Our bodies and how well they run. What possible comparison can be done with a motor vehicle, and how can the laws of entropy spark us into looking after both?
Broken down by the side of the road. An experience shared by many of us and with many common elements: frustration, stress, inconvenience, and the nagging hindsight that haunts you. You knew the vehicle you use every day for a dozen important reasons was giving some distress signals. Even worse, that Castrol service sticker on the windscreen had been completely ignored or paid little heed. “She’ll be right till next month”. Cash flow is a bit tight and you’re just too busy at the moment to organise a mechanic’s expert care…
The laws of entropy, that everything is decaying, have been ignored.
We’ve all been guilty of this neglect and paid the price of needless waste of time, repairs that cost more than they should, and now you’re the owner of a vehicle that may never be quite the same had you done what you knew to be right – before the problem became bigger than it needed to be.
Being a healthcare practitioner for many years has shown me countless times the close relationship between our mechanical and human vehicles in how we care for them and how they operate. Entropy applies to them both.
NO FUEL, NO GO
If you neglect to add fuel to the car it simply won’t go. It’s the same for our bodies. You clearly want the highest quality fresh fuel you can get. Put lower quality fuel in that motor and it will run rough, accelerate slowly, perform nowhere near its potential and probably emit a lot more noxious gases. Do it long and often enough and you can damage essential parts of the motor that will require expensive remediation and time off the road.
Resist the urge to put poor quality nutrients into your body regardless of how cheap or convenient, to reduce the risk of expense, poor performance and inconvenience later down the track.
Experienced engineers have known for a long time that as parts begin to wear, essential fluids need changing and operating pressures examining to ensure performance, reliability and to prevent expensive damage. Periodically and regularly visit your trusted healthcare provider for a service and check-up. Find someone who understands that you want care based on prevention and performance rather than just diagnosis of existing complaints. A good mechanic will check your vehicle for impending problems that need attending now before inviting a foreseeable problem. Find that person, develop a relationship, and stick to a recommended service schedule.
WEEKLY SPOT CHECKS
Scheduled servicing is essential but cannot take the place of regular weekly checks. Have a look where you park your car and see if there are any leaks on the driveway. Check the fluid levels and tyre pressures when you refuel. All good advice when applied to your car and the same for your body. Should you really be so tired on the weekend? Maybe the iPad needs to have a 9pm curfew. Two kilos heavier this winter? Maybe the wine consumption needs a reset. Gut playing up? May need to raise vegetable intake and pull back a little on the bread. Check for early signs of body distress and act promptly to make small changes that can have big impacts.
A vehicle needs to be tested every now and then to evaluate how it’s going. How does it accelerate, how quickly do the brakes pull you up and how many litres per 100 kilometres is it using? The human body is no different. Find some measures that you can assess how well you are running. Can l still lift 10kg comfortably, walk 5km in an hour, dig a hole in the garden or perform Downward Dog. It doesn’t really matter what measures you use since it has to be valuable to you. What does matter is that you have some measures that you believe are important and evaluate them as the years roll on, as to their relevance. You may have set the bar too high or low. Share and discuss these measures with your healthcare provider during your scheduled services.
AN OLDER CAR?
Pay age due respect. But that doesn’t mean you cover it with a tarp and risk the rats taking up residence. It just needs to be driven a little differently. Dear grandma’s Corolla went just fine for 20 years until it became her 18 year old grandson’s first car. Dropping burnouts to impress his mates in the supermarket car park blew the clutch in the first 3 months. No surprises here.
Respect the ageing body and respond to its changing needs. Muscle mass is reducing so ensure resistance training is part of your day. Challenge yourself with safe balancing activities to minimise the calamity of a fall. Take up age-relevant yoga and keep joints supple. Don’t think that you just need to walk more. You are capable of so much more.
A SECOND OPINION
It doesn’t hurt to take your vehicle to another mechanic if you’re unsure that the advice you are getting is correct. It’s all about the relationship you have with the professional and not how nice the coffee and wifi access is in the thoroughly modern foyer. A good professional will have no trouble with you seeking confirmation elsewhere and hopefully will refer you to the mechanic down the road who does a better job of your particular problem when that is the best course of action.
WHAT IF I HAVE A LEMON?
Some cars are just bad news and it’s not your fault. We can change over a car but it’s a lot more difficult for a human being. Some are built better than others and you can’t do much about that.
However, addressing weaknesses and using the vehicle accordingly can still improve outcomes. If you know the transmission is suspect, don’t tow a caravan and if your immune system is compromised, don’t work in child care centres.
The law of entropy that everything breaks down with time stands true for the motor vehicle and the human body alike. Nothing material is spared. However, the application of care, planning and positive actions can enable us to enjoy extended high quality use of both types of vehicle. Time to go check the service sticker.
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