When I think back over the years I realise that, growing up, I pretty much always took my health for granted.
Aside from childhood asthma, it seemed like my body took care of itself, without any extra effort from me.
I joke that I woke up on the morning of my 30th birthday with a slight paunch, or baby beer belly, but it didn’t concern me. It seemed like something that would disappear, if I put a few weeks effort in. That was probably true, but the reality is that I never, ever made that effort, so the wee belly stayed. It even grew! By 40, I was a dad of three, step-dad of one, home-brewer, owner of a more rounded belly and still not doing any meaningful exercise.
A couple of years ago, my dad had a heart attack, followed by pneumonia. He recovered, but was left with a seemingly endless string of infections. (His own dad had a heart attack in his early 50s.) My daughter, Jenny, was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect shortly before her second birthday and required open heart surgery to fix the issues. My parents live a long way from us so between that, and us having young kids, I didn’t see my folks anywhere near as much as we would have liked.
Last year, we did manage to meet up by having a family holiday in Filey. We took a day trip to the very steep Robin Hood’s Bay. By the time we were on our way back up the hill, my father looked grey and as tired as I’d ever seen him. He’d needed the help of his grandson to make it up the hill. The rest of the day’s plans were ditched so he could take time to recover. I was shocked. I hadn’t realised how much the heart attack had affected him until that moment.
This was a major wake-up call for me. I’m now 45 and my youngest kids are five and six. It seemed perfectly clear that if I want to maintain some level of health to keep up with them, then I was going to have to change something now.
Trouble is (and a lot of you will relate to this), having a full-time job and a young family means that jumping off to the gym first thing in the morning isn’t always viable, logistically or financially.
I had an idea. My day job is in the centre of Glasgow and is desk-based. The only time I had during the day to myself was my lunch hour. I would take full advantage of that time to get some exercise done.
The streets around my work would be my gym. I put on my fitbit and power-walked for 30 solid minutes. It surprised me how far I could travel in that time, and how much I saw. Even though Glasgow Cathedral was not far from my office, I had never seen it in the 10 years that I’d worked there.
I also discovered other sights; buildings with street art, hidden gems in the Merchant City and some incredible architecture. The streets had hills, slopes and hidden stairways, which were all great tools for getting the heart pumping.
A recent study by Bupa Health Clinics found that two thirds of Brits admit taking their everyday health for granted. To help change this, Bupa Health Clinics have launched a campaign to help us appreciate these simple things – the stuff we can do and enjoy because we’re well. It’s all about taking time out to appreciate these everyday moments, whether it’s going for a walk, having a coffee with a friend or playing with your kids.
Walking at lunch-times was fun, made me feel great and free and most importantly it was a step (or hundreds if you look at my fitbit) in the right direction! The changes I’ve made have been small but has allowed me to engage in a healthy activity.
*‘This is a sponsored ad in collaboration with Bupa Health Clinics. All words and opinions are my own.
What are your everyday moments? What are those little things that make you grateful for good health? Use #EverydayMoments on social media to tell me the things you’d miss if they were gone!