Health and intellect are the two blessings of life.
—MENANDER (c. 342–292 B.C.)
No matter what task you undertake, you’ll do a better job if you feel good physically. You will tackle it with greater physical energy, more emotional vigor, and greater intellectual sharpness. That doesn’t mean that only people in peak physical shape can expect to succeed in life. Stephen Hawking, the noted British physicist, achieved scientific success although he suffers from a severely debilitating physical disease. Franklin Roosevelt led the nation through two of its worst crises although he was permanently crippled by polio. Robert Louis Stevenson produced a body of literary classics while suffering from tuberculosis.
You may face health challenges that are outside your area of effective influence, but you can achieve optimum fitness within the limitations of your basic condition. Generally speaking, physical fitness will result from seeking optimum balance in:
Americans tend to be well-fed and poorly nourished. Starvation is extremely rare in this country, but so is good nutrition. We eat plenty of the wrong kinds of foods. Therefore, we suffer from obesity, high cholesterol levels, and other conditions directly related to diet.
The Wall Street Journal once referred to the American consumer’s “workout, pig-out mentality.” We engage in healthy exercise, then turn around ...