I have a confession to make.
I am a people watcher.
I often find myself wondering what others are thinking, what others are doing and what they have planned for themselves.
I wonder these things not because I am a stalker but I wonder where everyone is at in life.
As I sat in the park today it dawned on me that society places exercise low on the priority list. This led me to talk to a number of people. I asked each of them what they were doing instead of exercising and the replies were unanimous:
- Video Games
In talking with these people, I have come to a conclusion:
Society has their priorities backwards.
Look in a mirror and ask yourself honestly, “Do I fall into this category of people?”
If so, I propose two questions to you.
- Why is this ok?
- When did this decision become acceptable?
In my heart, I believe that each one of us understands the importance of exercise.
I have a story I’d like to share with you.
Picture this if you will:
A little lost, good-looking (I am merely recounting my own delusional perception of myself) version of Joel taking part in his first gym class. Unsure as to why I was there, I happily joined.
One of my favorite activities was climbing the ropes. I remember my ascent like it was yesterday. Much like skiing with a broken leg, it wasn’t the prettiest thing I had ever done but I did it.
I continued through the first 18 years of my life being active and exercising daily.
THEN I STOPPED.
4 years passed. The weight packed on and my body started showing me signs of what was to come. As a birthday present to myself, on my 22nd birthday, I went to the Doctor for a checkup and he told me that physically I was a wreck.
He listed off 3 VERY concerning issues:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- High Blood Pressure
- I was 30 pounds overweight.
Can you imagine? 22 years old and I was falling apart.
I spent the first 18 years of my life being a poster child for activity. Then, like so many others, life started and my activity turned to inactivity.
22 YEARS OLD.
The doctor told me to get off my ass and get fit. Being a man of average intelligence, I knew that this wasn’t a revolutionary claim or finding, so I did.
I got off my enlarged ass and got to work.
Within 1 month I started to see changes externally:
- My waistline slimmed
- My cheek fat disappeared
- My legs no longer rubbed while walking (which by the way, fat thighs = serious chaffing)
- I suddenly started to develop muscle
Within 1 month I started to feel changes internally:
- My heart no longer raced while climbing stairs
- My brain felt the sharpest it had felt since high school
- My lungs could handle more than 2 minutes of cardio
I began to wonder,”Why hadn’t I taken the time to do this before?” The answer was simple:
- Video Games
These 4 things took control of my life.
I lost sight of who I was and who I wanted to be because I got caught up in these 3 things. It became more important to me to engage in useless activity rather than take care of myself.
With one quick visit to the Doctor’s, this changed.
It took another 4 years or so before I started to take care of myself mentally.
Often I have found it more difficult to accept and change yourself mentally.
It is not something we can see, touch, or feel.
According to Lifehack.org, there are 10 benefits to reading every day:
- Mental Stimulation
- Stress Reduction
- Vocabulary Expansion
- Memory Improvement
- Stronger Analytical Thinking Skills
- Improved Focus and Concentration
- Better Writing Skills
- Free Entertainment
Looking at the above list, I want you to honestly answer the following questions:
- Do you read books?
- Do you stimulate your brain on a daily basis?
Do you belong into the “I haven’t read a book since High School” category?
The brain is a powerful organ and like all organs must be exercised.
I know that these seem very simple in principle but I assure you, it takes time to master.
When I decided to take control of my life, it took my more than half a year to create the habit. Before I even began, I had to rewire myself to not come home and turn the television on. Instead, I had to make it a priority to pick up a book instead of the remote.
After toiling away for so many years, it was worth every moment.
I now find myself fascinated and enthralled with learning and improving myself. I aim to be the best version of Joel I can be so that I may help others be the best version of themselves.
If you still are not convinced, let me ask you if you would ever let your child skip their homework in favour of television and video games?
If you are like so many others, get off your butt, go exercise, come home and shower, pick up and get lost in a book.
If you don’t take care of yourself, nobody will.
I leave you with this quote by Joseph Addison:
“Read is to the mind, what exercise is to the body”
Cheers to your success,