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Are you a healthy, fit individual who takes steps to stay that way? Or do you take your good health too much for granted? If you ever imagine that you’ll live forever in the same body, feeling exactly the same way you do now, those rose-colored glasses may not be a good thing. You may be entertaining the fantasy (sorry, but it’s true) that just because you feel well today, your self-care job is good enough.

Here are some misguided wellness statements I hear from time to time, and why they are dangerous.

“I’ll worry about it later…when it really gets bad!”

Consider this: What if “later” comes sooner than you planned? What if that minor problem you’ve been ignoring suddenly flares and becomes debilitating? Don’t let that happen to you. Avoid being a victim of “worry about it later” thinking by identifying what compromises you’re making now. Then take steps to put in place the changes or adjustments that will ensure your future wellbeing.

“It will never happen to me.”

When we’re young or in excellent health, it’s easy to slip onto the road to denial, thinking that malfunctions will occur in the far-off future. The truth is, many of us will eventually feel the wear and tear of time. Poor habits, practiced over many years, do eventually come home to roost. For instance, “It will never happen to me” is a common rationalization that many smokers use to continue their habit even after they notice some symptoms of damage to their body.

“If I wait long enough, it will just go away.”

In some cases, that statement may be accurate. For instance, muscle spasms can be a symptom of a virus or a side-effect of soreness from a recent exercise class. After a little rest, simple muscles spasms disappear. But what if those common spasms didn’t resolve as expected? That’s a sign something more may be going on. Don’t wait too long for symptoms to “just go away.” Delay allows minor discomforts to settle in and become a new normal for you, which is really another way of making do with just so-so health.

Knowing that your body is built for success is important, but respecting its limitations, when appropriate, is a responsibility we all need to assume.

Case study: After exercising, Rebecca felt twinges of pain in her shoulders and low back. She wondered if perhaps these sensations were just from overtraining in yesterday’s workout. Healthy and active, she noticed that the pains were still present a few days later. After seeking advice from a professional, she modified her self-care routine. Rebecca added Pilates classes to learn how to hold her body differently and turned to acupuncture to resolve muscle tightness. Her pain eased as a result. She knows now what measures to take if the pain should reoccur in the future, and she’s poised to remain pain free.

Feeling strong and healthy is positive as long as the feeling is an accurate reflection of your physical state and you’re truly in sync with your body. Assuming you’re healthy, though, based on confused, misguided, or unrealistic goals or attitudes, will ultimately not be helpful for you. Relying on inaccurate self-assessment could, in fact, make matters worse when it comes to treating a long-standing injury or condition. It’s time to take a hard, honest look at your wellbeing and adopt steps today to help your  body continue to perform at its peak tomorrow.

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