“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” - Mahatma Gandhi
Our health is often taken for granted, especially so if we don’t suffer from any major disease. The everyday little hurts, aches, pains, the colds, minor infections, mild allergic reactions and short-lived sporting injuries are all of nuisance value and except for the tiny inconvenience they cause, they are all but forgotten when they pass and we get on with enjoying life. However, when a serious disease strikes or when there is need for medical or surgical intervention, when we feel miserable or perhaps when confronted with our own mortality, we realise (in some cases too late) the inestimable value of a clean bill of health.
Yet how many of us take care of our bodies? How many of us are actively involved in preventative health on an everyday basis? Do we look after our diet, do we exercise regularly? Do we take steps to reduce the risks of injury and disease? Do we live in a manner that contributes to our mental, physical and social well-being? Increasingly people are becoming aware that they are the keepers of their own health. The government, the media, medical practitioners and one’s family and friends can only do so much. Ultimately, one’s health depends on oneself.
When we get sick, especially if the disease is a serious one, the first question we may ask is: “Why me?” Unfortunately the answer in a great number of cases is: “Because you did not look after yourself!” This is not something new, people have been aware of this for millennia. Buddha has said: “Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.” The ancient Greeks wrote extensively on the topic and even folk knowledge has many proverbs and sayings that affirm the same.
Yet how many people regard a healthy life as a boring one where the only way to be healthy is to eat and drink what you don’t like, do what you would rather not and plan everything to reduce your risk of disease and injury. Doesn’t sound like much fun! And the younger one is the more heedless one tends to be of such practices of preventative health. Nowadays of course, there are many healthful food products that are nutritious and reduce one’s risk of serious long-term disease. Exercise programs can be fun and it is well known that regular exercise has not only beneficial effects, but is also pleasurable. One can take less risk and have fun at the same time.
However, the bottom line is that some preventative health measures are a drag… One need remember in that case, that “no pain, no gain!”