Tune Your Group…Tune Your Health

Reading about construction of temples in Exodus reminds me of another powerful health strategy: plugging into the right group.

Go to a place with a band and dancing, there’s a good chance you’ll do some dancing. It’s natural to be caught up in the activity of the group. Why not use the power of the group to improve health?

Those who go to church are likely to pray. Stay home, you may say a prayer, but go to a temple and prayer will be more intense because of plugging into the group.

I believe someone with an aversion to exercise could change their healthy by simply going to the YMCA and spending an hour there every  day. Something about being around a large building full of people exercising just makes you want to move.

But, there are other less obvious ways to use the group to improve health. You can subscribe to a health inspiring magazine and read it. You may be alone while you read the magazine, but you’re still exposed to healthy group of people through the articles. Hiking magazines, Men’s Health, Runner’s World, and Prevention Magazine are good choices. There are many web sites, and e-zines like this one; but for a strong influence, a regular magazine with articles and pictures of people who improved their health seems to work better.

You can start a walking club that meets once a week on the weekend for a long walk (at least 2 or 3 times as long as what you normally walk). I’ve been part of such clubs when I was running marathons. I normally ran 5 to 10 miles during the week; but would meet a few people for a long slow 15 to 20 miles early on Saturday morning.  I don’t recommend a daily walking club because people usually walk at different speeds (you  don’t even want to walk the same speed every day)…so a daily club frustrates the faster walker and exhausts the slower walker.  Also, when one or the other can’t make the walk, each becomes the other’s excuse for not walking.  Best, is have a daily appointment with yourself and meet for a group walk once a week.

Let’s say you normally walk 2 or 3 miles a day. If you met a friend or 2 for an easy, slow 5 mile walk on a weekend day, then the extra mileage would make up for a missed day during the week. Also, and more important, knowing that you would be meeting someone on Saturday (who’s probably going to ask you about your walking and who also walks) will motivate you to stay on your program. Even meeting just once a week will encourage you to stay more consistent the other 6 days.

Some religions stress healthy living and weekly worship becomes good for both body and mind. The Seventh Day Adventist Church is the healthiest, most long-lived group in the nation.

WARNING:    Watch for groups that glorify the unhealthy. You may connect with the healthier members of a group, but if the group consumes much time and encourages unhealthy behavior, do you really have time for that group?

Which would be healthier, a chess club or a birdwatching club? Which would be healthier, a Mardi Gras society, or a class in outdoor photography? What groups could you consider dropping? What new groups could you consider joining?

__ Exodus Chapters 29 – 34

__ Walk 3 miles: actual miles walked _____

__ Eat 5 fruits or vegetables: actual eaten _____

__ Virtue: Order – Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.


Charles Runels, MD

More about these 365 Health Strategies<–

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