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Out of the Woods

Looking after your health is so important. Whether you are super resilient and can pretty much eat or do whatever you want or you are the most sensitive person on earth, health is still your most precious asset (whether you know or believe it!) We at Health Space know and believe it and that is the reason why we do what we do. Think about it. Is there anything you can do that makes you happy if you don’t have your health? If you are one of those people who were born with health challenges or who have had a health crisis in your early years, with those challenges also comes a blessing. The blessing comes in understanding how important your health is and as you continue on your journey learning what works best for your body to improve and optimise your health.

If COVID has taught us anything, it has been how precious and important your health is. Whilst many people know and understand this, many people are not there yet. Just like you continue to water your garden to keep it green and blooming and you service your car to keep it running at its best and to prevent it breaking down, so too we need to do this for our bodies and our minds.

There are three groups of people that seem to understand preventative health care the best – athletes, people who have suffered a health crisis earlier in life and the older population (especially those who are ageing faster than their peers).

Athletes know that to prevent injury and to achieve optimal performance they need to be constantly looking after their bodies. This includes eating the right foods, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep and in particular, having body work. They know if they get injured that it will not only affect their performance but also their recovery and rehab time, so many do everything they can to prevent injury in the first place. Chiropractic, Physiotherapy and/or Osteopathy are not only used for injury management but regular appointments to keep their spines and joints aligned, muscles supple and strong and nervous system in an optimal state. Massage to release tight muscles and help with recovery time. Acupuncture to treat tight tendons, release muscle spasms, help their bodies deal with the lactic acid and assist with adrenal fatigue. Nutrition and naturopathy to ensure they are eating the right foods for their body and performance and prescribe supplements to optimise performance. Kinesiology, psychology and energy healing to fine tune physical performance, assist visualisations and promote a positive mind set. Exercise physiology to get the most out of their bodies. So many treatments can help to get the edge needed to be the best version of themselves.

Anyone who has had health challenges or been around family or friends who have often better understand the need to look after the body BEFORE it breaks down and gets sick or injured. This doesn’t just include modalities and body works as listed above but self-care such as exercise, sleep, meditation, stress management, hydration and nourishment. I am in this category of having a “mystery” illness that no one could diagnose or therefore help me in my teens. What this taught me was that it’s not necessarily about having a ‘diagnosis’ as it is looking at the body from a physical, biochemical, emotional and spiritual perspective and striving to create balance in each of these categories. Listening to symptoms and pain as messages and guides rather than trying to suppress them with medications and pain killers. When you truly listen to your body and have a team of practitioners that also understand you, then your health will improve in ways you could never have imagined possible.

As people age their bodies don’t seem to heal or recover as quickly. More preventative health care is needed to do the things they once did without blinking an eye. The more you neglect your body in your youth, the higher the chance that your body won’t work as well as it starts to age.

Longevity is one thing but enjoying longevity is even better. The more you look after your health, the better you will feel now and into the future. And does this mean you shouldn’t do anything unhealthy? Of course not. Balance is key. If you are so stressed because you have cut out treats or caffeine or your nightly wine, then the effects of stress on the body may be just as bad or even worse than just having that treat. It’s all about finding balance. I like to run by the 80/20 rule. If you look after yourself optimally 80% of the time then you can indulge 20% of the time. If you have health challenges, then during that period you want to try and look after your health as close to 100% as you can. Then as you start to feel better often you naturally start making sustainable life choices like cutting out refined sugar, hydrating your body, prioritising sleep, minimising alcohol etc.

The final step is looking after your most precious asset ALL the time, not just when you are sick or injured. I personally find getting adjusted 1-2 times a month, a massage once a month and acupuncture 1-2 times a month is optimal for me. I feel great all the time and rarely get sick, even with my history of chronic illness. For some of my clients they need much more care and for some just one treatment a month is enough. You will spend so much less time and money overall once you understand and commit to preventive care as you won’t be continually rehabbing the same injury or getting the same illness over and over again.

If there is one thing I can urge you to do, it’s make better health choices now because you CHOOSE to rather than waiting until you HAVE to. I can tell you from experience there is nothing I wouldn’t have done and no amount of money I wouldn’t have spent to get my health back when I was chronically ill. Spend some time and money now looking after your health rather than trying to get it back. Enjoy your month.

Author: Kate Wood

Kate has represented Australia as an 800m runner, winning five Australian titles and competing on the international stage. She also lectured track & field at the Australian College of Physical Education. After being forced into an early retirement due to injury, Kate turned to helping others with their health and wellness, with a special focus on families, pre-conception, pregnancy and paediatrics.

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