Why mental and physical health are so important
About one month ago, I received a notification on Facebook that Dexter Smith had tagged me in a post.
My first instinct was that somehow he was going through delayed withdrawal symptoms and was yearning to talk about the “greatest football league in the world” — that being the English Premier League.
Well, apparently he has not hit that brick wall as yet, so the tag was for something completely different and much deeper.
What he was doing was inviting me to accept a challenge to do 25 push-ups each day for 25 days. This was not originally his challenge, but one thrown out by our mutual friend, Chris Gibbons.
The challenge itself was not merely about machismo to see who could do these push-ups; no, it was much deeper than that.
The root of the challenge was to bring awareness to several mental challenges inclusive of alcoholism, other forms of dependency and also suicide prevention.
The theory, I repeat theory, was that each person was to nominate someone else each day to help build the momentum of the challenge.
That particular day was my day.
At first, I thought to myself that I would pass it over. Too many flashbacks of former Sergeant Major Eddie Lambe saying, “Drop and give me 20”.
Then I thought of my friend, Chris Gibbons, and all the work he has done and continues to do to bring awareness of suicide prevention out of the darkness of taboo topics.
He has, without doubt, helped many others to open up about their challenges and seek needed support and help.
So, with that in mind, I proceeded to drop and do the 25 push-ups. I forgot to mention that this had to be videotaped and uploaded to Facebook daily as proof.
After each set, you are to nominate someone else to do the same.
Well, for the first few days I picked certain individuals, yet not one of them wanted to take up the challenge. Some hit me on the side stating that they are no longer capable of doing ten push-ups, much less 25 push-ups.
That in itself is an issue for discussion.
After a few misses, two persons finally took up the offer.
My friend, Patrick Caton, and my parliamentary colleague, Sylvan Richards.
Over the course of almost two weeks, this challenge somehow morphed into an online semi-contest between a few grown men. Each of us tried to outdo each other with the number of push-ups we were capable of doing.
At one point, Sylvan put me to complete shame by doing 35 push-ups without breaking a sweat. On other days, Patrick did 40 “Archer”push-ups, alternating one arm at a time. We even had Dexter come out of “retirement” after he had completed his 25 days to prove he could outdo me as well.
All in all, it was great fun and a bonding exercise.
One major issue that has come to light during these few weeks is that, as men, we often neglect our mental and physical health to our own detriment that at about age 50, we are unable to do basic exercises.
Even more so, we fail to encourage our brothers to stay on top of their health/exercise regime.
All women can testify that men are foolishly proud and, more often than not, that false bravado leads to the male species becoming victims of avoidable diseases that lead to early deaths.
I say all this to say that while you may see “playground” ribbing between grown men, it has helped each one of us to focus on our health and the health of our cyber-brothers.
I encourage all of my fellow men to get your annual check-ups and find some form of exercise regime.
Most importantly, if you need a brother to call on during an emotional or mental crisis, reach out to someone. Do not suffer by yourselves.
We would rather rib you online than come to your hospital room or funeral.
Ps. I am not finished with Dexter and Sylvan just yet.
• Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him on WhatsApp at 599-0901 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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