Graduating To A Healthier Life

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By Joe Bocek
Park Fitness

It’s the unofficial beginning of summer. Memorial Day has come, graduations are aplenty and soon it will be carnival season. It’s a great time to be alive!

Speaking of graduations, we usually hear a commencement speech or two this time of year. Perhaps you heard a great story like Robert F. Smith paying off all graduating students’ loan debt at Morehouse College. And inevitably, we think of life lessons to take with us or pass on.

It’s times like this I wonder what a commencement speech focused on living long and living well would be like. I am in the health and fitness business, so naturally I fill my days thinking of stuff like this.

I envision a picturesque May afternoon with a beautiful college background and thousands of cap-and-gown-clad graduates sitting in attendance. I hear the speech going a little like this:

You get one body. It’s the greatest instrument and device you will ever own - even better than an iPhone. Take care of it.

Sharpen your mind. You can do this with learning, reading books and experiencing things, but also by doing things to reinforce your mind and body connect. The World Health Organization recently reported that exercise was just about the best way to help prevent dementia. If you take care of the body, the mind will follow.

Move! Is there a greater expression of life than to use our body to move? Play, dance, run, exercise, just move! Move with purpose and move often.

Eat like an adult. This is a line from famous strength and conditioning coach Dan John and it holds up. If you are old enough to have a mortgage or even a family, you might be past eating Fruity Pebbles and fast food every day. You don’t have to eat perfectly, if that even exists. But most times, lean protein, veggies and fruit should be regularly on your plate.

Learn when to work hard but also when to relax. When you work, work hard. But also learn when to relax. Find opportunities to find peace, meditate and search for things you are grateful for. Enjoy nature, art and all of life’s beauty. It’ll fly by fast enough. “Now go out and live!”

It’s funny how much of our life quality and quantity is impacted by exercise and healthy living. So now I pose you this question: What’s one thing you can do today to improve your life?

That’s tuition-free life advice. It is a great time to be alive!

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