At Runners Feed headquarters, we often discuss what is the single greatest contributor to improving as a runner. Nine times of out ten we arrive at the same conclusion; being and remaining healthy. Does that simply mean the absence of stress fractures or a pulled hamstring? Certainly not. In my previous article I indicated that health is not determined by whether we have symptoms or not. I will now elaborate on what health is and how we can achieve it.
Optimum HEALTH is:
A product of LIFE:
a) It’s a part of the gift of life – you can’t just go out and “get it” and you certainly can’t “buy it”.
b) We are programmed to be healthy and will express it fully in our bodies unless there is interference. (more on interference in the section on stress)
How you are FUNCTIONING:
a) It’s having all your cells, tissues, organs and systems working 100% all the time.
b) It is a coordination / synergy of all the millions and billions of processes that occur in the brain-body connection.
SUPPORTED in our bodies with:
a) Quality Nutrition – it’s not just the foods we’re eating but what the actual nutritional content is of that food.
e.g. In 1951 a woman could get her daily Vitamin A requirement by eating 2 freshly picked peaches – today she has to eat about 53 peaches to get the same value!
b) Regular Exercise – no problem for regular runners, but as you probably know a varity of exercise / cross training and the rest / recovery period between workouts are just as important.
c) Quality Sleep – of course there are different patterns for different people but many don’t get enough deep regenerative sleep. I’m convinced that for most people the hours before midnight are important i.e. 10pm-6am is better than midnight to 8am. Also sleep on either side or your back, but not on your stomach due to stress on the spine and nerves.
d) Proper Attitude – every cell in your body knows what you are thinking and how you are feeling and its function will reflect that. E.g. watch someone’s face when they’re angry.
e) Loving Relationships – a study showed that in some European cultures that ate high fatty and high cholesterol diets, where the whole family ate together and meals were eaten more slowly (i.e. they took their time and chewed the food), these people had a much lower rate of cardiovascular disease than expected. Meals were a time for families to socialize, have conversation, laugh and even sing.
a) Most of the cells in our bodies have their own life cycle and are being replaced with new cells at the appropriate time
b) There are natural biological rhythms – some days you run and “fly”, other days your legs are like lead pipes and you don’t “fly”.
c) Harmonious disequilibrium – in our bodies; things are always changing in order to stay in flexible balance.
E.g. walk or run – you have to go out of balance and then come back into balance in order to move forward.