You need to be healthy and fit to be able to practice sports, play with your kids, and be pain-free. Physical wealth or health is the glue that holds all the other types of wealth and one’s life together. Without the health and physical vitality of our bodies, we can achieve none of the other types of wealth, or at least not in a wise and long-term way.
The majority of people fail to understand that health is true wealth. They fail to invest in their bodies and minds and aren’t even aware that this is even a worthy goal in the pursuit of the good life.
Parents should be teaching the fundamentals of eating and moving in a healthy manner to their children. Unfortunately, I don’t see this happening often enough, especially on the eating side.
In your teens and twenties, you might feel invincible, and rightly so as your body is in its prime. But it won’t last, so think about how you can invest your time in long-term health.
Our bodies start losing muscle in our early forties and into old age. The only way to slow down the process is to lift weights. Start young if possible and learn the correct techniques. It sucks to get injured when you’re older, so take your time, learn how your body works and how it adapts to physical stress, and train right.
If you like sports, that’s great. But if possible don’t practice just one sport, do several complementary ones. That will help keep balance in your body and in your head. Pushing too hard at any one sport eventually leads to physical and mental breakdowns. Keep things in perspective and think long-term. You want to be able to move well in your sixties, seventies and eighties and not just in your twenties and thirties.
Middle-aged athletes – men and women – are used to facing criticism or skepticism from our sedentary peers. It’s a midlife crisis, vanity, an attempt to recapture our youth, a way of denying that we’re getting older, and the list goes on. What they fail to understand is that we don’t train to hold on to the past, but rather to live our best lives now and to prepare to lead healthy and active lives for decades to come. And research shows that the training you do in your 40s and 50s can add years to your life and life to your years.
Throughout your life, eat healthily. The Mediterranean diet works best for me. You can ignore practically all diets, including veganism, vegetarianism, and meat-only diets. A balanced mix of food is always best unless you have a specific condition that can be ameliorated using a particular diet. You can, of course, make your own decisions on the macros and protein sources, for example. Ideally, work with a nutritionist, it’s well worth the investment.
Ian Tamaris says
I don’t agree with your advice, ”You can ignore practically all diets, including veganism, vegetarianism, and meat-only diets.”
Current best-practice nutritional research in many cases recommends a plant-based diet. I don’t see eating plant-based as a ”diet”, in the narrow sense of the word, but rather as an intellectual, health and ethical lifestyle choice.
Without getting into detail, I concede that the health aspect on its own may still warrant debate. You will have heard about the ”Blue Zones” where admittedly small quantities of meat are also consumed. I’m not expert enough. However, you can’t approach this in isolation.
Climate considerations change everything. The environment just won’t sustain the level of planetary degradation caused significantly by animal husbandry. If emerging societies emulate the already rich ones, they are going to want their pound of flesh too. It’s an inefficient process and our finite natural resources won’t countenance it. The same concerns are appropriate to the overfishing of our marine environment.
I don’t personally see any scope for debate in the ethical aspects of say, factory-scale meat and chicken production or the dairy industry. Already there are alternative products which render dairy consumption unnecessary. The argument for free-range, grain-fed meat is not large-scale physically possible and to me smacks of economic elitism.
I enjoy my meat as much as the next carnivore, and I’ve forgone it very late in my life. The ethical aspects disturbed me for many decades, but climate change considerations have made it an unavoidable existential decision too.
Although I firmly believe that a traditional plant-based diet is a major component of a healthy lifestyle, I’m pleased to see that enormous strides are being made in meat cloning and other similar breakthroughs. They will hopefully be free of current additives or drugs and add some meaty spice to my mainly plant-based diet. Best of all, I won’t have to worry about ethical animal considerations or my guilt towards the future generation of children and grandchildren .
I enjoy your newsletters. By the way, I’m a South African living in Malta! But that’s another whole story.
Jean Galea says
Thanks for your comments, I appreciate you sharing your views. I’ve had a look at your training video on the web, well done for staying fit!
In the part about diets, what I meant is that the typical Mediterranean diet, which is really just a balanced way of eating, works very well, so I would stick to that. I’ve looked into several diets and have friends who have gone very deep into those rabbit holes. The only conclusion I got is that specific diets are hard to maintain but can be useful to treat certain ailments and conditions. There is also the question of allergies and intolerances where it would make a lot of sense to see what works best for one’s particular body.
I agree that we should be working to make the planet more sustainable, but me switching to say being vegetarianism will not solve that. It will just make my life very difficult and make me miserable, and won’t improve my overall health. If it works for others and they’re happy about then that’s great, but for me the Mediterranean diet is what makes me happy and keeps me healthy and fit.
Climate change is a very interesting topic that I might delve into at some point here on the blog, but my basic premise is that trying to force and shame people into changing their current practices won’t work and this technique has historically had a very low impact on improving the prospects of world climate. What we need to focus on is better planning and technologies that deliver cleaner energy and more sustainable food. I understand people are very emotional on the subject but thinking in first principles brings me to this conclusion.