Monday, February 23, 2015

Be Good to Your Body!

If you are an individual who has followed my writing in this blog post for the past couple of years, you should know that my themes are usually two fold. One is a focus on health in general and the other is on head injuries or concussions more specifically.  I’m extremely fortunate that Meridian has afforded me the opportunity to have this forum to share my personal thoughts on two topics that I feel very strongly about. I received my college degree in Education and while I spent several decades after graduating from college playing or reporting on the game of football the thoughts of what I was trained in college to do are never too far away from where my passions reside.

I consider myself to be an "observer of life”! When I say that I mean that I live in the present and try to pay attention to the many situations I encounter on an hourly or daily basis. I also tend to learn from my own personal experiences especially mistakes but perhaps more importantly I try to learn from the major mistakes others have made to avoid heartache and pain. I believe this is one of those qualities I probably acquired as a professional football player studying my opponent in preparation for my next game.

I say all of this to develop a point. I travel quite a bit here and around the United States and I come in contact with many segments of the population of this country. Some might say I should "stay in my lane and mind my own business” but I have to speak on what I am observing.  While I see so many men and women heading to work each day trading the moments of their lives in exchange for the financial resources to house their families, purchase the automobiles they drive or feed and clothes their children, I also see so many people who neglect their own health and well-being by being obese and failing to exercise. I totally understand that to many the priority is sustaining a quality of life for their families. But what good comes out of us not taking care of ourselves and at some point down the road we are diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension, a heart ailment or a premature death?  Being an observer of life I’ve seen many of my friends from high school, college and from my professional football life work their tails off to only to either be diagnosed with an ailment or pass away prematurely. There has to be a "healthy balance” (work and exercise) put in place for everyone to get some kind of physical activity to combat the stress of work or burn the calories of the foods we ingest.

I feel that I can speak on this topic because I was one of those people who worked in corporate America years ago. At some point I realized that my days were filled with commuting to work, meetings, fulfilling my work obligations and coming home with little time to take care of me at the end of the day.  While my head (and the former football player in me) would tell myself to get some exercise, my body would tell me that it was tired and needed rest. There were times when my head won the battle to exercise while there were other times when my body won out and I had to get that rest. When I realized that as years went by my waistline got bigger as well as my blood pressure rose I eventually knew that I had to make some changes in my personal life to live a better quality of life incorporating wellness and exercise. Now I make some type of physical or cardio activity a priority almost everyday around my work. If it means getting up earlier in the morning, blocking out time mid-day to get an hour bike ride or take a power walk, then so be it.

Many of you know that I had a blood clot health crisis last year. It was the first time that I was under a doctor’s care for more than a week. I was on blood thinning medication for 6 months.  Again, being that “observer” one thing that I took from that experience is, it is very expenses to get sick! Hospital visits, doctor(s) consultations & diagnoses visits, testing procedures, medication, etc. It is a very expensive proposition to neglect your own health so I feel it is best to practice preventive maintenance to avoid hospital and doctor visits. The best preventive maintenance I can recommend to anyone is a term one of my college football coaches would say as we went through sprints at the conclusion of football practice. “Be good to your body!” is a term I heard countless times and became a motivational term to inspire me and my teammates as we battled through hot and very humid August days in South Carolina getting ready for the beginning of the football season. “Be good to your body” is the best message I can share and leave with you this month. If you are a high school student or athlete, do your best in the classroom and on the field of competition. If you are a man or woman supporting your family, work your tail off and provide for the needs of your loved ones. But everyday (if at all possible) find that balance of work and exercise and “Be good to your body” and your body will be good to you!

-Harry