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The one thing I did that was a game changer for my health

motivating yourself to stay fit

Many of you clicked on the link I shared about Oura Ring in my newsletter last week. This tells me that quite a lot of my readers are interested in health.

So, in this post, I’d be sharing more about my perspective on health and fitness.

I was brought up mainly by my grandparents and grew up in an elderly estate. I spent my time around a lot of senior citizens including my own grandparents.

Over the years, this experience has shaped my view on aging.

I noticed one thing: The last decade or more of one’s life can be miserable. Many have to eat tons of medicine daily; cannot walk properly and doctors visits become very frequent.

At the same time, I also observed that there is an upward trend in increase of life expectancy.

This means that for many of us reading this newsletter, it is not unrealistic to say that we can live until 100 years old.

We cannot control how long we live. The question here is: What if our body start to fail at 60?

Imagine more than 10 years of our lives just wasting away - taking medicine daily, not being able to run and walk well. Basically, being alive but not able to enjoy all that life has to offer.

Lifespan increases over time

For several decades till now, the world’s healthcare system mostly focuses on keeping you alive.

This is called Medicine 2.0 - The doctors are basically treating symptoms and also lengthening the period of time you live with chronic disease.

The world is gradually shifting towards Medicine 3.0: The focus here is really on prevention or at least delaying onset of chronic disease significantly. 

This means improving your healthspan: A person's health span is the length of time that the person is healthy—not just alive.

Recognizing this has influenced me to really focus on improving my health span.

I have generally been health conscious but in recent years, a lot more. In the past, I mostly focused on sleeping well.

Gradually, I began to focus more on exercise

Exercise not only delays actual death but also prevents both cognitive and physical decline, better than any other intervention.

We also tend to feel better when we exercise, so it probably has some harder-to-measure effect on emotional health as well.

Peter Attia, Book Title: Outlive

This year, I increased my exercise frequency from 1-2 times to 4 times per week (excluding cycling).

I started to add strength training instead of just swimming. Learn more about the necessity of strength training here.

I also cut alcohol to only once a month and have plans to gradually decrease this even more to once a quarter and eventually quit. No amount of alcohol is safe for our health. It causes cancer and is as bad for us as smoking is.

Our parents have given us a healthy body. Let’s do our best to take care of it; keep ourselves fit and healthy and not engage in actions that could harm some of our key organs.

Watch video: Exercise has more upside than nutrition in terms of life extension and health span extension, but nutrition has more downside if you get it wrong.

What is one thing that helped me the most?

To me, one of the biggest game changers which got me more active was getting a fitness tracker.

The idea here is really what gets measured, gets managed.

When I first started wearing a smart watch, I did not wear any watches in over 10 years. I was worried of getting used to it but I adapted quite quickly.

What I wanted was to measure my progress

I wear the Garmin Vivomove Trend.

If you don’t like to wear watches, you can always opt for a ring.

The reason why it is so effective is because

1. Having a smart watch forces you to be accountable to yourself

Consistency is key to achieving any workout goal. Tracking your workouts can help you stay accountable and motivated and set realistic goals.

2. You get a sense of achievement

Fitness trackers give a visual display of your progress. You can see the steps you walk each day, the amount of water you consume, and the calories your body burns.

You get little dopamine hits and feeling of achievement when you do things like log an activity; hit your daily step count or complete a run.

This visual display motivates you to perform better every day.

3. You can track metrics

You will be able to track your heart rate; VO2 Max which is correlated with healthspan and other important health metrics.

“VO2 max is more important than I previously appreciated,” Attia says. “It is more strongly associated with reduced mortality risk than any other metric we know of, and this is likely because it’s the best integral function we have for exercise volume and intensity.”

Peter Attia

Being disciplined also improves my self-esteem

The more you practice self-mastery and self-control the more you like and value your self.

The more you discipline yourself the greater is your sense of self-respect and personal pride.

The more you practice self-discipline the better your self-image. You see yourself and think about yourself in a more positive way. You feel happier and more powerful as a person.

The watch I wear is the Garmin VivoActive Watch which comes with an app on my phone.

An important thing to note about smart watches or fitness trackers is that it is important to use it solely for telling time and fitness tracking.

In my case, I switch off notifications for my watch too.

Getting notifications on you wrist makes you more temped to instantly check them. If you are with others or in a meeting, it could be distracting and give off the impression you’re rude and disinterested.

Click on these links to learn more about Oura Ring or Garmin Vivomove trend.

I do not get affiliate commission and am simply sharing things I use or see others using. Please do not ask me for product related questions or reviews and do you own due diligence before purchase.

I am a a tech worker and Millennial content creator who shares ideas on how we can accelerate our growth while staying balanced.

Topics I cover include work; money; relationships and balance.

On LinkedIn, I also post about SaaS.

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