There’s nothing more important than our health. We know that, of course! There’s no use in money if you’re not around to enjoy it, and no amount of success can make up for a debilitating mental of physical illness. So we know that our health should be our priority. The only problem is that it doesn’t feel like a pressing one.
So we say that we’ll lose weight before beach season next year; then, when we fail, we promise to just enjoy the summer and start dieting when vacation season is over. We make doctor’s appointments but reschedule them if something “more pressing” comes up. We fail to prioritize our health.
The longer you wait, the tougher it is to get healthy
But the reality is that our health is a pressing need – now, and on every day of our lives. When we give our health low priority, we dig ourselves a hole that is tough to get out of.
We’ve all met an overweight person who says they can’t exercise because their knees are bad. Maybe we even are that person. But, while knee issues can be very real, they don’t usually arise for no reason. Our weight and our knee problems are interrelated – our knees hurt because we’re asking them to carry around all of this extra weight! If we eat better and lose weight, we’ll be able to exercise for longer, and in this manner we can build a healthy cycle and recover.
That’s not easy, though! Here’s what is a whole lot easier: not getting so heavy in the first place. So if you’re not heavy yet, exercise now. Prevent that weight gain, and you’ll always be able to exercise; put it off, and you’ll soon be complaining about your knees (or your back, or your ankles, or something else!).
On top of this, an unhealthy lifestyle can lead to other, more sudden medical problems. You don’t want to land in a hospital with a heart attack after years of bad eating, or be diagnosed with a deadly illness after years of smoking or drinking. Choose to be healthy now, and you’ll have a better shot of staying out of the hospital (which can be a costly experience as well as a stressful one).
Invest in your health every day
The best way to manage this is to think of your health needs as a very high priority – your highest, in fact. Compare them to another high priority: short-term, high-interest debt, of the sort you’d have on a credit card. Pay it down today, and you’ll be in good shape. But put it off, and it will get out of control – fast.
So what is the health equivalent of paying down your credit card debt? It comes in three parts: healthy living, routine check-ups, and proactive care.
- Healthy living. The most obvious (and arguably least fun) of these things is healthy living. You know what this means: eat better. Eat less. Exercise more. You don’t have to become an overnight expert in nutrition, but try to do the best you can! Eat more vegetables and fewer snacks. Fill your stomach with foods that have low caloric density, so you feel full without packing on the pounds. Exercise (but remember that no amount of exercise can undo the damage of a poor diet – it’s easy to out-eat any exercise plan). There are institutions that can help you on this journey: gyms, running clubs, and more.
- Routine check-ups and care. Make sure that you have a primary care doctor, and that you see him or her regularly. And consider adding other types of doctors to your routine schedule. You probably already see a dentist, but why not a psychiatrist? There are psychiatric options for you, your children, or your whole family. Other institutions offer chiropractic and physical therapy care for those of us with those bad knees (pairing this with a good diet can get us back to running or hiking like we used to).
- Proactive care. The final thing to remember is that any medical issue that comes up should be treated fast. Feeling depressed? Go to a psychologist or psychiatrist. Your back hurts? Time for the chiropractor. If your primary care physician refers you to a specialist, go as soon as you can. The reason is simple: your body is amazing, but it can’t heal everything on its own. And if it’s dealing with a big injury or illness that it can’t fix alone, that issue will get worse over time. That means more days of lost exercise, more danger to your health, and more expensive medical solutions later on. So act now! Remember: it’s like credit card debt.
If you think of your health as a daily priority, you’ll avoid larger problems with your health later on. And, in the meantime, you’ll enjoy life as it was meant to be lived: happily and healthily, with plenty of energy and a daily sense of joy.