By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training, Tucson, Arizona
October 8, 2015
If you are reading this blog post…congratulations, you have survived yet another apocalypse!
It seems pretty strange that year in and year out, we get some crazy people from all over the world saying this pristine blue rock we live on will inevitably end. Personally, I have a pretty big conniption with this sentiment, merely to the tune of WHY? I mean, why would you say such crazy and stupid crap? Well, we all know the reason…to sell you some random crap! Now, this time around, it wasn’t some voodoo death cult from South America or a Doomsday Prophecy group fro the Far East, but a wackadoodle right wing church that needed some attention. As I write this, I have a mere three hours of life or so left on this Earth if it really came true! Here is another little thought that crosses my mind when the possibility of the world ending starts getting played out…How do you come back when your ridiculous prophecy doesn’t come true? And for that matter, why would you want the world to end in the first place and give us so little time to prepare for the inevitable? Yes, I’m glad I have a blog to put down this sort of thinking, because I always believe that if the world is going to end, it probably would have been destroyed by some alien species that wanted to test out a new death ray on a primitive planet by now. I mean, all the stupid things we argue over, hindering our society and ruining our planet in the process. Why wouldn’t we be missed in this universe if we were suddenly destroyed? Either way, I’m still in this post apocalypse mood I’ve been in, for I have been watching more and more of the genre lately, and this is just the stuff I have in my own library. Truthfully, I feel like I need to start watching some more positive stuff again, which I honestly don’t really know much about since I have been pretty wound up with the dark and unstable forces of modern, independent cinema. Here is another reason why I kinda hate all of this doomsday crap that keeps popping up every year….it kind of makes people lazy.
Think about it, if the world is going to end, why would you be healthy? Yeah, this is kind of a push on my part, but you also have to kind of look at all of these hardcore doomsday prepper types that are all over the place on television. For people that are preparing to survive some kind of man made apocalypse, they seem more preoccupied with lining the pockets of opportunists than actually taking care of themselves. Don’t they realize how buff and aggressive the evil hordes of bikers or street gang members will be? C’mon, you got to have some muscle on you people! Bullets don't last forever! at least that is what the movies tell me. Anyway, I would find this trend of apocalyptic death and destruction more realistic if everyone agreed nothing was going to happen this year. Seriously, going a year without some precognitive person saying the world was going to end would actually make me kind of nervous, because the soothing feeling of being right along with the subsequent haughty derision I get to toss at said faux prophet would be taken from me. Good thing we have had plenty of people feeding the lies. You see, a whole bunch of nutty hippies thought the world was going to end some time between September 22nd through the 28th, most likely because of the Blood Moon. Yeah really vague, but what do you expect from people that believed Jade Helm 15 was a legitimate government takeover while also believing the world is flat, perpetuated by the biggest conspiracy in the history of man that includes the Illuminati, the Trilateral Commission, NASA, the Catholic Church and oh, I’m sure they can wedge Barack Obama in there as well. So yes, I am confident that I will be able to write future blogs for you all, no matter how didactic they may be. Anyway, where was I? If the world were to truly end, would you be ready? Now I know I would be ready, especially since my fitness has remained consistent and my work ethic has yet to wain in the wake of my ridiculously busy job (heck, I even had a little ego boost when I was “chosen” to stay late when a lot of people were sent home early. Yeah, I only got an extra hour out of the deal, but it is better than nothing I suppose). But what about you? How do you truly feel about your fitness?
Now, I have written several times about how important it is for older people to stay on task with their fitness. Run, bike, walk….do whatever you can to stay healthy. Don’t start indulging in German Chocolate cakes and heavy ribeye steaks, thinking you have made it this far in life and it is time to start “living.” And don’t start watching television and movies all day, because who knows how bad that will be for your waistline. As we grow older, so many things will be staring us in the eye as our bodies start to breakdown. One study I mentioned many blogs ago talked about the average number of years older people in America will be in bad health at the end of their lives. Five years is pretty much the average for must people, with seven to nine years being the average if you live in the South (mainly due to all the massive dietary problems in that region, which is the nexus of obesity, diabetes and heart disease in America). And let’s not forget you may need to work till you drop, since congress and various nut jobs keep thinking about raising the retirement age and ending Social Security. Either way, the next 20 years will certainly be a rather sad and pitiful time for my generation, but enough about our broken financial futures. I think with this inevitable “screw you” in the future for me and everyone younger than me, it is more important than ever to get healthy, because it sure is not going to be cheap. http://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleaebeling/2015/10/07/fidelitys-retiree-health-care-cost-estimate-rises-to-245000-a-couple/
Now according to Fidelity, who come up with yearly health cost estimates, the figures in regards to future health care for people over 65 is going to rise dramatically. From an average standpoint, the figures are averaging out to about $5,750 a year for single people and about $12,000 for a couple. Now it doesn’t seem like much to anyone right right now, but imagine if you retired at 65 (while you still can) and lived to the ripe age of 100. An average person could be shelling out nearly a quarter of a million dollars in medical expenses, and that is provided if the health costs stay stable. We all know they will continue to rise, for health care will always be threatened with higher prices and “industrious” people like Martin Shkreli will continue to raise prices on drugs (you know him, the guy that raised prices on AIDs pills few weeks back…yeah, I’m pretty sure you already forgot him. Don’t worry, his hubris will eventually come out once again when he starts boasting about cars or something and people will feign anger all over again). Anyway, before I fall off my soapbox, let’s get back to the situation at hand. This proposed cost is just an average, most likely based on the type of information Fidelity is seeing right now in regards to trends of health care in this country. It wouldn’t be terribly surprising if the costs of future health care continued, for people do tend to live longer these days, but they also tend to live in poorer health due to delayed decisions about health and fitness.
I remember when I first started my health journey that adopting my plant based eating lifestyle was something I would delay into my 50s. You have to remember, I was dropping an astronomical amount of weight at the time, so much so that I thought it would last forever (i.e. dumping 30 pounds a month). But I ultimately decided it was better to do start now, because for all intents and purposes, why not? Why not take more control while I am still young? Look at those figures I just presented. If I met those averages, that would be the equivalent of the last six or seven years of work for me (it has not been a good for the last few years). If I can’t afford it now, how will I afford it later? Naturally, I’m old enough to understand my life could be mysteriously cut off or shortened due to the bad food decisions I made in my early life, but at least as a country we are trying to make some changes in the minds of the youth. I’ve mentioned a couple times before that childhood obesity actually went down a little this year, and it might be due to some more innovative thinking, like removing vending machines from schools and some parents actually buying food for their kids rather than McDonalds (interesting side note, a wacko conservative group is attacking the liberal city council here in Tucson by saying they hate McDonalds….please, Tucson has somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 McDonalds…we don’t need more! I mean, I live within 10 minutes of five McDonalds!). And plus, some interesting ideas are being presented in regards to possibly helping kids adopt a healthier lifestyle. Apparently, Wednesday, the supposed last day of the world, was International Walk to School Day. http://www.pe.com/articles/school-782761-walk-day.html Seriously, I’m not making this up. Anyway, the program is starting to gain some steam as it becomes more and more popular, with the central idea leaning toward better health, less traffic and better air quality.
And then there is another trend starting to come about, primarily with the younger group of people that are aptly called “millennials.” While national chain gyms are reaping there rewards of disinterested people not using their gyms, apparently specialty classes seem to be the ones taking off. Of course, for extremely inflated prices you can learn the joys of ballet barre or spin class to the tune of an obnoxious electronic dance beat. Now I’m not gonna judge, because fitness is fitness, but if you are going to spend $110 a month on a specialty class (which is the median average), then you deserve to be the brunt of jokes from BroScience. But this is the trend right now, so people have to run with it to get ahead, I guess. The only thing I can hope from this is that people will expand their horizons rather than just become really good at riding a stationary bike or doing silly workouts in a gym that really only provide derision from Youtube.
Now I know I keep coming back to this subject, but let me remind how important it is. You only have one life. I may be a cynic since I don’t believe in stuff like heaven, reincarnation or what have you. Heck, I don’t even believe free will is a real construct (that would make an interesting blog post!), but you do have one choice that will benefit you right now. Do you wish to live healthy or live unhealthy? As I finish writing this blog, my life might end in an hour anyway (it’s getting close to midnight, so that doomsday church still has a chance), but I at least had the satisfaction of getting my life together to the point where I can run for miles on end and do some decent weight lifting. Because let’s face it, it is going to take a lot of penny pinching for the maintenance of my health is just going to keep getting higher and higher. The only way I can make difference is right now. I might die tomorrow anyway from a car crash, and would it still be worth it. YES! It will always be worth it.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
When you read this blog you are reading through the eyes of someone who is winning the battle of real weight loss. Steve is not a fitness professional, but he is someone we can all learn from.
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