Putting health first

Maryanne Maina

Maryanne Maina

"Wellness has been my interest for a long while. I focussed on sports medicine while in school and got involved in health management, research, corporate wellness programmes and anything similar to that," said Rob Cowling, managing director of Queensgate Wellness Holdings.

To Cowling wellness means consistently making healthy choices in life.

"It is also about accepting responsibility for one's own health - making the right food choices, understanding the importance of rest and recovery in managing stress, choosing not to smoke and consistently having positive thoughts despite the challenges you may be facing.

"The choices are there but people find it a challenge to be committed and remain consistent on the four important facets of life: physical, spiritual, mental and emotional," he said.

"Hypertension, obesity, stroke and diabetes are diseases of the affluent that usually occur together and their root causes are the similar - improper diet and health. This is due to a lack of activity and being in a stressful environment."

According to Cowling, it is essential to have a basic healthy meal which may consist of whole-wheat bread and peanut butter or whole-wheat toast and baked beans.

"It is about perception. People think the more expensive food is, the better it is, but that is a wrong perception," said Cowling.

"Alcohol abuse is common worldwide. The body has no biological need for alcohol. Taking it in moderation is safe but not in excess. Drinking in moderation means having a glass of wine. Men can have two glasses and women one because they do not metabolise alcohol as efficiently as men," he said.

You do need certain skills to work in this industry.

"You need to understand the clients to enable them to achieve their commitments. All clients are different and you can't treat them the same. Be a good listener, be enthusiastic, have the essential training, be humble and you also need to be able work well with people," he said.

Like any job, working in this industry does have its unique challenges. "It is a challenge to constantly be positive and to always have to find ways to improve. But I am blessed with my work and it is a very fulfilling way of life," he said.

"It can be a bit tough to ensure that people are committed to wellness. Also finding sources of new information to keep us updated is a major challenge.

"Wellness has grown tremendously and been described as the third trillion dollar industry after food and pharmaceuticals, worldwide. It is now the fastest growing industry too. Despite the challenges of making people understand the importance of wellness, we have managed to set standards which we committed ourselves to and we have succeeded. Also, Queensgate has been credited as the best wellness centre in Africa," said Cowling.