This isn’t a political statement regarding COVID and the best way to handle a pandemic. I’m no expert on that.
But, this is an interrogation into the deeper, underlying issue with how health & disease are handled by modern society as a whole.
A dose of reality for you: our contemporary environment isn’t designed to help you maintain good health.
Cheap, unhealthy, hyper-palatable & addictive food is abundantly available. Go into any supermarket and you’ll see shelves stacked full of them. You can’t drive more than 10 minutes without coming across a fast-food chain. These food products have been designed to literally impact your brains decision making, causing you to consume more of them. This leads to cycles of addiction, obesity, and mental health disorders such as depression.
Jobs are more more sedentary & indoor-based than ever. A huge amount of people spend almost the entire day sat down & indoors. The lack of light exposure has dramatic impacts on our circadian health - which impacts hormone production -, whilst reduced activity levels contribute to weight-gain & poor general physical well-being. Not only are these two critical factors to well-being, but this working dynamic is something completely novel to human existence.
Societal pressures impinge on our mental & spiritual well-being. From a young age we’re told & expected to follow the crowd. To roll through the system seamlessly. To adhere to societal norms, ignoring true passions & desires for stability and security. Resultantly, we become soul-less, outcome-oriented, and bereft of any passion & creativity we may have once had. More people than ever feel as though their lives lack meaning & purpose - because the work they do isn't what they want, it's what they've been told they should want.
And then there’s the media. Whether it’s on television or social platforms, we’re exposed to is dramatically sensationalized & highly selective stimuli; designed to provoke fear, desire, and leave us feeling disempowered & inadequate.
Society makes us sick. That’s the problem at its core.
And just to make matters worse, once that sickness shows symptoms, what do we turn to? Medical intervention. Drugs & treatment to quell the symptoms, rather than addressing the root of the issue. A half-hearted solution to years of chronic abuse to both our body & mind.
Treatment Over Prevention
That’s the name of the game.
Waiting for a problem to fully present itself before tackling it through pharmaceutical or medical means. Relying on modern technology to paper over the cracks.
Problems that could’ve been dealt with years in advance through simple lifestyle changes - and still could be mitigated by doing so - are instead treated through drugs & medical intervention, which typically serve to simply delay the inevitable.
There’s no denying that 21st century medicine has brought an extraordinary amount of benefit & saved numerous lives, but this present dependence on it to fix all of our self-induced flaws isn’t making us a healthier society - the opposite in fact.
Chronic disease, the biggest killer in modern society, stems from consistent detrimental lifestyle behaviours (poor nutrition & excessive food intake, stress, insufficient sleep, inadequate activity). Treating chronic disease with pharmaceutical intervention completely overlooks the underlying causation & often allows the disease to reach a point whereby reversal is impossible . If instead, a proactive approach to health was taken, it's likely that millions of lives could be saved each year.
Why isn’t there currently a greater emphasis on lifestyle change over medical intervention? The reasoning is pretty intuitive. The pharmaceutical industry, which ironically, is reliant on the sickness of individuals for its own survival, holds massive power both politically & financially.
To disrupt this current state of play & to move towards a lifestyle-based, prevention approach to health would be hugely damaging from a financial standpoint.
Realistically we can’t hope for systemic change when it comes to healthcare - not with the current values held by much of modern western society. But, that doesn’t mean action can’t be taken on an individual level.
Take Stock. Take Control.
Before change happens there needs to be an awareness of the present dynamic. That’s what this is about - outlining the flaws of modern societies approach to health & disease.
So first up, recognise that society isn’t looking out for you. The things marketed at you aren’t there to make your life necessarily any better, and definitely not to make it any healthier.
Succumbing to everything society throws at you will leave you sick & as another victim of a flawed model that holds very little care for the individual.
Avoiding this fate takes an understanding of the dynamics of your environment (the food environment, societal norms & expectations, the role of the media) before taking proactive measures to create & preserve your own well-being.
Become wary of the food you eat - where it comes from, how it’s produced, what it contains. Restrict & question the media you consume - don’t allow it to provoke an incendiary reaction from you, and understand that it holds the power to literally shape your opinions & perspective of the world.
Own your choices. Understand that you have the potential to be the dictator of your health, and therefore your life.
Christian Lawal Personal Training.
Personal training in Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge & Sevenoaks.