I must admit that I have many shortcomings and a recent life altering health scare illuminated many of them. On any given day I can be found running, swinging a kettlebell, biking or rowing on the erg. My resting heart rate is often 55-60 bpm and I constantly train at 80% max of my heart rate. For 53 years I have attempted to out run the genetic disposition for hypertension. Recently it caught up to me and reminded me that I take life for granted.
With an IV in my right arm and a futuristic machine taking non-Instagram photos of my heart, I ran the numbers through my head.
On average, in a lifetime, our heart will beat 1 billion times. Each year exercising 3 to 4 times a week costs you one week of heartbeats. But, as a result, the improvements in fitness will add 13 weeks to your lifespan. If you are average, you are likely to die at the age of 65. If you prioritize a healthy lifestyle you can expect to live to be around 77 years old.
Stress is also known to detract from the quality and quantity of our lives. It was at that moment that I pivoted from the calculation of heartbeats to an inventory of all of the things that give me angst, anxiety and stress.
The list turned out to be longer than I would like to admit and more than I can to list, but here are some solutions.
The Solution: Simplify
From my martial arts training I am reminded of the importance of simplicity. Size and force do not necessarily mean power and strength. Balance is a very important aspect of being a fighter. I forgot about the stress reducing benefits of the martial arts and yoga. My new fight will find me avoiding the need for meds to control my heart. Less will become my more. We all have a pending genetic time bomb ticking and waiting for us to slip up and become unbalanced. We may not be able to control this fact, but we can control how we live at this moment. Here are the steps necessary to create life sustaining balance and maybe fight off the unenviable barrage of heart stopping genes.
Quick Steps to Simplify Your Life and Lower Your Stress:
- Simplify your diet and exercise, eat basic nutritional meals, and avoid food loaded with chemicals and preservatives. Exercise does not have to be a source of angst, buy a decent size Kettlebell (Over 10 lbs) and get after it.
- Simplify your life by getting rid of negative influences e.g. toxic friends, training partners, and family.
- Question your work ethic and time management. How much do you really need to earn. What would you do if you had more free time?
- Relearn how to tell the truth. Tell others how you feel and what you want. Simple communications allows you to be stress free.
- Occasionally get off of the grid and unplug from the background noise that make you think that you are missing something.
- Do something for your community. Sometimes when we stop being self-absorbed with our own nonsense and help others we secrete feel good hormones.
- Put on the brakes, stop making decisions, become quite, and silence your inner yakking.
- Practice Yoga, Martial Arts, T’ai chi ch’uan or Taoism.
- Get 6-8 hours of sleep by giving up or DVR-ing your 10:00PM show.
True wellness is all about finding and managing balance among nutrition, fitness, and life. How will you simplify your life to lower stress and achieve balance?