Looking After Yourself This Men’s Health Week With VOYA Co-founder Mark Walton09/06/2017
International Men’s Health Week begins on Monday the 12th of June. The worldwide event heightens awareness of preventable health problems for men of all ages and supports men and boys to engage in healthier lifestyle choices / activities. Most importantly it encourages the early detection and treatment of health difficulties in males. In recognition of the event, VOYA Co-Founder Mark Walton shared his thoughts on Yoga, work/life balance, the importance of a good support structure and how he manages stress in his own life.
A Word from Mark
Nowadays we are all bombarded by the latest ultimate workout or weight loss routine. I was a victim of this too, certainly when I was younger and into competitive sport. But now I look at making this fit around my lifestyle. I find, if it is hard to make time to do something, you end up not doing it but by combining it with a social element it often works. We are, after all, social animals.
I’m lucky in that I live in a beautiful part of the world,(Strandhill), one that my father taught me to enjoy as much as possible. My pastimes of surfing and fly fishing really embrace this, they also bring me very close to nature, which is in itself, very grounding and as we would say, here in Strandhill ‘Good for the Head’ but also provides a great all body exercise.
Of course surfing is better exercise than fly fishing, though often, my fly fishing involves trekking up remote hills to lakes and streams or involves wading along estuaries for miles and miles. Nothing though, compares to surfing in the morning in the company of seals and even basking sharks (don’t panic they only eat plankton) occasionally.
Mark Walton – Strandhill Beach
Work / Life Balance
We’re blessed in Ireland with very long days, so often I can fit these all in before I got to work, or after hours. Add in a few willing friends and it can really add to your quality of life. It still takes motivation to get up, so having a core group of friends who also share your choice of pastime can help you avoid hitting that snooze button in the morning. I also think by sharing experiences it really enhances them. Yeah you can post about it on Instagram later, but it’s always so much better to be able to talk to someone about them, to truly share the experience.
Like everything in life, it’s all about balance, doing what you can when you can and not worrying about what you can’t. For me, I find the best way of managing stress is regular light exercise and laughter with friends, along with long walks with my better half.
Food for Thought this Men’s Health Week
I’ve given up the chase of the six pack and resigned myself to the keg, maybe a small one, but, I make sure my heart is healthy, eat well, avoid excesses of junk food and alcohol and maintain good cardio. I’d rather be fit and slightly overweight, than unfit and skinny. As I’m in my 40s now it’s harder to maintain fitness and as a good friend of mine says “Use it or lose it”, so I have to work harder at maintaining flexibility and core fitness, but I think the effort at this stage will pay significant dividends in years to come!
I’ve always enjoyed Yoga, but struggled to fit it into my diary weekly and flexibility really is something you will lose if you don’t use! So I decided to kill two birds with one stone. I used to meet up with a few friends mid-week for a few beers and a catch up. It’s a great way to break the mid-week slump, particularly in the winter months. So we came up with “YogaPints”, which is a one hour yoga session, followed by two hours of beers with friends. It has to be said, it did draw some stares in our local bar, but it works for us and our schedule and keeps my flexible!
I can sense yoga teachers shaking their heads right now.
I don’t think there is any magic solution to mental and physical wellness, I think it’s doing things which enhance your quality of life, extremes of any sort are not good, make things work for you.
As my father used to say, “We only get one pass (unless your believe in reincarnation), so make the most of it!