Don’t Fall Over the Waterfall
This inaugural blog post on David Drinks Fitness contains some of my thoughts on why I love being in the health and fitness field. Many of these thoughts were formed during the summer of 2014 as I was in the process of becoming a Certified Wellness and Health Coach. Enjoy!
The story has been told of a civilization that lived by a lovely river at the base of a huge waterfall. Life was good until one day a stranger plummeted over the edge of the waterfall into the foaming water beneath. The people were alarmed and sent their two best swimmers out to rescue the person. Although they succeeded in rescuing him, it was not long before another person washed over the falls, and as the people staged another daring rescue, they decided to station a rescue boat at the base of the waterfall.
As time passed, strangers continued to wash over the falls and rescue efforts increased. Soon, a small building was erected which contained emergency supplies, and designated people were constantly on call for more rescues.
Despite their efforts, the number of strangers being washed over the falls continued to rise. A hospital was eventually built and rescue efforts became more and more sophisticated.
The people were perplexed, but continued to respond to the demands of the victims of the waterfall. An even larger hospital was set up, along with a full fleet of rescue boats and trained rescuers. At long last someone asked, “Why don’t we go upstream and see why these people are falling in?”
Now, this illustration may seem rather silly to most people, but a very similar problem has occurred in our modern world. While there is wisdom in going upstream to resolve the source of a problem, our healthcare system remains largely focused on reactive and remedial care. In fact, the U.S. Federal Healthcare dollar spends ninety-five cents to remediate problems and only five cents to prevent them from occurring. The largest problem being faced now is that the current system is being overwhelmed.
There is great value to many of the modern healthcare advances that we have in place, no question. However, the problem we face is one of proportion. Many choose to completely disregard their own health and wellbeing only to rely on medical professionals to “fix” them when something goes wrong. This approach may seem convenient in this fast paced world, where career and everyday life pursuits take front seat over health and wellbeing, but it is not a sustainable approach.
Now, more than ever, a mindset shift is needed. Our society must shift from the idea that personal health and fitness can wait until later, while we pursue everything else in life. Instead, a life that is well balanced should be the focus, where no part is shoved out of the way and left on the side of the road. Career is important, but so are health, family, friends, fun and recreation.
There has been much growth in the field of wellness over the past several decades, to the point where it is now on the verge of becoming a major part of modern healthcare. The widespread benefits of healthy lifestyle choices and living a life that is truly “well” has become the focus of this field. While the healthcare field up to this point has focused the majority of its time on simply returning an individual to a neutral state in which they no longer have signs of illness, the focus of wellness goes far beyond this neutral point. After all, shouldn’t a person’s life be about more than just avoiding or recovering from illness? The idea of wellness is to help guide individuals further into a state of awareness, education, growth, and ultimately high level wellness.
It is refreshing to view things like exercise and nutrition as important for not only avoiding illness, but as key pieces of a bigger well life vision. The importance of exercise and nutrition for avoiding chronic diseases has been proven beyond any shadow of a doubt. But exercise and nutrition are not just about preventing disease, they are essential parts of a well life that fosters growth and all around wellness. Not only will they help you avoid falling over the waterfall, but they can help you thrive at the top of the cliff.
Keep your eyes open for the influence of wellness and preventative care on the healthcare field over the next several years. We are already beginning to see its effects rising to the surface, and this trend is bound to continue. However, each individual must choose to shift their own mindset towards a well life. As we continue this trend of wellness education, think about what you can do to not just stay on top, but thrive on top of the waterfall. That means you are not just foregoing injury and illness, you are growing in wellness. As we make this mindset shift, who knows, maybe we can even move upstream a little further?