Having an attitude of gratitude

We get a lot of great messages over the holiday season, and there are so many things to be thankful for. This newspaper for example: It’s free, it’s accurate, it’s full of opinions and nobody is in trouble for having their own. I recently read the book about Sarah Reinertson called In a

Single Bound: Losing my leg, finding myself, and training for life. She speaks well of the challenges of life, the ups, the downs and about overcoming them. I first became aware of Sarah when she attempted to be the first woman amputee to finish the Hawaii Ironman. She missed the bike cut off in 2004 and I cried when I watched it. She had worked so hard and it was hard to see her miss the deadline. In 2005, she tried again, and this time she did it! She not only finished, she rocked the course with a time of 15 hours and five minutes. A time like that is hard for people with two legs to achieve, and in my mind, she is a real inspiration.

It’s so easy in our culture to want more and more and to wish we had this and that, and sometimes I forget to be thankful for what I have. Like two legs, two arms, and a body that works in all of the original ways. I’m old enough to have some miles on the odometer and a little wear and tear, but still young enough to do the things I love to do, and for that, I am grateful.

I’m grateful for my warm house, clean water, safe streets, the people I work with, my clients, and the opportunity to write to you every few weeks. I’m certainly grateful for my friends, family and living in Canada.

Mostly I’m grateful for my healthy body and all that it can do. Once of my favourite quotes is “This is my body, and I can do whatever I want to it. I can push it; study it; tweak it; listen to it. Everybody wants to know what I am on. What am I on? I am on my bike busting my [butt] six hours a day; What are YOU on?” ― Lance Armstrong.

That rings so true for me. Our body is a stunning miracle with the ability to adapt, change, improve and grow stronger. Our body becomes what we teach it to be every day. You can teach your body to be stronger, bigger, faster, lighter, healthier, more agile, more powerful, and at any age. We don’t stop to think about our body much in day to day, when it just goes along and does whatever we need it to. That is, until it doesn’t — a cold, a toothache, a broken bone, a cut, a sprain or strain or worse. Then, rather than being grateful for all the times it doesn’t hurt, we are mad because it does. Sometimes clients tell me they hate their knees, or their ‘stupid back’, and I will say something like “Don’t hate your knees, be thankful for them!” I will hear back “I have terrible knees! They are sore all the time!”

I am concerned about comments like that on so many levels. First off, what causes them to be sore and what have you done to help them? I am constantly amazed at how often people just put up with knee or back or shoulder pain instead of getting it worked on by a physiotherapist, chiropractor, massage therapist etc.

A sore knee is awful, no question, but I’m here to tell you an artificial knee is not better. Sarah talks in her book about being in the New York

Marathon, and in the first few miles, her artificial knee breaks, leaks hydraulic fluid all over and then doesn’t work properly. My knees complain sometimes, but they have never leaked hydraulic fluid into my socks!

So this season, and into the New Year, perhaps it’s time to be grateful for more than just the obvious things.

I have a challenge for you. Write a list of 100 things that you are grateful for and put it up somewhere. If 100 comes easily, go for 200 or 300. I hope that 2012 adds to your list of things to be grateful for each and every day!

Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake. He can be reached at 403-887-7667 or check out www.personaltrainersylvanlake.com for more information.