You might be wondering why I am writing a lot more this month.
Well, I have just arrived back from the UCI Masters Mountain Bike World Championships where I met and rode with many of the fittest and most healthy-looking oldies on the planet. I have invested heavily in my own health and was reminded of just how fortunate I am to be in such good shape. I was also reminded that good health can be the norm throughout one's life including old age. But it is not for an increasing number of people.
Being ill is fast becoming the norm.
Now that I am officially in my mid '60s, I realise that I am fast running out of time. How much longer have I got to live and will those years to come be in good health?
In my job I am exposed to people daily, younger and older than me, who are struggling with chronic ill health, a few with mot long left to live. More than a few people who I grew up with are no longer with us. Some represented NZ at the Olympics and World Championships. Yes, I am in great health but that does not mean I might not pop off at any time or suffer a disabling injury or illness. None of us know when our number is up.
My accident earlier this year that had me a whisker away from paralysis was a reminder of how fortunate I am and gave me a sense of urgency to get on with life.
I've been in the business of health and fitness for about 45 years and have learned a lot about health, disease, injury prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, ageing and physical conditioning as it applies to both sedentary people and elite athletes.
The trend during those four decades has been for our overall population health to be going downhill to the pint of alarm and threatening to bankrupt our country. I think health has been hijacked by commercial and vested interests that see you and your family more as commodities to be exploited than anything else. We are no longer being served: we are being exploited. Our best condition, in their eyes, is that we be ill from cradle to grave.
The more we spend on health, the less healthy we are. Something is very wrong.
All of us should be thinking right now about these "death bed" questions and how we would answer them during our last hours:
"Am I taking what I have learned to the grave, or have I passed it on for the benefit of others and for future generations?" "Am I leaving the World as a better place for future generations?"
I have decided to step up my writing and to be more vocal on contentious issues that other like-minded health professionals may feel they must keep quiet about, lest their professional and financial security is compromised. The fluoridation issue is a good example.
Health professionals know they must keep to the party line and, if they differ, to keep their real opinions to themselves. The late Dr John Colquhoun, for example, was a pro-fluoridation dental expert who changed his mind. He was ridiculed and consequently lost his job. It turns out he was right. He is one of my role model heroes.
I have now engineered our business so that we are independent of any funding agencies such as the Accident Compensation Corporation which was once the source of 90% of our income. I have also cancelled my professional memberships which often come with restrictive Codes of Conduct. With this income and professional independence comes the ability to speak more freely on topics that might otherwise compromise our financial security. Not "Biting the hand that feeds you" is the appropriate term.
While I am busier than ever with work, expect to see more articles and videos from me.
The primary intention of my writing is to inform and empower you so that you and your family are better able to live long, healthy, productive and satisfying lives.
A final thing: all of us are very good at something. What are you good at? Have you thought about how you can take what you are good at and bundle and package it up so that it can be presented and passed onto others?
Go on - do it!