I watched a video today about Zach Sobiech, who at the age of 14, found out he had a rare form of terminal cancer. So he became a rock star and millions of people got to see his music before he passed away on May 20th. There is a video on www.upworthy.com that is about 22 minutes long. It’s definitely worth watching. It’s about a young man who discovers that his ‘best before’ date is much sooner than one would expect. He handles his end of days with class, with joy, with purpose and with dignity. He truly lived his final days and inspired everyone around him and even people who never met him — like me.
There are lots of tired old clichés around about living every day as if it were your last etc. but in my experience that gets pretty exhausting pretty fast. The truth is, for most of us, we do have lots of time but it does give one pause to think. I see people all the time that come to me tired, sick and worn out wondering where all their energy went wishing they could get back their youth or their health. It has been said that when we are young we sacrifice our health for wealth and when we are older we spend our wealth trying to regain our health. I see that in the world every day. It’s one of the reasons I work so hard to inspire others to be healthy and fit and to perhaps have a longer and more vibrant life.
You might be thinking ‘yes, but any one of us could go at any time for any reason.’ Absolutely true, and to me, that means even more that I want to embrace and enjoy each day — to really live. Yes many of my days are routine and uneventful or inspiring but honestly not as many as there used to be before I became a trainer and started living my passion. I guess the reason I work to be fit and healthy so much and to help others do the same, is it’s about the quality of my life, not whether I live to be 100 or just 60. Statistics are very clear that most Canadians will not enjoy their last 10 years. Aches, pains, tubes, pills, surgeries, limited mobility and worse. What if you could put that off a little longer or change the quality of those end of days?
There are always a great number of conflicting theories on a lot of topics. What should we eat? How much of each macronutrient? What is the real target heart rate? Is sugar really that bad? Are artificial sweeteners safe? How much meat should humans eat on a daily basis? Should we all be vegetarians? Is coffee good or bad? Can I eat carbs after 6 p.m.? Are salads really better? What’s the best diet — low fat, low sugar, low glycemic, low protein or low calorie?
Perhaps I just created a list for future articles but the point is this — one thing that all studies agree on is that exercise is good for you. It improves nearly all aspects of your life from longevity, to energy, to resistance to colds and flu, lower blood pressure, lowers bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol, strengthens your heart and reduces risk of heart attack while improving the chances of surviving one, reduces stress, improves mood and sleep patterns, and generally just makes life easier.
So why then, are we stuck in the middle of an obesity epidemic? Perhaps we have forgotten that this life of ours is a limited time engagement. We are here for a good time, not a long time and to me a good time means being fit and healthy enough to choose how I enjoy life until such time as it ends.
Zach found out very young just how precious life is and perhaps we could all pause and remember now while we can. Tick tock.
Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake.