Your Friends Can Make Or Break Your Health And Fitness Goals
By Di Westaway | Chief Adventure Chick at Wild Women On Top
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” African Proverb
There’s a reason you feel better when you work and workout with a team. We often use the phrase ‘T.E.AM: Together Everyone Achieves More’ here at Wild Women On Top, but you don't only achieve more and feel happier with friends – they actually support your health.
According to research from the National Academy of Sciences in the US, the strength of your relationships is as important as diet and exercise for your health and longevity.
In Africa, where the challenge of daily life still forces people together, they understand the power and pleasure of the community mind. Many villages here share the vision of “Ubuntu”, meaning “I am because we are” which is at the heart of their happiness.
The concept of Ubuntu was brilliantly captured by an anthropologist while studying a remote African tribe many years ago. He filled a gift basket with delicious fruits, wrapped it in a ribbon, placed the basket under a tree and gathered up the children in the village.
The man drew a line in the dirt, looked at the children, and said, “When I tell you to start, run to the tree and whoever gets there first will win the basket of fruit.”
When he said “go”, they took each other’s hands and ran together to the tree. Then they gathered around the basket enjoying their treat together.
He was shocked. He asked why they would all go together when one of them could have won all the fruits for themselves? A young girl looked up at him and said, “How can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?”
A young girl looked up at him and said, “How can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?”
But this value of others before self is not limited to Africa. It’s innate in us all. When I took a team of 15 women to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, I witnessed its power. We climbed the mountain as a team, walking and camping together for nine days, nurturing and supporting each other.
Then on summit night, we got caught in a blizzard. Altitude sickness, fear and gear challenges separated us in the whiteout that followed. We all reached the summit, but we didn’t reach it together.
Some girls were very unhappy that we didn’t summit together and their disappointment was intense. On our return, several women voiced their sadness. It was ugly, they said. Unfortunately, the circumstances made this impossible but it shows that for many of us just being together can be more important than achievement.
But it’s not only health and happiness that comes from togetherness. It’s success. We can achieve the impossible by working together. I’ve climbed and trekked some seriously challenging mountains around the world, but I would never have done any of this without a team.
Healthy tribes are like incubators for happiness and longevity.
Working together harmoniously requires cooperation and kindness which links into our human nature where cooperation beats competition. Successful tribes are those who work together for the benefit of all.
Our people and tribes impact our health and happiness so we must connect with tribes who share common goals and values, in both work and play.
Healthy tribes are like incubators for happiness and longevity. Healthy tribes help you thrive, unhealthy tribes will sabotage your success. It’s much harder to live a healthy lifestyle if you’re surrounded by people who live an unhealthy lifestyle. Connecting with those who lift you higher makes it so much easier to succeed. You can’t journey alone if you want exhilaration.
You’ll find your people in the school playground, at the gym, in your neighbourhood, on Facebook or online. If you haven’t found them yet, keep looking. They’re out there. Those people with whom you share common values, likes, loves and purpose will bring you joy and fulfillment.
If you like hiking, gourmet food, supportive women, nature and fitness, get in touch. I love meeting new adventurous women who share my values and are keen to lift each other higher. Natural exhilaration awaits.
P.s In celebration of Women’s Health Week (4th-8th September), I’d love you to join me and the Wild Women On Top Team for a free sunrise hike.
We will rejuvenate and heal through movement in nature while connecting with like-minded soul sisters and discussing ways to improve the health of women globally.
You will find us at the Queen Elizabeth II Gate entrance to the Royal Botanic Garden, adjacent to the Sydney Opera House at 6.45am on the 8th September. Bring a friend or three and enjoy a morning of health, community, and inspirational women.
If you would like to join us, click here to RSVP.
I look forward to meeting you.