5 Things I Have Learned About Life And Fitness
I am 48 years old. I plan to be on this rotating rock for at least another 50 years.
My parents died young. Mom was unlucky — she got ALS and passed away at 64 years old. Dad died of pneumonia at age 66.
A person is many times more likely to get ALS if a parent had it, but if I spent my days worrying about getting ALS, I wouldn’t be much fun to be around.
I would rather spend my days planning on being around for a long time. And if I am going to be here for another 18,000 days, I better make sure I take care of myself. I better be fit.
And I am not only talking about physical fitness. I am talking about all kinds of fitness — being emotionally, intellectually, and socially healthy is also very important.
If I may, let me provide a few things I have learned through almost half a century alive, with 25 years of that time dedicated to a career in fitness.
1. Fitness is a journey and it never ends.
Through ups and downs in the gym, on the scale, in many 5Ks and half marathons, I have learned that the journey isn’t always smooth. But it is a journey, and the journey is supposed to be the fun part. Not the finish line, not the end. The ride is where life happens.
2. Don’t beat yourself up if your journey has you camping in the same spot for longer than you wanted.
You took a new job, stopped going to the gym, and one day you woke up and realized it has been 7 months since you exercised. The journey didn’t stop. You just camped. It’s time to take down the tent and get moving again. You got this.
3. Nobody cares.
This is a tough one to digest, but it is important. Bad genetics — nobody cares. Too busy working and taking care of your family — nobody cares. Nobody cares if you take care of yourself or not. YOU need to care. YOU need to be important to yourself.
4. Make time for your body or deal with the consequences.
“Well my grandpa smoked two packs a day and drank tons of booze and he lived to be 82.” Good for your grandpa. Did he tell you how miserable his last 20 years were? Did he discuss the many trips to the doctor and all the pills he had to take every day? Not to mention, we can always find exceptions to the norm. For every person like your gramps, I can show you 20 folks who pulled a John Candy.
5. Express your feelings.
Not a day goes by that I don’t regret not being a better son. If I could go back to my parents’ death beds, I would say: “Thank you for your daily love and support. Thank you for believing in me when it must have been difficult to do so. I love you and am so lucky to have been blessed with parents like you.” Say how you feel now, before you’ve lost your chance to say it all.
Enjoy the ride.
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