What does it mean to be proactive versus reactive when it comes to health?
When I think of being proactive, I think of taking necessary steps to either elicit or prevent a specific outcome. When I think of being reactive, I think of reacting to problems as they come in. These definitions remain consistent with regards to your overall health.
What do both of those things look like?
Proactive individuals will do things like daily stretching, managing water and food intake, exercise, regular doctor visits, etc. Reactive individuals typically don’t take these steps until their health starts to fail, or they get injured. Being proactive doesn’t mean your health won’t or can’t take a turn, it just greatly reduces the chances of that happening. Furthermore, a perfect picture for proactive health practices is totally subjective, as every body and every lifestyle are different. What’s not subjective are the underlying mechanisms behind the proactivity. You are taking steps, getting prepared, and doing what you need to do to be healthy.
Reactive individuals are typically the opposite. Reactive individuals are often stuck in a loop of “go, go, go”, until they can’t go anymore because something has come undone. The best way to break that cycle is to add new habits that let you stay busy and active without getting derailed. If you have a tight schedule, then start to schedule your workouts like you schedule your meetings. If you’re too busy to shop for healthy food which forces you to eat out too much, sign up for a meal service. Don’t know how to stretch or what to do when you’re feeling stiff? Start by just standing up and moving more, and add some simple dynamic stretches to do every day for 5 minutes: that’s all it takes.
We would be remiss to not reinforce that proactive stretching is key
Proactive stretching is like building a solid foundation for a house. When the storm comes rolling in, you may not escape completely unscathed, but your foundation will prevent the likelihood of the entire structure breaking down. This is the same when you make stretching part of your weekly routine. Regular stretching will keep your body mobile and prepared for your long workdays at your desk or on your feet, and your weekend warrior activities.
What does a proactive routine look like?
- When you get out of bed in the morning, stretch for 5 minutes. Get the oxygen and blood flowing!
- Eat a healthy breakfast, drink a probiotic or prebiotic supplement for digestion.
- Go about your day, making sure you stand up and move around for at least a few minutes every hour to let your tissues breathe and get your cells moving.
- Get some exercise. 12-30 minutes is a good amount, especially if you’re just starting out.
- Make sure to fuel up when you’re done, whether that’s food or a shake (food is always better).
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid waiting until you feel thirsty to grab your water bottle.
- Add a weekly assisted stretch to your schedule to stay on top of imbalances that may be creeping up on you.
- Get a quality night of sleep (8 hours). Avoid staring at a screen one hour before you go to bed.
- Rinse and repeat.
Small steps, consistent effort, and grace with yourself are excellent metrics for proactive health practices.
Written by Conner Fritchley, LYMBR Academy Instructor.