I canít believe itís August. This summer has flown by, as I knew it would. Much of it was spent at the baseball fields watching my nine-year old and his band of teammates called The Mayhem run themselves ragged in heat that would have killed anyone else. Iím not sure how they do it, as my own core body temperature rises to a point of imminent combustion from just sitting and watching. But weíve had fun as a family, and weíve made some great new friends.
This monthís issue is one of two annually that focuses on health and wellness. As a self-professed armchair naturopath (armchair being key), I have a tendency to like things of a medical nature more than some.
It all started with my penchant for anti-aging. As some of you may remember, Iíd found a book years ago called ďThe Wrinkle CureĒ that touted the powerful benefits of antioxidants and the anti-inflammatory effects of fish oil. Through my reading, I learned that health in general (not just wrinkles) could be impacted positively with the use of these super supplements, and in many cases, aging was often symptomatic of other underlying health issues, anyway. Iím pleased to report that Iíve managed to stay well through most of the past 15 or so cold and flu seasons and after all these years, Iím still a full blown supplement junkie, and Iím not ashamed to admit it.
But it was in May, at the Go Red for Women luncheon that I got a dose of reality that I wasnít quite ready for. As part of the dayís programming, they offered blood pressure monitoring and other routine health screenings of which I decided to take advantage. I sat down to have my blood pressure checked and it was high. High? No way. Normal for me is around 90 over 65 and itís been this way my whole life.
Maybe it was because I had just walked from my downtown office - in high heels, no less. I decided I would go in, have lunch, enjoy the fashion show and stop back by to have it re-checked. Surely my blood pressure would be normal in an hour.
No such luck. When I returned, it was still high - and dangerously so. I truly thank God that I attended that day.
It appears that my sedentary (cue armchair reference) lifestyle and drive-thru, value-meal lunching had finally caught up with me. Much to my dismay, it requires more than a steady diet of red wine and fish oil to maintain a healthy heart. And now that I think about it, maybe itís been a few years since my blood pressure was actually 90 over 65. I guess time has slipped away from me there, too. Sigh.
Clearly I needed a plan Ė a fitness plan. I immediately bought snappy new running shoes, and Iím now up-and-at-Ďem every morning at 5:00 a.m. for a four-mile walk. It has become such an important part of my day that I rarely even need to use my alarm clock. I feel better; I sleep better; Iím in better shape, and my blood pressure is normal. Eventually, I might even try to run a little. Right now, though, running would only result from actually being chased . . . by a bear . . . preferably downhill.
Despite letting things go the way I did, it didnít take but a second to realize that good habits are as easy to start as bad ones. I suppose at my age itís inevitable that things start to go awry, but thereís no need for me to speed the process by taking my health for granted.
Who knows? Maybe Iíll set my sights on the Mississippi Blues Marathon someday or possibly a 5k for starters. But right now itís literally just one step at a time.
Speaking of marathons, the Blues Marathon has such a fabulous story. We enjoyed learning more about it as we explored its spirited beginnings for the article inside. What started out as a clever way of showcasing the rich musical blues heritage and culture of our state has become an event with notable economic impact that has gained national attention. We think it makes the perfect centerpiece for this monthís health and wellness theme.
In the meantime, Iíll continue to pound the pavement at the crack of dawn each day, grateful for the opportunity to be doing it. Iím not where I want to be yet, but Iím a whole lot better off than where I was. My hope is that youíll find information here that interests you, too, so that we can all be well - together. Thanks for being one of our readers. Enjoy!