Before I wrote this post, I stared at the blank MS Word page on my laptop screen for hours searching for the perfect words to write. Those magic words that will inspire and motivate you to see your health as a priority. Words that will make you adopt a healthy lifestyle. And I must confess, I could think of nothing. After a few hours of thinking and writing and deleting, I decided to write why adopting a healthy lifestyle is important to me.
I guess the most obvious reason is that, I do not want to be sick. I hate being sick. I hate that feeling of weakness and helplessness, of pain and weariness. I hate that I have to depend on someone to take care of me and I hate that my caretaker will have to be inconvenienced. Oh, and I hate pills and injections. Need I say more?
A very important reason is that I want to be a healthy old person. In many aspects of our lives, our past actions affect our future circumstances. And the same goes for health. Many things we do or don’t do when we are young can come back to haunt us or save us when we are old. I want to be able to climb the stairs when I am old. I do not want to be suffering from debilitating illnesses like diabetes or stroke. The fact is that many of these diseases that occur when we are older happen because of an accumulation of certain of our unhealthy behaviors when we were younger. And more superficially, I want to be a fresh and beautiful grandma. I want to be strong and there for my kids and grand kids. I don’t want to look 80 when I am 70, I want to look 60. So I will do what I can now, so that when I am old, I will not have regrets.
Another major reason is that I do not like going to hospitals. Going to the hospital is stressful. In Nigeria, we do not have health care centers close to us that are both affordable and accessible. We either have to go to a private or public hospital. That means we have to choose between comfort and cost. My problem is, if I have to go to one, I want both. I want to go to a hospital that is affordable, accessible, and comfortable. The sad thing is I cannot get all these in a single hospital. I do not want to wait for hours to see a doctor. I do not want to be rudely spoken to, just because I am a bit clumsy or forgetful. I do not want to take time out of my comfortable or lazy schedule to go to a hospital for treatment. I also really do not like the sickly smell of a hospital. So, given the choice, I will rather stay at home and do what I can to prevent an illness than go to the hospital for treatment.
Finally, treating many of these diseases cost a lot of money. Especially non communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes, etc. They take a lot of money to cure and many of these can’t just be cured, they can only be managed. That means continuous expenditure. A healthy lifestyle is cheap. It’s definitely not as expensive as managing or treating a sickness. Cutting back on the amount of sugar could prevent lots of expenditure in the future. Hence, prevention is not just better than cure, it is cheaper than cure.
Performing healthy behaviours can be difficult. Some may take work. Others take time. And most take dedication. But it is worth it. You may not be able to see the benefits immediately, but eventually, you will. It is an investment that will pay off. Our body is a gift. One we need to treasure and take care of. You shouldn’t have to wait till you are sick before you value your health. Doctors are meant to repair our bad health, but not to provide good health. We are responsible for our own health.
I decided to write about what motivated me because I realized that we all have different motivations. The truth is, I cannot motivate you to carry out a healthy behaviour. I can inform you, give you the pros and cons, the health tips and information. But at the end of the day, only you can motivate yourself.
So you all should think of one reason why adopting a healthy behaviour will benefit you and try to adopt one. Whether it is to increase your intake of ugwu or to reduce your intake of Coke. Whether it is to exercise or get more sleep. Whether it is to practice safe sex or check your HIV Status. Whether it is to wash your hands with soap when necessary or drink more water. Whatever it is, it begins with you. It’s time we take care of ourselves, because if we do not, who will?