A few weeks ago, I was woken up by a very animated 5 year-old boy who had a very important question to ask. “Dad,” said Owen excitedly, “can we PLEASE do Boxing Day this year?” Ok, I thought to myself, this should be interesting. “Aaahhhh, yeah buddy,” I said as I tried to open my weary eyes. “Boxing Day? We’ll totally do it this year,” I followed on, hoping to go straight back to sleep. Not to be put off by my eyes closing again, Owen happily punched the air and exclaimed “Yes!” Then after a pause he asked, “So do we all just wake up and start punching each other or what?”
This got me thinking about how our perceptions influence our actions and our beliefs greatly. Owen was excited about Boxing Day when he thought he could go to town on his big sister’s head while she was still asleep. He was far less enthusiastic about it when he found out it meant a day of lazing around while Dad and Grandad watched the cricket!
It is the same way with things that are good for us. How often have we said “that drink MUST be good for me, it tasted horrible!” A lot of us seem to think that the things that help us with our health are hard work, unpleasant and impossible to find the time to fit in. Consequently, our perceptions shape our actions and often lead us to never follow through on our New Year resolutions to eat healthier and exercise more.
It is becoming more and more accepted in the medical community that exercise is the magic pill that we are all looking for. Sure, it doesn’t cure everything, or completely negate the need for medication, but health professionals with an interest in preventative medicine would much rather be prescribing exercise as a way to improve our health than a pill.
If a doctor said to you, there is a treatment that has been shown to: decrease the effects of knee arthritis by 47%; reduce progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s by 50%; decrease the progression of people at risk of diabetes by 50%; reduce the risk of hip fracture in post-menopausal women by 41%; reduce anxiety by 48%; relieve depression 30-47% of the time; lower the risk of death by 23%; and generally improve your quality of life. What would you say? Most of us would be asking to start treatment immediately. Well, the treatment is exercise. To be precise, it is walking 30 minutes a day.
What if, instead of asking how could I possibly find the time to fit 30 minutes of exercise into my daily routine, we asked a much more serious question? A question that would help us alter our perception of how hard it is to fit in some exercise? And by altering our perception, make it easier for us to do something that will actually change our lives for the better? What if, instead, we asked ourselves: “Is it possible for me to just limit my sitting, sleeping and working to 23 and ½ hours a day?”
Please check out the You Tube video titled: 23 and ½ hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health? It is fantastic.