How Fit Are You to Survive?
A well built toned body and high IQ ar not enough to escape a burning building or cope with a bullying boss. Whats needed is mental resilience-the ability to adapt to life’s stresses. Stress is agreat nemesis of resilience, staying within acceptable ranges of biological and psychological markers. Optimal mental fitness requires calming the storm of stress, by practicing resilience protects the mind -body from moment -by-moment stress attacks.
My advice is to always find time for yourself(me time)and practice mindfulness meditation and relaxation.You are waiting for the elevator on the 10th
floor of an office building when the fire alarm blares. The security announcement orders you to immediately evacuate the building, avoid the
elevators and use the stairs. Panicked you rush to the staircase and run down the steps, near the second floor, a guard stops you and says the lower levels are blocked. Then he tells you must find your way to 24th floor rooftop where you will be air lifted to safety. Terrified, you join a growing group of people pushing and shoving their way to the top, clinging to hand rails, some stopping to catch their breath, others collapsing while a few races ahead. You crawl under caving walls and hop over fallen debris and finally, gasping for air, your knees and legs aching, and trembling, you kick open the door to the roof, run to the
chopper and collapse in your seat. Yeah you have survived. Survival for the fittest in the 21st century means much more. Its about having an integrated
approach to being fit enough to live one’s life to the fullest, surviving the daily grind and preparing for life’s unexpected uncertainty. Accomplish this Fit-To-Live mission requires weaving together five critical elements: Mental, Nutritional, Physical, Financial and Environmental fitness. Optimal performance requires a diet that is based on whole foods and that avoids refined and processed foods with a laundry list of additives, including preservatives, textural, colorants, and artificial flavors .The right kinds of food help regulate metabolism and keep off the extra weight that slows people
down in a crisis. Most of this foodlike products are created with combinations of hyperpalatable processed sugar, fat and salt. Concequently ,the brains reward system can often become overstimulated, much as we see with drug addiction. My advice is that aim to consume whole food driven diet which
is an optimal way to fuel your mental and physical survival skills. Taking it Outside: Functional physical activity training is a new trend in the fitness industry. Most fitness experts are moving away from the traditional three sets 12 reps and are now focusing on the specific purpose of an activity, moving the body through a variety of planes (torquing, flexibility and balancing etc.) more realistically mimicking real life activities of daily living and potential life-threatening situations. My advice is to move away from the contemporary workouts which are too domesticated and lack real-world challenges. You need to step out in the fields as well tapping into the power for those who strive to be fit for survival. Fitness pros need to think about and talk about the connection between health and wealth. After all, you must be financially fit in
order to enjoy the survival benefits of optimal nutrition, physical activity and stress management. Clearly, access to affordable healthcare and insurance is greatly restricted in poorer populations. Fitness instructors and experts should democratize health for everyone and not to focus only to affluent population. And should find ways to volunteer their services to people who desperately need guidance in how to prioritize health in their daily lives. My advice is to acknowledge income and wealth disparities and act to reduce them. It’s tough on your feet to pound the pavement if you don’t have sneakers, chaotic kitchen can lead to calorie consumption and messes can cause stress that elevates cortisol levels and increase anxiety and depression. This survival element requires creating and nurturing a unique ecosystem in the environment where you live, work and play. That means managing relations with people places and things in your home, work and outdoor living spaces. Without daily vigilance and upkeep, chaotic clutter can push self-care to the wayside. My advice is taking a daily nature walks which predict greater functional fitness, more life satisfaction, elevated mood and increased longevity in older adults. Take a hike, put the above five elements in practice, eat a balanced meal, Plant something in the ground, hug a tree, get enough sleep and its all good for survival of the fittest.
By Calistus Shikanga (Sankara Nairobi)