Last week and this week I’m breaking down the 10 Principles of Health as we have defined them at RxFIT.
- Health is synonymous with fitness.
- Optimal health is achieved by athletes who prioritize sleep, nutrition, exercise, mindset, and connection with others.
- Go to bed early.
- Strive for more plants, not supplements.
- Eat less to lose weight. Eat more to gain weight.
- Train to improve performance, not aesthetics.
- Constantly vary workouts with functional movements and high intensity.
- Dedicate time to think, read, write, and plan without distractions.
- Loving relationships improve longevity.
- Doctors are experts in medicine. Coaches are experts in health.
In Simon Sinek’s book, Leaders Eat Last, he writes the following regarding ancient Greece:
The Spartans were feared and revered for their strength, courage, and endurance. The power of the Spartan army did not come from the sharpness of their spears, however; it came from the strength of their shields. Losing one’s shield in battle was considered the single greatest crime a Spartan could commit.
Sinek then quotes Steven Pressfield (ancient Greek author) by saying:
Spartans excuse without penalty the warrior who loses his helmet or breastplate in battle, but punish the loss of all citizenship rights the man who discards his shield.
A warrior carries helmet and breastplate for his own protection, but his shield for the safety of the whole line.
Those that stand next to us have always kept us alive — both for the ancient Grecian as well as the modern American. We need friends and family that look out for our safety.
In 1938, Harvard scientists began a study to see if they could track the predictors of longevity. They chose 268 students and planned to interview them at different stages throughout their lives.
Psychiatrist and professor, Dr. Robert Waldinger, is the director of the ongoing study today. Only a handful of the original 268 individuals are still alive (they are in their mid-nineties now). Thankfully, the researchers also began to study and interview these participant’s spouses, children, and others. The study now is tracking the lives of thousands of individuals all across the world.
“Taking care of your body is important,” says Dr. Waldinger. But “the people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80.”
Who would’ve thought that connection would have such a dramatic impact?
Harvard’s Three Key Findings
Loneliness Kills: “Being lonely is as powerful a predictor as smoking or alcoholism.”
Benefits to Marriage: “A close relationship with your spouse becomes a protective layer against disease… Your marriage will quite literally mask physical and emotional pain later in life.”
Protection for The Body and Mind: “Some of our octogenarian couples could bicker with each other day in and day out… but as long as they felt that they could really count on the other when the going got tough, those arguments didn’t take a toll on their memories.”
Good sleep, nutrition, exercise, and mindset are variables to your health comparable to putting on your own helmet and breastplate. They protect you.
But building, developing, and sustaining deep relationships is comparable to grabbing your shield. Not only does it offer yourself better health, but it does the same for those around you.
Loving relationships provide Spartan-like longevity.