by Wendie Blair
Here on Success in Balance it’s physical Health month. Physical Health is a prerequisite of developing your professional self/life. The human body is but one vessel with thousands of different components that function exclusively for the sake of the vessel’s health, maintenance, and survival. Good physical health and cognitive ability are directly tied to each other.
Professional development requires learning, planning, practicing, action steps, mindfulness, and so on. If the body is not provided with the tools necessary, its health will decline, and it will not function as it is meant to. It becomes challenging to utilize cognitive space for professional development goals when/if the body is impacted by poor, or declining, physical health.
For those of you who may not know this, I also own a home care business that provides assistance with daily living to elderly and disabled. Let’s use my client community as an example. The majority, not all, of the elderly community is drastically impacted physically and cognitively by the decline in physical health due to aging factors. Notice I said not all!
As we age the body’s production begins to slow down. It no longer functions, on its own, at the capacity it used to. A capacity that allowed us to feel energized, strong, capable, flexible, sharp, focused, and almost invincible. With the natural occurring decrease in bodily function we must now put in effort, that we didn’t have to when we were younger, in order to try to maintain the body’s peak level of production. Physical health helps to slow the decline.
We’ve seen elderly persons that are at the top of their game and thriving. This is because they take good care of the vessel they rely on to live life to the fullest. We also see elderly persons who are reliant on agencies, such as mine, to provide services that assist them in completing normal everyday tasks because their poor physical health associated with age related decline.
Professional development doesn’t necessarily stop because we’re aging. Look at people like Samuel L. Jackson, Vera Wang, Martha Stewart, and so many more. Some of them didn’t even become professionally successful until later in life. Others became successful in their younger years but maintain their physical health so they can continue their professional development and live the life they want. When the body slows down the mind follows, and vice versa.
Does this mean we need to be a body builder or become obsessive toward exercise, food intake, etc. No, absolutely not. We just need to be mindful of what our body needs for our physical and cognitive self to thrive and continue to thrive. Each person is different and needs will vary. I may be able to thrive physically and cognitively by making sure I do some form of cardio for 30 minutes 3 times a week along with health eating. Someone else may need more, or less, cardio to thrive. Another may be able to eat whatever they want and thrive.
Just like professional development goals, what is needed for good physical health is individual specific. And, just like the professional development process, each person must know what it is they need and what actions and/or tools are necessary to fill this need.