Why we should!
A couple of weeks ago we talked about being the best versions of ourselves taking each day or week as it comes and working incrementally to always improve our health and well-being, remembering it’s not about going full pelt into this new lifestyle but slowly picking up new good habits and dropping old, bad ones.
But why should we do this? Why should we always be the best version of ourselves.
There are many reasons why you should do this. The statistics give us lots of reasons and we have been through these before…
Compared with a healthy weight man, an obese man is:
- five times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes
- three times more likely to develop cancer of the colon
- more than two and a half times more likely to develop high blood pressure – a major risk factor for stroke and heart disease
An obese woman, compared with a healthy weight woman, is:
- almost 13 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes
- more than four times more likely to develop high blood pressure
- more than three times more likely to have a heart attack
A BMI of 30 to 35 has been found to reduce life expectancy by an average of three years, while a BMI of over 40 reduced longevity by eight to 10 years, which is equivalent to a lifetime of smoking.
Obesity is now taking over smoking as the biggest cause of cancer.
What’s your motivation
Your motivation might be simply that you want to look a certain way for an important event like a wedding or a holiday. Or you simply may have had enough of the old you and want to start over. Statistics might not float your boat, and it might be that you want to be a positive role model for your family – that was my motivation and still is.
However, I think a very good reason for always striving to be the best version of yourself, for always looking for that next improvement and just keep on keeping on at this, is because you can.
When I set my first physical challenge, many of you know it was the Yorkshire Three Peaks. I took part in that and decided to raise money for Cancer Research, having lost too many friends and family to that horrible disease.
I also chose to raise money for Parkinson’s UK. My reason was this. I was on maternity leave having had Seth, my second child. I went into Preston to the office where I worked, because I wanted to show off my new baby. So we did the usual touring round of all the offices, and in one office I saw the team that a guy called Kris works in.
Now before I had gone on maternity leave, Kris had been having some trouble with his leg for quite a long period of time, and he didn’t seem to be getting any answers as to what was wrong with him. He was experiencing numbness and had developed a limp. So when I bumped into him, I asked him how he was doing, the usual chit chat, and asked how his leg was. He told me that at the age of 37 he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Only 37, just got married and wanted to have a family, and he had been given the most terrible news. I was devastated for him. But he didn’t complain or moan or even seem down about it; he just told me what had happened with all the doctors that he had seen and what the plan was for his care. I can honestly say I don’t think I took any of it in, because I was still reeling from the revelation of his illness. He was a fit young guy who had been a really good runner in his school days, and had kept fit into his 20’s and 30’s. He had even ran the Yorkshire Three Peaks himself in his younger days. Parkinson’s was something that old people got, not someone like Kris – I was truly gutted for him.
So, when the prospect of doing the Yorkshire Three Peaks came up I had to do it … for him. Because now, he couldn’t, and possibly never would be able to have that opportunity. He was really supportive through that challenge, always asking me how I was getting on and sharing my requests for sponsorship on social media. And he was so grateful that I had chosen Parkinson’s UK as my charity, especially as they had provided him with so much support personally.
In May 2018, I took part in Tough Mudder in Leicester. It was the best day. Muddy and Tough, obviously, and in addition to the coveted orange head band, for completing it, I also came away with a good number of bumps and bruises. But it was a fantastic day. Whilst we were on the course there was so much camaraderie. Everyone just wanted to help each other. I had strangers place their hands on parts of my body I would never stand for in everyday life, but that is just what Tough Mudder is all about. Those more able helping those less able. There was even a guy in an adapted wheel chair with a team of friends doing every single obstacle, no matter what! He amazed me!
When I got back to work the following Monday, I stopped by Kris’s desk to see how he was and whether his wife had delivered their second child, that was due anytime. He was hoping she would hang on until the FA cup final was over. He said he had seen my Tough Mudder photos on Facebook over the weekend and asked how it was. Then he said something that really got me. ‘I would have loved to have done something like that.’ He spoke about himself almost in the past tense, as if his former life where he could run, cycle and play football had gone. It made me feel really sad. I told him, he still should, as part of a team where no-one gets left behind. Whether he will or not I don’t know. I hope he does one day.
My next event after Tough Mudder was Manchester 10k. We were stood in the start pens and there were interviews taking place with people taking part, being broadcast over the PA system. There was an interview with a man who had been paralysed from the waist down in the Manchester Arena Bombing. This guy was an ex serviceman, it was explained, and he had decided that just because his legs weren’t working any more, it wasn’t going to stop him. He was taking part in that 10k race in a wheel chair and the whole crowd cheered for him as he set off. He was doing that, because that’s what he could do. It was so inspirational. And when I wanted to quit in the horrendous heat of that race (it was the hottest day of the year), I thought of that man and what he had been through and how he wouldn’t be quitting in his wheelchair he would be battling through to that finish line.
At mile 5, Rick, who was also running the race heard a man, with a huge smile on his face, carrying a massive iron wheelbarrow on his shoulders, say to 3 girls who were walking in the intense heat – “c’mon girls, there’s really no excuse is there?” The girls smiled back and all three started running again.
Now last week we talked about goals, and not necessarily grand physical goals of running marathons or climbing mountains, but things that might be a challenge for you, that will test your mettle and push you to be just that slightly better version of yourself.
And why should you do it?
Because there are many people who would give their right arm to be in your shoes, some of them come to our groups, who keep coming and doing things their way, because that’s what they can do. Some people would do anything to be able to rock up at Park Run on a Saturday morning, or have the confidence to join a Couch to 5k group, or train to climb the biggest mountain in England, or be able to walk three miles a day, but they can’t. Either through physical inability, disability or mental and emotional incapability. So it is for these people, the people who would long to be in our shoes, the people who have been struck by tragic circumstances, illness and disease or worse still, the people that have been taken too soon… this is why we should!
When you’re faltering about tracking your calories, or doing that workout, just do it – because we can and we should!