What your body and the space shuttle have in common
March 11, 2019 | Theresa Matthews
You might be surprised to learn that your body has a lot in common with a space Shuttle—really! The space shuttle was designed to have things go wrong and keep flying. So it was built with two, three and sometimes even four backup systems. If one failed, no problem—another would kick in.
This is precisely how your body is designed. For example, as long as one has healthy kidneys, that person can donate a kidney and still have twice as much kidney function as he or she needs. Similarly, with the lungs and liver. They are designed so that you do not experience a symptom until about 70 to 80 percent of their function is impaired or lost. The good news is that our bodies are amazingly resilient and powerful. Think about it. In the days of the wooly mammoth, with no doctors and very tough living conditions, our species could not have survived had our bodies been delicate or easily incapacitated. Our bodies have continued to evolve over time and each day does its very best to do whatever we want it to do whether we feed or exercise it properly. It rarely fails us or complains.
So the good news is that our bodies are amazingly resilient and the bad news is that our bodies are amazingly resilient! If we don’t feel impaired until a system is 70-80% affected, once you get a symptom, a LOT has gone wrong. People who smoke cigarettes often mention that not all people get sick from cigarettes. But in fact, cigarettes do affect all of them. Some are lucky to have lungs that perhaps only lose 50 or 60 percent of their functionality and don’t feel sick. Perhaps you’ve heard of people having triple or quadruple bypasses. You might have wondered how that person could have gotten to the point of having 3 or 4 blocked arteries without knowing something was seriously wrong. But now you know. They all gradually developed blockages and only when they reached about 20-30% of function did that person experience chest pains revealing the problem.
If you have any symptoms though, never fear. Our bodies are incredibly responsive and quite skilled at healing themselves. All they need is some care and attention. But it is of course ideal to establish healthy habits so that we don’t become sick in the first place. I learned this information at a medical conference back in the 80’s in a lecture that began with an image of a 747. To this day, it remains one of the most important things I have ever learned about how my body works. And it has continued to motivate me to take care of my body and live a healthy lifestyle so that I can continue to enjoy good health. One doesn’t have to be extreme—a weekly or monthly serving of bacon, occasional angry thought, or a day on the sofa won’t harm such a resilient body. But one should strive to make as many good physical, mental and spiritual choices during the day as one practically can. This also reminds us that our bodies do not demand perfection. Any small changes we make will have an impact. If one never eats healthy food, just one healthy meal a day will be a 33% improvement. Celebrate this! Or if you tend to complain more than you might like, a day a week feeling nothing but gratitude and really focusing on what is good in one’s life equates to a 17% improvement in one’s mental health. In other words, there are unlimited opportunities to exert personal power over your own health that will ultimately and significantly serve you down the road!