So I recently broke my left ankle riding a Segway too aggressively. Before I get to the meat of the matter, I’d like to say I found it funny how many people reacted to my explanation of the injury with “But I thought Segways were so safe!” How is standing on a little platform on 2 giant wheels, and leaning your body around to make it move, safe? The whole experience becomes even less safe at 1 A.M. on a Friday, but I’d still be weary during normal business hours. Let me go ahead and explain what being bedridden with a bunk ankle has taught me:
My body is not immune to the perils of life. Previously, I thought it was. Having never broken anything, and being a yoga practitioner, I thought my bones and ligaments were super strong, my immune system top notch, my metabolism full speed, my lungs made of iron, and my mind able to guide me through life unscathed.
Apparently that’s not the case. I was riding a Segway in an irresponsible fashion, and I woke up with a broken ankle. Having for the first time been physically incapacitated because of my shenanigans, I realized how precious my health and wholeness really is. I also realized how much abuse I regularly subject my body to, in much more subtle ways than the Segway incident.
Although I may feel young and sprite, and be fortunate enough to have a record of good health and few to no medical issues, I think I’m still operating below my potential because I’ve been making decisions without my overall health in mind. I have been familiar with alcohol since the age of 16, and have had a 5 year love affair with cigarettes that’s only recently been filed for divorce. I only recently started taking my diet seriously, not in a caloric sense, but a nutritional sense, but I regularly indulge in a big greasy meal with a tall glass of Diet Coke. I love sugar and Dairy Queen. I forgive myself for everything, but I wonder how long I will keep up what more and more seems to be an immature and irresponsible lifestyle. Not irresponsible in the sense that my mom told me it was bad, but irresponsible towards my body and mind and potential to be a powerful force in the world.
Luckily the body is amazingly resilient and it lets us get away with a lot. But my broken ankle has been a personal wake up call to take better care of myself, because we never expect bad shit to happen- but we can make choices every day that put us in harms way less often. I’m not so much a person that always makes decisions with a consideration for their long term consequences, but when I picture myself many years from now, I expect to have a sturdy, healthy body capable of everything I do today, if not more. I think the foundations for that healthy future body are built today. The sooner I part with destructive habits, the less they’ll be an issue in the future. The sooner I build healthy habits, the more well rooted and easy to maintain they become.
I would like to see all people of my generation live life to the fullest, and not fall victim to the dis-ease that seems to be growing all around us: cancer, diabetes, accidents, etc. There are already so many risks being created out there by things like genetically modified organisms, runoff into waterways, and polluted air in our cities, it seems unnecessary to add to the bombardment our bodies deal with every day. I vow to myself, in gratitude for being blessed with a healthy vehicle to traverse this life with, that I will make healthier choices. And I wish that at the very least, we’d all inform ourselves of the effects our choices do, or may, have on our well being.
And I’d like to apologize to my ankle…sorry, ankle.
In the spirit of sharing, here are some simple tips that might go further than you think:
- Drink more water. Starting the day with 3 glasses of water helps the body eliminate toxins more efficiently throughout the day.
- Cut back on white sugar. In the last 20 years, we have increased sugar consumption in the U.S. 26 pounds to 135 lbs. of sugar per person per year. This mostly refined sugar not only decays teeth, it throws off our metabolic balance and can feed cancer.
- Eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables that don’t come on a cheeseburger from the fast food lane. Fast food is arguably a worse habit than moderate drug use.
- Smoke less. It’s just better for you and you know it.
- Breath deeper, to oxygenate the blood maximally and promote detoxification.
- Stretch more, to keep your muscles limber and better able to resist shocks.
- Think positive thoughts to promote positivity in your life.
- Floss, at least once in a while.
Here’s to Good Health.