Perhaps more than any other aspect of the Health and Integrity Pyramid, physical health is the one we know we should engage in more intentionally and don’t.
Yet creating time for physical health is a necessary component of healthy leadership development.
I’ve discovered that most people agree with this sentiment.
I’ve also discovered that once people agree with it they start to raise objections and excuses about why they don’t.
Yet we need to realize that as long as physical health remains a neglected part of our healthy leadership development we will continue to suffer from preventable diseases, limit our overall health, and put a cap on our ability to influence and impact others positively.
And much like other aspects of the Health and Integrity Pyramid we need to take a holistic approach to understanding physical health. Yes, it’s regularly engaging in activities that get your blood pumping. I’m a huge advocate for running, I’m addicted to my kettle bell, and I also regularly head to the local community center to lift weights. Yoga has also become a key piece in my health journey.
In next week’s post, I’ll share more of my own journey in these areas, and some of my favorite exercises to help you get started or progress more if you’re already exercising regularly.
But as I said earlier, health is about so much more than exercise. Like a jigsaw puzzle, we need all of the pieces to be totally healthy.
Exercise is fundamental to great health, but you won’t be able to exercise away a bad diet. In fact, an article from LiveScience says this: “87 percent of Americans don’t meet recommendations for fruit consumption, and 91 percent don’t meet recommendations for vegetable consumption.”
Changing our eating habits is another piece to the puzzle, in fact, it’s one of the necessary corner pieces that helps to frame all that we want to do.
It also seems as though our excessive habit of sitting is killing us. The popular phrase is, “Sitting is the New Smoking.” Diana Gerstacker writes, “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.”
A fourth necessary component to health is adequate sleep. Most of us don’t get enough, and it has dire consequences. One key study finds, “those who had cut their sleep from seven to five hours or fewer a night nearly doubled their risk of death.”
In the pursuit of physical health, these are the four corner pieces to the puzzle: exercise, healthy eating, getting up from our desks, and adequate sleep. From these pieces we can build the full puzzle of our health. Within this framework we can incorporate proper habits throughout the rest our lives. In holistic health, can learn to take vacations, incorporate Sabbath rest, break from our technology addictions, and take time to engage in deeper and more meaningful relationships.
We create time in our schedules for work, food, and connections with friends and families. It is also just as important to schedule intentional time engaging our minds and our bodies in these key aspects of physical health.