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Memo from my body: Slow down or be sorry

RICARDO BLACKMAN: I now exercise at least four days per week at the First Class Fitness Centre. RICARDO BLACKMAN: I now exercise at least four days per week at the First Class Fitness Centre.

by Ricardo Blackman

It was Melanie Greenberg, writing in “The Mindful Self Express” who opined that in modern Western  Society, we deeply value good health, yet we havecreated a  society and way of life so out of balance that damage to our long-term health is the inevitable result.

We rush around and push our bodies beyond theircapacities. We ignore our bodies’ messages of pains and fatigue until they turn into more serious medical
problems. We seek quick fixes and ways to mask the symptoms so we can keep going, not losing an ounce of productivity.

It seems we have forgotten the wisdom of the ages that good health is not just the absence of disease, but involves healthy lifestyle, healthy mental attitude and healthy ways of relating to all living beings and nature.

PULL QUOTE (IN ADDITION to the gym, Ricardo adds walking, running and stretching in the water on the beach.)

WHEN I bumped into this www. article, , I felt as though the writer had spent some time with me as a busy Public Relations practitioner and family man, rushing from one assignment to another, from as early as 7:30 in the morning, sometimes having worked well beyond midnight the previous day, to meet a particular deadline.

Untitled-5Understandably, my attention was drawn particularly to the writer’s reference to...’ignoring our bodies’ messages of pain and fatigue...” For it was one early morning about a decade ago, while on my way to an assignment at one of our West Coast Primary Schools that I suddenly started to perspire profusely as I made my way along Highway 2A to the parish of St. Peter.

I was prompted to close my vehicle and switch the air-conditioning on. This had no effect. In fact, the perspiring intensified.

Dripping wet, while not feeling ill, I proceeded to the closest convenience store where I obtained a beverage in the event that my glucose level had fallen.

I was determined to proceed to my assignment and that I did. On arrival, I reported to no one on my condition, but a teacher, whose curiosity was aroused by my
appearance, helped me to a chair. Uncharacteristically, I sat through the assignment, as I began to feel a bit “drained “ as result of extreme loss of fluid.

In the interim, I consulted my wife, Emril, a trained Public Health Nurse, who promptly suggested that I seek immediate medical attention. This I did, only to discover that my blood pressure had elevated “to stroke level”, according to the attending physician.

An ambulance was summoned and I was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. I was hospitalized for a few days during which several tests were carried out all of which were negative (including my blood pressure which significantly subsided with no medication).

After at least three days of rest at the QEH, I was given a clean bill of health and discharged....but my body had spoken.

Indeed, I may have failed to listen previously, but I paid attention on this occasion. The message: Wind down. Change your lifestyle.

And this I have done.

Ever since then, not only have I reduced the intensity and demands of work, (no more 7.00 a.m. breakfast meetings, nor the burning of the midnight oil and working every day of the week) but I have removed bread, sugar and red meat from my diet, replacing them with fish, fruit and vegetables.

I have also reduced my intake of salt and saturated fats; I eat less, (minimizing carbohydrate-loaded cocktail parties and late night eating wherever possible); I consume lots more water, exercise at least four (4) days per week at the First Class Fitness Centre, cultivate cheerfulness by having a good laugh, and I maintain an interest in life, spiced by spending lots more time travelling with my wife, children and grandchildren and enjoying a good game of dominoes.

Something I took for granted before my body literally “spoke to me in most forcible terms,” was the proximity of my home at Chancery Lane to the world-famous Miami Beach.

I have always enjoyed swimming and with the onset of osteoarthritis having lost the cartilage in both knees through race walking, I have now added walking, running and stretching in the water to the beach dimension of my wellness programme.

An essential component of this lifestyle transformation has been the solidifying of my spiritual grounding and enrichment which has seen greater personal involvement in the work of the Church at St. Christopher Anglican, and an unswerving belief in the power of prayer.

Ricardo Blackman is a Public Relations
executive, and CEO of JER Associates.








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