Last weekend, I had the honor to experience a magical day. It was the annual Ironman World Championships here in Kona, Hawaii. Although I’m not quite crazy enough to compete in these competitions myself, I was amazed and inspired by all of the athletes that have dedicated their lives to training and pushing through this hot and grueling day.

The total distance of the event is a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, 26.2-mile run. Just incredible. The time cut off for the whole event is 17 hours. The winner came in in just over 8 hours (A Canadian guy took 2nd place!).

We were up at 5 AM to watch the start of the race from the waterfront. We then had a volunteer shift in the late morning to quite literally catch the bikes as the athletes came flying around the last corner, jumped off their bikes and headed out for their marathon run. It was exciting to be in the thick of the action. Even talking about it now gives me goosebumps.

One of the highlights of the day was returning to the finish line at 11:30 PM to cheer on and witness the final athletes pushing themselves to make the cut off time of 17 hours (at 12:30 AM). This is where true inspiration comes in. A visually impaired lady and her partner made the finish. An 84-year-old man finished strong. And a young Chinese couple crossed the line together at which point the guy pulled out a banner from his shirt that said: “will you marry me?”!

The lesson from this amazing day is how no matter where you are in life, or how old you are, you can do anything you put your mind to. 

So, whatever it is you really want to do in life, your mindset and your environment will decide your success. Maybe you want to learn to Salsa dance, go skydiving in Australia, or train to compete in an Ironman triathlon. Who you spend time with, where you live, where you work, and how you spend your evenings and weekends, is key.

You know that to be healthy you need to eat right and exercise. But, what about the huge impact of your environment on your health? This is something that most of us don’t give much thought to and is arguably just as important for overall health.

Can you remember the last time you were in an unhealthy environment? You know, that group of friends or workplace where no one seems interested in going for a walk or eating anything but doughnuts for lunch. Maybe it was when you were in high school, maybe it was during university, or maybe it’s where you work right now.

Your daily environment can decide the fate of your health.

If you’re used to hanging out with your friends at McDonald’s or getting together to watch movies and drink wine every night, then it will reflect in your health.

If everyone you know wants to go for a hike or get together and cook healthy meals, your health will benefit. Can you see what a big difference this would make for your health?

At the beginning of this month, I changed my environment and my health.

Back home, the days are getting shorter and the weather is getting colder. I was finding myself less likely to go out for a morning run or ask friends to join me on a hike.

Then, coming here to the beautiful island of Hawaii, I was shocked by the immediate change in my motivation and outlook. I jumped out of bed at 5:30 AM (thanks, jet leg!) on the very first morning we arrived and headed out for a run.

The culture here is fitness. Every day it looks like there is a race happening because of all the people out exercising. It makes me want to exercise.

The heat makes me want to spend less time cooking and more time eating delicious light salads, wraps, and smoothies.

It’s the feeling in the air. It’s my new environment.

I tell you this because I know the power of surrounding yourself with the right environment and what an impact it can have on your health.

If you’re stuck with a group of friends or peers who don’t’ enjoy being active, search out new friends and get moving. 

If your family doesn’t cook healthy meals, make your own food. 

If your workplace encourages long hours of sitting broken up with coffee and muffins breaks, find a way to bring your own snacks, go for a 5-minute walk every hour, or change jobs.

The people you spend time with, the city you live in, the place you work, your family, and your habits can either help you create a long and healthy life or drag you down into a very unhealthy one.

So, you may not be able to fly all the way over here to join me in Hawaii, but you CAN do something to create a healthy environment today.

Move the furniture in your house to allow a happier and more inspiring feeling.

Join a meetup group that goes for hikes.

Start a meal planning and cooking club. 

Make new friends that enjoy being active and healthy.

Spend less time with those who encourage you to sit all day.

Get a standing desk and spend more time standing.

The list is endless. There are a million ways to change up your environment and improve your health.

I hope this message inspires you to try something new, to mix it up, to take a good hard look at your environment and change what you can. Your health depends on it.

What will you commit to changing? Comment below and let me know!

Love & Healthy Environments,