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Why rent when you can ‘Own Your Wellness’?

Do yourself a big favor. Never underestimate your mind’s ability to find similarities in the seemingly less than similar.

For off-the-wall associations often serve as sign posts as you journey towards better health and fitness. Provided you let them.

That’s why you could be doing yourself another big favor by reading Own Your Wellness: Giving You the Tools to Break Through Your Health Plateaus (Forefront Books, 2024) by Daniella Dayoub Forrest. Case in point: Seventeen pages into doing so, I found myself thinking about Friedrich Nietzsche.

At first, I assumed my mind was simply wandering. For what could a long-gone German philosopher whose beliefs were twisted by the Nazis to justify their doctrine of racial and national superiority have in common with a present-day wife and mom who’s a personal trainer and a health coach?

How about they both wrote something rather similar?

Nietzsche: “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” Dayoub Forrest: “One of the most important things you can do to own your wellness is to figure out your ‘why.’”

A coincidence? Maybe. A connection? Certainly.

And Dayoub Forrest certainly makes it clear why figuring out your “why” increases your chance of wellness success “infinitely,” - in part by sharing why she wrote this book. To show you how “to find your own path ... to stay fit and strong over the entirety of your lifespan ... to be your own boss - to own your wellness.”

But the connection between these two quotations is not the only seemingly unconventional one I made while reading this book.

Before you hear the other, however, keep this in mind. I’ve written more than 2000 articles over the course of (can it be?) 40 years and that to do so I’ve probably read more than 100 books like Own Your Wellness.

So I’m not going to be impressed by the standard advice, which there’s a good deal of in this book - although occasionally reviewing the health and fitness basics can be helpful. But I am going to be immensely impressed when a bit of less-than-standard advice helps me better do something I love to do: pedal a bicycle.

Even if the help happens as a result of a seemingly off-the-wall connection.

In the chapter titled “Move,” Dayoub Forrest explains why the use-it-or-lose-it theory is indeed true (particularly as you age) and why she has clients go shoeless as often as possible as a way to improve their balance. You have “tons of tiny little muscles and nerves in your feet that really need to feel the ground.”

So while clients are barefoot and brushing their teeth first thing in the morning, she suggests they spread their toes as widely as they can because “it helps you hold onto the floor.”

Makes sense to me. What may not to you is the connection I made between “hold[ing ] on the floor” barefoot and pushing down on bicycle pedals - something I do while shod in bicycle shoes with a carbon fiber sole that’s exceedingly light and as stiff as any metal.

The connection here is the wide spread of the toes. It occurred to me that doing so would help power the entire pedaling motion - and especially so on the upstroke, the time when many cyclists waste power, so much so that all-time great Greg LeMond tells you to picture using a curb to scrape mud off the bottom of your shoes to avoid that.

Now maybe I have been keeping my toes too close together while pedaling as a way to lessen the occasional discomfort I feel from breaking my pelvis and both femurs in bicycle crashes, but spreading my toes when I pedal has been a blessing. It seems to keep my heels from bowing inward in response to that discomfort, which allows more of the power from the upper legs to be directly applied to the pedals and not get wasted by going, in a manner of speaking, sideways.

“Sideways,” by the way, can mean “in an indirect way,” which is the type of way I just used to prove that Daniella Dayoub Forrest has indeed achieved what she’s set out to do.

Her book’s provided me with one of those tools alluded to in its subtitle, and I’ve been able to “break through” a health/fitness plateaus as a result.

I bet you’d acquire a handy tool or two from the book that includes chapters on how to feed yourself, and not only through food; how to better function, and not only during exercise; how to investigate ways to make health problems lessen or disappear; how to tweak good health to make it better. You can purchase it through Amazon, a few other internet bookstores, or at one of the three Barnes & Noble brick-and-mortar stores in the Lehigh Valley.