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“No kidding,” you might have thought as you read the title of this post. “Health isn’t something to take for granted.”

If you’re anything like me, though, you probably go about many of your days not giving a second thought to how fortunate you are to be able to breathe, move and just BE without some physical barrier or chronic illness standing in the way; without thinking about all the amazing things happening within our bodies every second of every day that allow us to keep on keeping on; without remembering that during those 40 weeks in-utero and those crucial first years of  development, millions of things went right.

In the midst of a health crisis facing someone very dear to me, I’ve been reminded that health is not a given. Just a few weeks ago, my nephew was the picture of health, developing right on track and hitting milestones; out of the blue, however, his health took a turn. His sudden and as-of-yet undiagnosed illness has been a wake-up call to be grateful for my good health, and that of my husband, children and the vast majority of the people I know and love.

A health crisis puts a lot of things into perspective, while at the same time shifting everything in a profound way. It’s a reminder that while there are some situations out of my or anyone’s control (which we believe is the case for my nephew), there are things we can do to keep ourselves and those around us safe and healthy. Here are few that have crossed my mind of late:

  • If you have kids, keep all medicines, household cleaners, and heavy objects out of their reach.
  • Put down your cell phone when you’re driving: One distracted glance could cause a dramatic change in not only your health status, but that of those riding with you, and driving toward or next to you.
  • Be a role model for healthy behavior, from buckling your seat belt every time you get in the car to eating well to moving your body regularly.
  • Be conscious of your surroundings.
  • Be proactive about your health: If something doesn’t seem right, ask questions until you get answers.

If there’s one thing this whole situation has taught me so far, it’s to take a moment everyday to be grateful for my health as it is, because it’s not a guarantee.

How lucky I am to be able to breathe, move and just BE.

TELL US: What choices do you make everyday that have a positive influence on your health and well-being?

Jamie Martin is the digital initiatives director for Experience Life.

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