The Importance of Health (or Get Up and Get Moving Chubby!)

I recently read a blog post by one of my favorite bloggers Cragmama. If you want to read the post (I suggest you do, you can find it here).

I’ve written there about the importance of health before, if you desire to read my rant (I DEMAND you do, you can find it here).

I cannot even begin to express the importance of living an active and healthy lifestyle, whether you have a disability or not. If you are someone who is disabled might I suggest checking out this new organization I was introduced to while watching Fitz Cahall’s The Season and following the story of amputee climber Craig DeMartino. He is a Paradox Sports athlete, and a terrific one at that. They do climbs and outdoor human-powered sports for those with disabilities. Donate, join, support!

At the beginning of 2011 I made the decision to get back into a more streamlined and less rounded shape. In 2010 I decided to start consuming foods that were better for me. I cut out fruit juices (empty calories) and started to withdraw my dairy usage and left soda to only very special occasions. In 2012 my family is starting to buy more fair trade and use less toxic substances. Slow changes, but good ones. Anyways…. I began going to the gym and lifting, adding in 30-45 min of cardio two times a week to improve cardiovascular performance and health. I began shedding excess weight and I noticed a terrific change in my mood, energy, mental faculties, and a reduction in pain when I went to bed and woke the next morning.

In April of this year my daughter was stillborn because of a birth defect and exercise didn’t seem to be important. At a time when I should have turned to exercise to help deal with stress and grief I instead turned to sleep and food. I added the weight back on and then some. My joints hurt, I couldn’t think clearly, and I lost the zest and pep I once had. My love for the trail is what finally prompted me to do something. I was having trouble fitting into pants and I was too tired while hiking a simple trail. It was time for my wife and I to return to who we once were, vibrant and alive.

Radical changes were made to our diet. We eliminated probably 80-90% of the processed foods in our diet, added 3-4 vegetarian meals a week, and added more fish to the mix. Red meat was included only 1-2 a month and we eventually joined a gym when I convinced my wife it was the best option to climb better. The spark of outdoor love fueled our changes as we realized that the memory of daughter could come with us as we hiked and geocached by placing plastic toy butterflies into the caches we found.

In the end it came down to a decision of being sick and tired of being sick and tired all the time. I had a choice to make, get out and enjoy what surrounds me and stay healthy enough to tackle new and exciting adventures (like ice climbing, oh dear oh dear oh dear do I want to go ice climbing!!!!) to undertake and complete goals such as a 50-mile backpacking trip, and to be able to enjoy my grandchildren and keep up with them when I’m older, slower, and more likely to fall asleep and tucker out.

What you eat, how you exercise, and how you take care of your body if a series of choices that extends far outside of just you. It affects everyone you are close to. I don’t want to be the father who is confined to a wheelchair when I had the power, opportunity, and ability to make a change. To force my children to care for me because I was too lazy to care for myself.

Some of you follow or read me (hopefully on a  regular) I have tendonitis/bursitis in my shoulder. An inflammation of the tendon which causes movements to be painful. I have found a marked difference in my movement and pain from consuming more anti-inflammatory foods, so I know first hand what a difference the food you eat and the life you live makes.

The holidays are coming up so much food will be consumed, but it’s just as easy to eat healthy, it’s all about priorities. So I encourage everyone, to get out, get active, and adventure on!

Categories: Backpacking, Climbing, Hiking, Insight | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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