Travel Well: Health

I’m off to Morocco this week and I realised I was getting all my clothes and electronics packed but there was a serious ingredient missing from my list.

Good health.

Fortunately, whether it is from the grace of youth or my recent runs through the park, I find myself being in moderate physical health. Not the best, but acceptable. It gives me freedom that many people do not benefit from and I think it needs to be emphasised.

The main power behind my health is my heart. It beats around 2,838,240,000 times in an average lifetime. It weighs between 250 to 350 grams and pumps out life-giving blood at the speed of 37 centimetres a second. It is the source of my power, the delivery method of fuel to my muscles and the garbage truck for a lot of my body’s waste. Before the 1900, very few people actually died of heart disease. As the technological age took its grasp over humanity, we had to do a lot less. Less physical exertion, less training for our hearts. Without the constant challenge of exercise, the well oiled pump that is the heart begins to slow and become weaker, leading to all sorts of problems.

I’m not holding out that I take exceptional care of my heart. I can be morbidly lazy and perilously glutenous but I am aware I need to train it once in a while. I try to run during the week, I frequent the gym and have started eating more fruit. Just so that I ensure my heart keeps fuelling my muscles, feeding my brain and getting me to places that I have always dreamed of.

Each day your heart produces enough energy to drive a truck 20 miles. Make sure your heart is healthy and who knows where it could take you.

Next up on my list has to be the legs and most importantly feet. These are our wheels. Our modes of transport.

Our legs kind of take care of themselves but it is also good practice to keep them well exercised and ready to run or climb steep ascents. In fight or flight situations, legs are the key to either of the paths. But my main emphasis and thanks, needs to go to the feet. Without the pleasure of good health in the feet, a lot can go horribly wrong, awfully fast.

There are 26 bones in the human foot. That is out of 206 bones in total in a human body. It is a wonderful means of transport. It exacts poise, balance and stability. We need to take care of our feet and this includes deciding what to wear on them. A good pair of shoes can save the day, know when to wear boots and look after your nails. They make a difference when walking for long distances. Any problems you get with the feet can haunt you for days, if not weeks and so I must again be extremely thankful for the condition of my feet and their ability to again improve my freedom.

But it is not just physical health that I ensure to pack before I travel. I also like to keep my mental health in order.

In a world where for some, it is harder to quit Facebook than it is to quit smoking, we need to take a serious look at what’s going on inside of our tickers. Too many people rely on what others think, are too self conscious and selfish to really let go of the world around them and enjoy their surrounding. I have had the misfortune of travelling with such people before and I honestly do hope that they can one day learn that there is more to life in appreciation that there is in criticism. We have become a nation, a people, a species of malleable lumps of flesh. We have lost individual self identities and many people do not have the want or need to push their horizons. Self content in their own bubbles, they become hermits in their own lives and miss out on what the world has to offer.

When travelling we need to have an open mind, be ready to appreciate anything that comes our way and welcoming to the people we meet. Forget the media stereotypes of cool and the awkward un-inquisitive nature that is supported by todays role models. Speak to all, whether prince or pauper. Share your experiences. Enjoy yourself. Ensure others enjoy your company. Sharpen your wit and the command of your language as well as others. And most of all, be humble. A trait that is somewhat lost on many people but I personally hold in high regard. Lower your importance if it is above someone else’s. It is the single best way to connect with people from different backgrounds. Show a keen interest in their story and you will be surprised at the doors it can open for you.

 There are plenty more health issues you need to ensure you contend with before any during travels. I set out to document the ones which people don’t normally immediately assume are important. There is always the obvious practical health advise like take plenty of Imodium and drink bottled water, but the underlying things that allow us to travel are rarely ever stated or appreciated.

The state our body is in, defines how much we can interact with the world around us. The state our mind is in, defines how we perceive the world around us.

Ensure both are healthy and you ensure your freedom.

Live well and until next time…

-U.Mirza

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