No, as amazing as it might be (and sound), I’m not talking about a group composed of John Entwistle, John Paul Jones and Paul McCartney. But these legendary bass players do point out how a bass line (or baseline) can vary from person to person and even from year to year, evolving over the decades to keep turning out a good sound.

Stormy “Thunderfingers” Entwistle, versatile and inspiring Jones, and cool and colorful McCartney all had a distinctly different style, but they all achieved the same goal; amazing music that has stood the test of time (and earned a top 50 spot in Rolling Stone).

This is an example of what we should shoot for when it comes to our health. Health isn’t something that we can consider as a “one and done” proposition. What keeps us healthy today might not be what keeps us healthy tomorrow. And even if it does still work, there are other variable in play, not the least of which is that new exercise regimens and dietary needs are developed and discovered every year. And because of this our basic needs can change, if only because we are in a different shape now (better or worse) than we were 10 years ago. Imagine if McCartney had only played a single song since the ’60s. Sure, it would still sound good; but without change then we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy his catalogue of hits as a singer and songwriter as well.

Whenever you are trying to either establish or determine a good foundation on which to build, it is important to determine what is a good baseline. And it is also extremely important to know when to change that baseline.

Laying the first stones of this health foundation should be to determine exactly how much exercise we can do without causing us an unreasonable amount of stress and/or pain. It should be something which is at least challenging but far from devastating. Soreness and discomfort are to be expected, especially after a long time without exercise, but at least in the beginning we should shoot for something that makes us breathe harder rather than experience shortness of breath.

We might begin an exercise regimen by simply walking around the block a single time. For some of us this might be a challenging baseline, and for those with mobility issues it might be something to set as a future goal after building from a dozen steps at a time. Either way (or even if you breeze around the block easily) the goal is to find that line for us as individuals. It isn’t someone else’s lungs that are feeding us air, and it isn’t someone else’s legs and feet taking those steps. Forget what others are doing, and simply focus on “playing your own song” because it is what we do ourselves that affects our individual health.

A baseline is as simple as something we will be able to do every time we attempt it. This doesn’t mean it is going to be necessarily easy every time we do it. Just possible without an extreme amount of effort or damaging results. We should consider this our normal, and take the time to establish it properly, because it is this solid foundation that we will use to build upon. Remember that, even if our baseline is only a dozen steps, walking those steps will reinforce our current strength and make it possible to increase that number later. And don’t be discouraged by what might seem to be slow advancement because people really aren’t “cookie cutter” with identical needs. Some foundations take longer to set than others, but this is a step we don’t want to skip.

Of course, a blind flurry of effort will yield some results; but those results are far too often a temporary advancement because they are difficult to maintain. We could buy a pair of track shoes and just start running, but without first building a foundation of stable strength the results aren’t going to be ones that benefit us. More often than not this type effort results in sore and potentially damaged muscles and joints, a depressing disappointment, and the expense of shoes that will most likely never be worn again for their intended purpose. Why? Because without a solid foundation the walls and roof will simply collapse, often hurting people in the process.

Fortunately, we all have the ability to set a good foundation. And don’t be discouraged if your own journey to better health seems to take longer that someone else’s because they are building their own house, and we are building ours. Even the legendary Paul McCartney wasn’t born the legendary Paul McCartney. His talent is abundantly obvious, but he still had to put in the work, and build the foundation, to achieve the results he earned. There were, I am sure, numerous discordant notes between when he first picked up a guitar and when he played on “Paperback Writer.” But those notes lead to so much wonderful music for decades, and he just keeps getting better. And if we learn those first “notes” or steps well, then we can do the same and improve our health with every single step.

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