you need to do to keep your body, that wonderful machine, in top shape. Here’s to a great 2014.