I would not have even thought of sharing matters relating to Health on RetireDoWhat.com, let alone write my last post First Take Control Of Your Heart if not for its critical importance in helping me fulfill my childhood dream of trekking toMachu Picchu. The opportunity to achieve my dream presented itself during a mastermind group gathering in Rancho Santa Fe in April 2011. I met one of the speakers, Werner Berger, during a coffee session and then again when we were seated at the same table during the welcome dinner. We became friends and he later invited me to join him on his adventures, to Machu Picchu via the Salkantay Trek. As the saying goes, the rest is history, well at least my own life history.
Since I am home safe and sound, I should like to confess that even after my gear was ready and my two-week of abbreviated training completed, I kept going over in my head about my two nagging concerns. First and foremost, how would my heart behave and second, can my body withstand altitude sickness. To me, the latter concern is a question of chance really, since I know that some people are more susceptible to altitude sickness than others. In addition, there are numerous symptoms should you be adversely affected by the high altitude, such as dizziness, headache, nausea, shortness of breath and vomiting, amongst others. Worst case for me, should I be part of the statistics, is to go back to lower altitudes and cancel my planned trekking.
And now, pun notwithstanding, comes the heart of the matter. Can my heart power me through the five days of high-altitude trekking? I know that an average heart has to work very hard, 24/7 and with no rest of course. It has to beat regularly at about 100,000 beats each day. And I know too that Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of death in the United States, the United Kingdom and Singapore ; in fact it is the number one killer globally, according to the World Health Organization.
Adding to my concern is knowing that a close friend of mine, one who exercises regularly, eats moderately, follows a health diet and is a calm and cool person, had just suffered a heart attack! Three blocked arteries were found in him at the hospital. According to my friend, the exercise regime that he followed for years and his healthy lifestyle, have prevented more serious aftermath. By comparison, I had taken my health for granted for far too long.
I have enjoyed the exhilaration and the immense beauty of the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu this past July. Above all, I know I have been blessed with good health. With growing years, I should have the wisdom and the determination to continue with the walks as part of my exercise regime. Stress and the lack of exercise contribute to heart problems, and I’d like to share this video, which shows our typical modern lifestyle in a rather hilarious way to portray a serious topic:
Please share the video and its message. Treat it as a warning if you like. And take charge of your heart too. Wishing you, my dear readers, good health.