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Wellness and well-being, how do you measure it?

Wellness and wellbeing I think most people would understand the jist of what this is.

  • But how do you measure it?

  • And if you can't measure it how do you know how much of it you have?

  • Or how much you need?

  • Or if you have too much of it?

Recently I've stepped up my personal wellness journey with removing, alcohol, caffeine and greatly reducing my refined sugar intake.

I spoke to a friend recently about his alcohol journey. He was an alcoholic and has now been 1 full year alcohol free.

I've had a problem with being allowed not to drink. When people offer you a drink and you say no, you're made to justify your choice like you have offended them ha ha.

And, if your justification isn't good enough further questioning will ensue.

When my friend says he's not drinking because he's been an alcoholic, that's good enough to stop further questioning. But when I say I'm not drinking due to looking after my wellness, further questioning ensues with haste. That's with not even trying to get past the sugar and caffeine guards, that's virtually impossible.

Trying to justify you are not drinking alcohol, drinking caffeine or eating sugar bemuses most people. They become children like, but why? But why? Ending up in the "well, I don't think it's doing me any harm".

These chemicals have become so ingrained into our society, due to the corporate world pushing them like your local drug dealer, that anyone who breaks from this normal is in for interrogations.

So if you can't measure it, how do you know what wellness is?

Everyone carries out wellness practices within their lives to varying degrees. It's not only the meditating, yoga practicing and man bun wearing of us,I don't have a man bun by the way.

So if we are all doing it anyway, why aren't we better at it?

Mostly people don't realise that they are carrying out wellness practices or don't realise that thing they are doing is because their body or mind needs it to cope with their life stresses and strains.

The best way I can describe the time when you'll feel de-stressed and full of wellness is when your on holiday, at an all inclusive 5 star holiday. You've been there for 10 days of your 2 weeks break. That feeling you have when you look around when sitting by the pool and you have a wee sigh to yourself and think, yip this feels great.

This feeling, this elusive feeling, that many get for one or two days a year, this is true wellness. But what usually happens to that holiday wellness feeling when you get home. Quicker than the tan fading, it's gone too. Why?

Wouldn't you rather this feeling stayed with you forever?

I've recently spent a bit of money on my 2013 full suspension mountain bike. I've been changing out worn parts and making slight improvements.

Also, due to getting my bike back fully working I've been out on it this past two days. Due to my houses position I benefit from being very close to the Suie Hill, I'm sure many of you know this area?

So this morning, after coming down Suie Hill with my son yesterday, I decided to go up it. So brand new nobbly tyres, full suspension mountain bike and non-aerodynamic mountain biking clothes donned I logged into Strava and off I went.

On returning home a viewed Strava, as we all do, and I looked at the individual sector timings for that run. This made me think, according to Strava, fastest is best and nothing else is shown.

These hugely fast men and women who have recorded frankly AMAZING times are shown in order of their times. Nothing else is known about that run.

My runs were three times as slow as theirs. But who benefitted most from their runs? Is it the fastest that's best in this world?

I reached the top of the Suie Hill, after nose breathing the whole run, not out of breath in the slightest. I carried on through the woods and home, the whole run not once did get out of puff. But that isn't recorded on Strava.

We all take things for granted and never ever question them.

When speaking to friends and family about the importance of breathing right, it's very often an interesting conversation.

Think about your own life, who taught you to breathe? No one? More likely, yourself. Day one on this earth, your first ever day. Usually people never revisit this first learnings and question it or decide to learn more.

The old adage probably comes to people minds here, if it's not broke don't fix it.

  • But how broken does it have to be before you'll give it attention?

  • Cycling till you exhaust yourself is great for Strava kudos but what about your wellness?

  • What is this doing for your body and mind?

As you can guess, breathing right has become one of my focuses as part of my wellness journey and as part of my businesses repertoire. The more you find out about breathing right the more it seems like not revisiting our breathing since day one on this earth is unexplainable.

Picture yourself.

You've got a big ride out with your friends or Scottish Adventure. You spend hours tinkering with your bike. Pouring over the route to find the sweet spot for your set up. The right bike, right tyres, right pressure, right clothing. All these things are important.

  • But what about the right wellness?

  • How much attention do you give your wellness?

  • If you can't measure it how do you know you have enough wellness to last the whole ride?

  • How do you know you have the right kind of wellness in reserve?

As you can see, wellness doesn't have to be measured to get this step right. You just have to know the components of wellness and give them as much attention as you can. It's no different to your food intake or bike set up. It's a balance. With the right balance it will not hamper your ride out. With the wrong balance it'll spoil it.

What's one of the main reasons that we are all not getting the best times going up the Suie Hill? We are gassing out!! Our legs have it in them, our bikes are as finely tuned as we can afford, we've got on all the lycra we own, we stayed off the beers last night because you are going for the top time. But it's the breathing that kills it for us.

We try breathing harder and faster but it just doesn't seem to work, why? Because, a huge proportion of us are breathing wrongly.

  • Why do we breathe?

  • Ever thought about that?

If you think it's only to get oxygen into our lungs, thats understandable as its what most of us have been told and never needed to question this. But it's not the main driving force for our need to breathe.

I'd love to be able to guide you all into a fuller wellness understanding.

I can guarantee this will not only see you enjoying your Scottish adventures more but in everyday life you will feel the benefits too.

Safe travels and enjoy the ride.

Will Simpson

Wellness & Well-being Advisor, Scottish Adventure

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