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Monday, July 25, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect in Health

When you learn a new skill, you know that the more you do it the better you will be at it. As children, we learned many skills and practiced quite often to make sure that we continued to get better. We may have experienced some frustration, but we didn't get discouraged to the point where we quit. If we wanted to get better, we just kept on practicing.

Now, much of this was built for us through the structure of activities we were doing. Whether it was a sport, a musical instrument or a particular subject in school, there was always another practice, lesson or class that forced us to keep working on the skill. No matter how frustrated we were, we had to get up the nerve to show up the next day to work on it again.

It's a shame we don't have teachers or coaches to keep us focused on our health. Well, we do, but the majority of people are choosing not to use us. That is not a cheap shot or a plug for myself, it just the nature of the way people look at their health. The fact of the matter is, most people don't look at health as a set of skills that can be improved with practice.

Maybe we should start looking at it like that. Maybe if we looked at health like we looked at learning to ride a bike or learning to play our favorite sport, we would understand that we got better at it the more we practiced. More importantly, we would realize that health is not only possible, but it is much easier the better we get at it.

The more you ride a bike, the less you have to think about the fundamentals. Think about the most basic skills we have and how little we actually think about them. Riding a bike is one example I like to see because I can remember the steps it took to go from a big wheel to training wheels to a mini-bike to a regular bike. It took a long time to make that progression and there were a few skinned knees and even a few tears. I remember thinking after a few falls that it may never happen. Despite this feeling of frustration and failure, I still knew that I was going to have to try again. The next day would come around and guess what: I was back out there trying to get on those two wheels.

No matter how difficult it was, I knew that I had to do it. I feel the same way about health today. No matter what obstacles stand in my way, I will do the things that lead to a healthy lifestyle. I will always exercise. I will always watch my diet and eat good food. I will never smoke and the stress that is in my life will be managed so that the whole of my routine is healthy. The only difference between now and then is that I've been doing it for so long that it comes naturally, just like riding a bike.

I don't have to spend too much time thinking about food or wondering when I'm going to exercise. I don't have to try to quit smoking or get a handle on an out of control routine that brings me down day after day. That is what many people are trying to do today. They are living unhealthy lifestyles and are trying to change that. It is not easy, but they can do it too.

If we can start looking at health as a set of skills, we can live healthy without the feeling that we can't do what we need to do in order to live healthy. It is easy for someone that is out of practice to say that it can't be done. It will be more difficult the longer it has been, but that doesn't mean that it can't be done.

Let's go back to our bike scenario. The process of learning how to ride a bike was not easy and it didn't happen overnight. And we didn't already have a skill and simply forgot it. We started from square one, not knowing how to do it at all and we figured out what we had to do. Once we figured it out, we still had to practice and practice until we were able to ride a bike. Now we can jump on a bike, no matter how long it has been, and we can ride it comfortably. We may not be as good as when we were riding a bike every day, but that is the point. The more you do something, the better you get at it and the easier it becomes. In other words, practice makes perfect.

Business Health Expert Joe Byrd uses his passion and expertise to bring business and health together. He integrates health education in lifestyle topics such as Stress Management, Weight Management, and Smoking Cessation into businesses in order to accomplish the following:

Improving Employee Health
Decreasing Health Care Spending
Increasing Your Employee Productivity
Improving Employee Satisfaction and Retention

Joe applies his craft in the business world by making health part of business strategy. As he helps companies invest in their employees, together they create healthy and successful cultures.



Twitter: @josephrbyrd


Toll Free: 866.851.7961

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