Corinne Austin | Personal Training

You Don’t Know what you Don’t Know

IMG_9321If I were to ask you if you thought you were in a good state of health what would you reply?  What are your parameters of health?  What does being in good health mean to you?  How do you define health, or rather, how do you define good health?  And how do you actually know if you have it?


It’s a hard one isn’t it.  Although many of us think we are in good health, our own perceptions of what good health is can be entirely different to what others perceive good health to be.  The very existence we live and how our body and mind feels on a day to day basis can be poles apart from the next person, but yet we live in our own little bubble, which has this subjective lens that projects the story to us that we are healthy, that we indeed have good health.


Most of the time we go about our day to day duties like it’s groundhog day.  We do all the right things – or what we think are the right things – to manage and improve our health, but don’t actually question our state of health unless we feel ill.  We live in this assumption that if there are no extreme symptoms then we must be ok.


Over my twelve or so years working with clients and jumping on their adventures as they undertake personal goals to improve their overall fitness and wellness, I’ve come to realise a couple of things.


  • If we are comfortable, or if we are generally symptomless, then we often accept (perhaps naively) that we are healthy, and therefore that we needn’t worry too much about changing anything. If we have no serious pain or concern, and haven’t needed to pay our local GP a visit in the last year then everything must be ok, mustn’t it?


  • We don’t know what we haven’t got until we’ve got it back. Let me throw in this perfect and fitting story here.  I experienced this with a new client who was in her mid forties.  She told me she felt like she was sixty.  She felt stiff, and like her body just didn’t do what it should be able to do at her age.  She’d had regular lower back pain but just put it down to work conditions.  I encouraged her to get physiotherapy and chiropractic assessments to check her musculoskeletal and spinal health.  When I saw her after her first visits with both of these practitioners her comment to me was ‘Wow, I had no idea what I was missing! I feel so different.  I feel like I’ve got my body back.’  This is just one instance where I’ve witnessed this result.  We all too easily fall into this pit of complacency and accept things as they are.  We don’t know what we we’re missing out on until we find it.


  • We don’t know what we don’t know. Our individual levels of health literacy are so different.  The very ways in which we define our own health is based on our own level of knowledge acquired during our time on earth, how ‘well’ we feel day to day, and how much emphasis and priority we give to choosing regular healthy practices of living.  But our own perceptions of wellness are based on what we know.  If we’ve always felt this tired, it’s hard to imagine that it could or should be any different.  If we’ve never been able to walk up a hill without puffing it’s hard to imagine that a hill could one day be our best friend.  If we’ve woken with headaches every morning for the last two years then we just accept that that’s what life has given you.  If you have tried all that you can to lose weight, but it just comes back, we just assume we were meant to be this size.  Alas, if we ventured into new lines of investigation, and used all the various health allies we could to seek enhanced wellness, we would actually discover that life and health can, in fact, be better that what our current experience of it is.  We may not yet know what we don’t know, but we can find out.


There is better health out there.  We can ALWAYS do something to better our health.  And for the most part we overestimate how healthy we are simply because we don’t know any better.   The consequences of naively assuming that we are in the best health we can be could be quite alarming.


I encourage you to investigate your own state of health.  You are worth it, and you owe it to yourself.  Allow yourself the chance to live a long and happy and extremely health life, and to be around your loved ones for a very long time.


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