What Does Health Mean to You? Laying the Groundwork

This week the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge, a blog that essentially gives bloggers voluntary writing assignments, encouraged people to reflect on health and what it means to them.

Me and my Tikit

I have been thinking a lot about my health over the last year, in part because I turned 40, which really had me in a prolonged existential funk. This milestone birthday prompted me to scrutinize my physical health and well-being, and reassess how I was spending my time in order to better allocate it.

Through this process I discovered– or in some cases reaffirmed– how I want to live, and I have continued to adapt my environment so that it facilitates a lifestyle that is healthy for me.

This post focuses on laying the groundwork for the more physical aspects of health, but these bleed into other areas of wellness, too.

Loveland Pass

First, I made my bicycle my primary mode of transportation. I use it to commute to work, fetch groceries, meet up with friends, and to do most other errands.

Over time I cultivated a network of friends who encourage, support, and even accompany me in my physical pursuits. I married a person who shares my passion for being active.

My recreation almost always involves physical activity. That is one of the primary ways I relax from the day-to-day.

I go bike touring on my vacations with Felkerino and we participate in randonneuring events together. I don’t randonneur for my physical health after a point, but its mental benefits keep me coming back to it.

We have a great group of friends who accompany us on weekend whatevering rides. I even started running a little with Ultrarunnergirl.

It’s important for me to live where good food choices are available within a walkable or rideable radius. The part of town I live in now is not ideal in that regard (we have a grocery store but fresh veggies and quality protein are not its strengths), but I am a short bike ride away from stores that have tasty produce and protein options.

Velo Orange Mixte

My work environment promotes fitness. We have an on-site gym. As noted in previous posts, my office is located in a runner-friendly area.

My colleagues respect my workout habit. When people see me going to the gym, they almost always say something encouraging. This kind of workplace is new to me and I have a great appreciation for it.

Finally, I live in Washington, D.C., a place where I do not have to rely on a car to go places. It is not unusual to see others out biking or walking, living car-lite or car-free.

My ability to meet all of my daily needs via walking or by bicycle is a basic threshold for my own health, and I hope I can continue to live this way for many years.

If you read this blog I suspect you have an active lifestyle, too. So tell me, what does health mean to you and how do you weave it into your life? I’m curious…

14 thoughts on “What Does Health Mean to You? Laying the Groundwork

  1. For me, is to still feel the same way I did when I graduate from H.S. ( I am 53 now!) I love the feeling of having no limits to anything that I physically have to do. I think this also helps greatly at work especially to get those bigger projects completed. Having good health can also be infectious to family members or with co-workers. It is fun to see when others do the same, they always seems to enjoy life more. I also feel that having good health will usually allow us to make and have more friends!

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  2. from “Younger Next Year” by Crowley and Hodge:

    “…that over 50 percent of all illness and injury in the last third of your life can be eliminated by changing your lifestyle in the way we suggest. Not delayed until you’re a little older. Eliminated! Along with all the misery, expense and lost joy that goes with being seriously sick or badly hurt…”

    I plan to walk (or pedal) into my grave.

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  3. Great post and certainly worth pondering for a bit. Also, thanks for mentioning the Weekly Writing Challenge. Wasn’t aware of that.

    For me, health is a matter of finally waking up and feeling alive. I spent far too much of my life without health and fitness being a priority. Now, as I fight to obtain the level of fitness I want, I realize what i could have been doing all these years.

    I feel alive when I’m pushing myself. It has become an addiction; the more I get the more I want. It’s one of the only times that I really get that feeling. I mean, you don’t get it from sitting behind a desk for 8 hours a day, that’s for sure.

    And, who knows, maybe it’s a way of fighting against middle-age. Looking around, I’d rather be me in most situations than the sickly-looking remains of the others in my age bracket. There’s something exhilarating about riding my bike past someone sitting in their car eating a donut on the morning commute.

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    1. I also spent several years with fitness on the back burner and I’m the same way about pushing myself. It’s an excellent feeling to test the limits.

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  4. I’d love to sound high-falutin’ (a hobby of mine), but health for me is just about taking the next step towards a good thing. It’s not to be fit enough to ride the Tour de France, it’s taking the next step towards that by going on a ride. Enough ‘next steps’ and I find myself some place better, even if it’s not exactly what I was aiming for.

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    1. Yeah, it’s funny. I thought my definition of health was more extreme, but it’s not. I love doing endurance activities, but I categorize them somewhat differently than my general definition of health.

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  5. Having been blessed with extremely good health, I’ve been very physically active my entire life. Now, being in my late 60’s, I still remain as active as I can possibly be. That being said, I am concerned today more than ever about my health. I do not only want to remain physically active… but I so much wish to live until I die!!
    PS… Turned 40..?? Keep in mind this old adage. It does hold true..
    “At 40 you are at the old age of youth… At 50 you are at the youth of old age.” (Happy ‘belated’ Birthday) 🙂

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