Over the past 5 years, I have put on the pounds. Sometimes, I find that friends, who I do not meet as regularly, don't even recognise me!
I often used to blame this personal state of affairs on the lack of time. I also used to set myself health goals but would soon abandon them afterwards.
Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi has written in his autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth: "No matter what amount of work one has, one should always find some time for exercise, just as one does for one's meals. It is my humble opinion that, far from taking one's capacity for work, it adds to it."
In another book, Key To Health, he elaborates, "Like the mind, the body must also be kept well and usefully occupied, so that the fatigue of the day may lead to refreshing dreamless sleep. As far as possible, work should be in open. Those who for some reason or the other, cannot undertake physical labour, should make it a point to take regular exercise. In my opinion, a brisk walk in the open is the best form of exercise."
A newspaper in India, The Hindu, has observed, "Mahatma Gandhi had believed that he would live to be 125. In a life packed with crowded events and noted for its ceaseless toil, struggle, and self-denial, he took reasonably good care of his health... His zest for life and energy were remarkable for a man of his age, but not surprising in one given over so strongly to rigorous self-discipline."
I decided to take some responsibility for the state of my health this year. I got a very strong reason when I returned home one day and found myself struggling to climb the stairs to my flat on the second storey of a building.
In this regard, I had set a goal early this year of completing the quarter marathon (10 km) before the year turns - a goal that I had kept postponing for some three years.
In April this year, I completed about half of a quarter marathon in under 45 minutes.
I achieved my goal last weekend when I finally completed the quarter marathon on Sunday, 3 December 2006, in under 90 minutes - my first time participating in the Singapore Marathon, a part of the Greatest Race on Earth series!
I have brought back three key lessons from this experience:
1. Exercise liberates!
2. Surround yourself with friends who are supportive; especially those willing to run with you and treat you to breakfast afterwards!
3. Get a strong reason to be responsible for your own body.
And so begins my own experiment with health.