Why be healthy?

Ever been on a road trip where you drove past a great big hill and thought “I wonder what the view is like from the top of that?”

In fact, you wouldn’t actually need to be an ultra-fit endurance athlete with a resting pulse rate of 38 beats per minute to find out. If you’re generally healthy, you could park the car and hike up there yourself.

A spontaneous hill climb is one example that illustrates a situation in which being healthy would allow a person to fulfill a certain whim or desire. But there are lots of other benefits to being in at least reasonably good condition.

It’s quite an important motivating factor to know “why” you are going through any amount of effort for the sake of being healthy. “Why bother?” Is a response which I have frequently come across. Some vague reason like “weight loss” is not a sufficient incentive for most people.

In this article I am going to re-program your mind with information that will cause you to want to live healthier. Once the reasons for following an action or an idea are clear, then motivation happens almost by itself.

First let’s try to sum up why a person should always strive to maintain physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and then we can get into some specific advantages:

Whatever you want to do in life, whether that be professionally playing video games, rowing across oceans, making music or just working a job, you will get the most out of everything you do if you are in good health.

The above statement applies in most cases. There are always edge cases for every concept, but we are not interested in those here. Think about any hobby that you might have in which you would do better if your health and/or fitness were improved. Obvious ones are activities such as surfing, hiking through nature, cycling, horse riding, and even golf. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see that being fitter/healthier will increase enjoyment and abilities in those activities. Now, even less vigorous activities will benefit from improved health. If you program computers, play chess or enjoy solving complex puzzles, your mind will be sharper with a healthier system and you will even do those things better. If you play poker, having a sharper mind gives you an edge over your opponents.

Now, read through the rest of this article to really drive home why you should make healthier choices throughout your lifestyle.

SEX – more and better

One of the world’s favorite physical acts, it is surely no surprise that healthier individuals generally tend to perform better between the sheets (or wherever the performance takes place). A poor cardiovascular condition has been shown to have a link with erectile dysfunction in men. This means that those guys who are totally unfit have a greater chance to have troubles in getting it up at some point. In this case, it’s all about blood circulation. The better the blood flows around the body, the easier it will go where you need it, when you need it – if you catch my drift.

Not only that but the heart and breathing rates increase during sex and this extra strain will be easily handled by fitter individuals, leading to more staying power and possibly longer and more enjoyable sessions.

So the question on your lips might be: what health practices can I do to achieve this sex-god status? Following is a short list that are beneficial for both men and women.

  • Take regular brisk walks. Studies have shown that walking (briskly) for two miles (3.2km) per day is enough to maintain cardiovascular health that will prevent erectile dysfunction. This also has the effect of generally improving your overall fitness levels.
  • Eat foods that help to improve circulation. Garlic might have a smell but it is very effective at improving circulation partly because it contains the amino acid L-Arginine. Other foods that contain it are walnuts, cashew nuts, chickpeas, and soya beans.
  • Take time to relax and meditate. Doing this will relieve mental stress levels. As you probably know, stress can be a major inhibitor of sexual performance. Train yourself to be fully “in the moment” and you will find anxieties, fears and mental blocks will simply melt away. If you are in the process of seeking a partner, being calm and lucid will go a long way towards allowing a connection to happen with the right person.

The effect of being physically in shape can be quite dramatic for a person’s sex life. A fit and healthy body is attractive to a broad swathe of the population, so it’s no surprise that athletes and fitness enthusiasts report that they have sex more frequently than average. Whatever that may be.

Longevity

Aaah, the secret of eternal youth. Many tales and legends have been told and written about this elusive elixir. While maybe not eternal, it is certainly possible to extend one’s natural life by living a healthy lifestyle.

Simply by not smoking, you can expect to live closer to your maximum lifespan. The will to live is also quite important as age advances. Keeping your mind challenged by learning new things, mastering already known things to deeper levels, solving problems and starting new ventures are all positive towards maintaining the will to live. Having a purpose in life can be equally as important as eating healthily and avoiding toxins.

The ancient Taoists studied the science of longevity. One of their ideas was to never, or very rarely, do things to an extreme. Some, but not too much of anything. Walking, eating, sleeping, sex – all kept in moderation – was one path to immortality. There are stories of Taoist masters who lived what we would consider to be abnormally long lives. Many of the other Eastern traditions hold stories and methods of long life. There are yogi’s living today who are very old, but still quite active and healthy, due completely to the way in which they lived their lives.

We can only ever exist in the now, but there is a certain comfort in knowing that you have a good chance of living long enough to experience the things that you would like to. If you have children, there is great satisfaction in seeing them grow up and possibly see your grand children and great grand children in some cases.

The fact is choosing a healthy way of life can add significant numbers of years to your life. Of course, we can all be slammed by an extinction level event at any time, but our chances of a long life are pretty good in this day and age and there’s a lot we can do to affect that.

Being healthy allows you to live longer.

Wealth

What is the thing that almost every wealthy person says they did to get to where they are at? You got it – “hard work”. Now, to become wealthy you will also need to work “smart” as well, but it is almost certain that at some point you will be putting in some long and tough hours of work along your journey. Being healthy will allow you to do these feats of work that will build your empire that will last through generations.

To the wealthy, health is such a valuable asset that they are willing to spend literally millions to keep themselves in optimal condition to do what they need to do.

Health is literally priceless.

Can you put a monetary value on your health? You can spend a fortune and you can also do many things for free to support your health. This is one of the things we tend to take for granted. If you live every day without chronic pain, you are already wealthy. If you can walk, run, breathe freely, pick up something heavy, you are already wealthy. If you can see, hear, feel… you have abilities that are worth millions. Be grateful for those things because you might pay a huge price to get them back if they were ever lost. If you could get them back at all.

Now obviously, being healthy doesn’t mean that you will automatically come into large sums of cash, any more than having all the best gold mining equipment means that you will suddenly be drowning in piles of gold. However, the better your equipment (health), the more efficiently you can mine (work towards wealth).

Being healthy enables you to become wealthy.

Happiness

Studies show (here’s one: nih.gov) that regular exercise reduces depression, anxiety, and paranoia and so improves mental health. It’s also known that during exercise, certain endorphins are released into the bloodstream which causes feelings of light-heartedness and mild euphoria. This is partly why many fitness enthusiasts are generally cheerful and walk with a spring in their step. 

Through the action of these powerful natural endorphins, a person’s base mood level is elevated above merely neutral. After years of being emotionally and mentally stable, neural pathways form to make that state a normal part of the personality.

Being healthy makes you happy.

It’s not only exercise that can and does lift your mood. What we eat and drink also has quite a strong bearing on our state of being. Ever had too much alcohol one night and then woke up the next morning? That feeling is one that is generally best avoided.

Seeing as our moods, thoughts, and emotions are partly comprised of a collection of chemical and electrical processes in our brain, it stands to reason that the foods we eat have an effect on those processes. When the body breaks food down and uses it to function, it can only work with what you put into it. Without going into the science of “why”, here are some happiness supporting foods that you can use generously in your diet:

  • Whole grains (brown rice), legumes and beans.
  • Oily fish like salmon, mackerel and bass.
  • The above two points contain omega-3 fatty acids which are good.
  • Also nuts, oils such as olive oil, walnut oil, grape-seed oil.
  • Of course fresh green veggies.
  • Fresh fruits.
  • Granary brown bread.

Eating healthily makes you happy.

Peace of mind

What does health have to do with peace of mind? Well, if you are in a healthy condition you have so much less to worry about than if you were to have one or more health issues. For those who do have health issues, all is not lost. You can still achieve the most amazing inner peace and tranquility regardless of any ailments. It just takes a bit more concerted effort. In any case, the actions you take, whether in good health or ill are focused on either moving towards better health or maintaining good health.

There are the obvious benefits of healthiness such as not being concerned about medical bills, treatments, the condition itself, etc. That freedom from worrisome burdens puts you in prime position to achieve peace of mind for example by hiking to the top of a hill and scoping out the view.

Let’s go a bit deeper with this concept of “peace of mind”. According to Eastern mindfulness philosophies, a rested, tranquil state of mind is available at any moment. The more immersed you are in this very moment, with this action that you are doing right now, the more quiet the rest of your mind becomes.

Taking the analogy of walking up the hill to see the view, you would also be mindful of the moment when you start the climb at the bottom. Maybe you just parked your car and stepped out. You notice the sharp change in air quality. There’s a breeze. There are faint smells of vegetation. Maybe a bird calls in the distance. The sun breaks from behind a cloud and lights up the entire hillside that you are about to climb. You see your path and take a step towards it. Gravel crunches underfoot. You are aware of all these sensations and input. There are no distractions. Your mind is already rested before you even start the climb to the top.

Mindfulness is available to everyone. Whether already in good health or working towards it.

Conclusion

The question that this article has ventured to answer is “why be healthy?”. This question was intentionally broad and ambiguous to cover the multiple angles of what “being healthy” means to different people. In asking this, a person might be wondering why they should take the trouble to find and eat healthy foods, why they should bother to get out and exercise, why they should take quiet moments to themselves and practice a bit of meditation.

I have hopefully shown the tremendous benefits of doing all of the above together, in concert. That you can live a fuller life, have deeper experiences, move with grace and go further than you ever have before. I also hope to have made the point that anyone can start from any position or situation. Some things are completely out of our control such as sudden illnesses, accidents, etc. But even after any such calamitous event, one can take steps to improve their condition at any moment in time.

After reading this, I suggest that you take a deep, full breath. Notice your surroundings. Mentally acknowledge any input that you receive, then decide what you are going to do next.

Best of luck with all your endeavours.