Bridge to Health Blog
Bridge to Health Blog

Building the foundations for good long-term health

Written by Mathieu Rossano   Posted in:Osteopathy   March 22, 2019

Building the foundations for good long-term health

There is a damaging tendency in today’s media to portray good health as an absolute of peak vitality, fitness and achievement. For a variety of reasons, this can be very off-putting to many people.

The naked truth is that we should really strive for “optimal health”.  This is a notion anchored in each of our personal circumstances and is far more achievable. For an 18 year-old student and athlete, a 35 year-old female solicitor recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis; or a 55 year-old male osteopath, practice principal and father of four, optimal health clearly means three very different things!

Under such varied circumstances, a definition of optimal health might be: “the best form of mental and physical stamina and resilience I can aspire to, given my personal history and circumstances”.

So how can one plan to achieve this degree of optimal health? 

Plan a realistic time-line. Meaningful, sustainable health improvements are not achieved overnight. You will need time to experiment, to establish a new routine, monitor, recalibrate and rationalise any changes you make. A 1 to 2-year timeline to map and implement your health makeover is reasonable.

Implement a health dashboard. Optimal health is not going to be achieved by a crash diet or frenzied circuit training. The considered combination of a number of “health dials” can make a difference however.  Healthy eating, hydration, rest and recovery, stress management at work, cardio-vascular work-outs, body balance, mind balance, good relationships, social equity (“what I put back in”) all count. Reflect on what objectives each of your dials should contain – if you require help with a given dial, seek input from an expert (see below).

Be realistic about your constraints and existing commitments.  Remember your health plan is unique because it is tailored to fit your personal circumstances, not that of an ideal person!  You can’t ignore the day job or the (four) children, and it won’t sit well not to honour commitments. However, what could be justifiably “sacrificed” or deferred?  As a result, what time is left, what logistics and actions can be made available for your health plan?

Set objectives phased over time, with regular progress reviews.  Don’t kid yourself.  You may have a beautiful health dashboard organised, but you’re unlikely to be able to get going on every dial simultaneously. More likely, it may be a case of crawl, walk, run where you select three initial sets of objectives that fit together coherently – e.g. upgrade nutritional habits, manage stress at work more effectively and initiate Pilates instruction once a week. Then, earmark two or three other areas to address in three months’ time.

Plan for affirmation and support along the way. Morale and self-belief are going to play a big role on your journey of health improvement.  Give some thought to who might provide input and support. It might be your spouse, your children, a work colleague, running club team-mates, your osteopath – anyone who knows you well enough and is willing to share in your vision of health improvement and provide informed advice - and sees you at regular intervals to witness improvements, affirm and congratulate you (or gently chide if things are going “pear-shaped”)!  Do not forget that your principal cheerleader is… you!  So, talk yourself up, not down.

Seek expert input where required. You are unlikely to be a health expert in every field – I wish I was, but Bridge to Health’s team approach is testimony to the fact that I’m not.  As an example, we all fancy ourselves to be nutritional experts thanks to our mothers and now Google, but if you aspire to a sensible dietary approach that will help you shed weight, address that eczema break-out and ramp up physical and mental resilience, you might really value a nutritional consultation with our colleague Emily!
Read on and enjoy my colleagues’ articles outlining how to chart long-term progress in the diverse areas of your health strategy.  We are here to support and cheer you on - and wish you every success and satisfaction along the way.

Tags: Osteopathy,

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