October is of course breast cancer awareness month. On Saturday morning while I was back in my hometown, I went out for a jog/walk and just happened upon a breast cancer walk. My timing was perfect. I was enjoying the walk along the waterfront in perfect temperatures, a light breeze, beautiful sights of yachts, boats, sailboats, joggers, walkers, and doggies and then I noticed a sea of pink moving in one direction.
I tagged along with the breast cancer walk and actually ended up walking longer than what I usually do most mornings at home. I got lost in the moments and enjoyed the flow.
Also this week, I had my annual physical exam with my doctor and it was another reminder about taking care of myself, doing monthly breast self-exams and living in ways to maintain good health. So this week I am asking, how are you doing? How are you feeling? Are you feeling alright? We need to be sure we are doing what we should be doing for our good health.
During my annual exam, I had the routine blood tests, had my blood pressure checked, had an EKG, was scheduled for a mammogram and asked about getting a flu shot and all of that stuff. My weight was good, just two pounds different from last year’s exam (must have been that cake from the Outer Banks vacation). So, my point is that we all need to focus on how we are feeling. Women and men can get breast cancer so this is a time for everyone to think about breast cancer, not just women. Did you know Richard Roundtree (the actor who played Shaft and who now is the father character on Being Mary Jane) had breast cancer? So, yes men can get it too.
What are you doing to stay in good physical shape to feel good? One of my cousins was challenged a year ago by a co-worker who just happened to ask her what did she do to keep in shape. Now, she is in her late 50’s like me. She said she wasn’t sure whether to be insulted or shocked by him asking this. Then, he looks at her and says, “Girl, what you need is to be on a bike.” For the past year, I started seeing all of these Facebook postings of her biking and I was wondering where this had come from. I have known her all of her life and I didn’t remember knowing she had an interest in biking. She took on the challenge her co-worker gave and she became a biker.
This past weekend, she just completed her first century ride: she did a 100 mile bike ride. One more proof point that it’s never too late to start a healthy habit.
My younger brother has been a biker for many years. He literally bikes all over the country and the world. He has a portable, fold up bike that he puts in a backpack and he just carries it on his flights to Greece or Italy or England. Instead of renting a car or taking a taxi when he arrives in those countries or even in Utah or New York, he just pulls out his bike, reassembles it and hits the streets biking. He bikes at home through the streets of Berkley and Oakland too.
So, what are you doing to take care of yourself. How are you feeling? Are you putting yourself on your appointment calendar each week to schedule time to take care of your body? Are you ready for your next annual physical exam? If the numbers that will come back from your test results aren’t better than they were last year, you should have a plan. Whether you are insulted or shocked when the doctor gives you the data, you already know how you feel. You already know what the scale says. You already know how your clothes feel as compared to last year at this time so get going on doing something.
I had the fortune to attend my 40th high school reunion this past weekend in my hometown. I can tell you that nothing felt better than going there knowing that I felt healthy and felt good physically 40 years later. I could join in the fun completely. I laughed hard and joyfully in catching up with classmates, many of whom I had not seen since graduation 40 years ago or since I attended the 20th reunion. The paths we have taken since 1977 have varied significantly. A few of our classmates are deceased and several others could not attend the reunion. But for those of who were there, we had a great time.
When you get ready for the 40th or the 50th, you really want to be feeling good so you can enjoy it. So, taking care of your health comes in handy.
With the second half of this month, focus on how you are feeling and do yourself the favor of being well by taking the right steps. Some people don’t have those options. We are the lucky ones and we can make good choices. Park a little further away from the building and walk a few extra steps. Pass on that third slice of pizza. Get up 30 minutes earlier in the morning and get in a walk, it’s a great way to start your day and clear your mind too.
Just a few simple actions can make a difference in how you feel when you get to the finish line.