Much has been said and written about health, fitness and wellbeing over the last five years. There is no magic-bullet, fix-all solution. As with all programmes, the recognition of the individual that they need guidance and support in adopting new patterns and habits it crucial.
Globally, we as a species are facing a healthcare crisis with rapidly growing preventable disease associated with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. This is being exacerbated by addict-level consumption of added sugars, excessive salt and animal products. With the media looking to sell advertising space in a rapidly changing landscape - too much attention is given to the extreme ends of the spectrum. Little attention is paid to those facing the everyday struggle with diet and movement - and the challenges to assist creating a positive and permanent change in their lives.
My own personal journey back to a positive and permanent state started in Hong Kong 4 years ago. My wife and I moved there to pursue an amazing work opportunity. As an expat, I settled into the typical lifestyle all too easily. Lunch and dinner out and about, skipping breakfast, Friday afternoon drinks that ended on Sunday afternoon, lost the orthotics because I’m not training like I used to and generally living life to the fullest with little regard to my physical and mental wellbeing. I felt things would take care of themselves because, well, they always had when I was an athlete and coach.
I was comfortable for the most part - except things started to unravel in small but obvious ways. Old injuries started to flare up and hurt; knees, shins, lower back. My pants and shirts didn’t quite fit the way they should. Always feeling hot and sweaty. The jiggle walking downstairs. And then the real wake-up-slap-in-the-face came; a photo at the beach that left me wondering “where did that beer-gut come from?”
That day I took the first step - acknowledging I needed help. From then on, the goal of getting back into shape became that little bit easier. A long hard look at what I was devoting time to gave me freedom and not watch TV. Moreover, the frustration ended as well. And there is no singular element that can be called the magic bullet either. My podiatrist, family doctor, father in-law, wife, local gym, friends and a chat group of like minded people all contributed to me shedding 10kg and keeping it off. I embraced a plant based diet, have meat occasionally, take supplements, work out 4 days a week and I still manage to skate 2-3 times a week too. All as pain-free as can be.
Thanks to my podiatrist in particular - in a former life as a semi-pro freestyle skier I needed orthotics. With a new pair now, I found myself being able to run longer without pain, skate better because I can feel my arches and minimise recovery times from working out and living life in general. Like any great building - they only stand because of the many components of a solid foundation. The same is absolutely true of the human body too.