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Fit for Life: Talking About Mortality

Sunday, March 11, 2018


Last Sunday was a day I thought a lot about mortality and what could happen to us. I need to start this article on a little bit of a downside but will shift to a more positive outlook as it goes on.

I visit my grandmother every Sunday. My dad and I have had this routine forever. We used to meet at the house, do a few chores for them, eat dinner, then take a 30-minute nap. Now my grandmother lives alone in an assisted living community. For her safety, she needed to sell her house and be somewhere where someone would be available to help her if needed. At 95 years old, she is mentally sharp, and witty, and all her vitals are good, but her body is broken down. Badly. I was watching her hobble around in her walker, and her left knee is so bad, that it practically bends 90 degrees sideways. It’s painful to watch her walk. She should have had surgery 20 years ago, but she is too stubborn, and now she is paying the price. She is also paying the price for an unhealthy lifestyle. She never smoked or drank, but was always overweight, and ate the worst processed garbage you can buy. Sara lee, Twinkies, fatty cuts of meat (she ate the fat off pork chops, and chicken skin), weight watchers, and mass amounts of sugar all occupied her daily diet. (As a kid, her House was my favorite place to visit)

Now some of you are saying…. but she’s old and her condition is unavoidable. Well, I disagree. If she lived a healthier lifestyle and did moderate exercise, I believe her condition would be a lot better. I have trained elderly people that had taken care of themselves, and the contrast in physical ability is mind-blowing. When you keep moving and eat properly you will age more gracefully.

If you even age at all.

That night I went home and watched a disturbing movie. It ended up with a happy ending, but I was uneasy watching the rest of it. The flick is called 50/50, and it’s about a young guy that gets cancer. He is around 30, exercises and lives a clean lifestyle. Then he goes for a physical and a mechanical heartless doctor tells him he has a large tumor next to his spine.

The movie follows him through his chemotherapy treatments and while watching you can’t help to recognize that we are all vulnerable and mortal.

Then I came to the realization that if I had to choose, I would rather live a shorter quality life than a long painful one. Our most dominate instinct is to survive, so we will always fight till the end, regardless of what condition we are in or what adversity we face. But why not try to put the odds in our favor?

The bottom line is, we don’t know how much time we will have on this planet, so we need to make the most of it.

You can have two different thought processes. You can look at that box of Twinkie’s and say “life is short, I’m gonna eat what I want” then eat the whole box. Or you can look at the same box and say, “life could be long, so I am going pay attention to my nutrition” and opt for a better choice.

We all look at life from a different set of glasses, so it’s up to you to decide which path to take. I will always choose to take care of myself, and I doubt you will regret it if you choose to do so too.

Life could be short or long, so live it to the best of your ability.

Committed to your success

Matt Espeut, GoLocal's Health & Lifestyle Contributor has been a personal trainer and health & fitnesss consultant for over 25 years. He is the owner of Fitness Profiles, a one on one, and small group personal training company, as well as Providence Fit Body Boot Camp, located at 1284 North Main St., on the Providence/Pawtucket line. You can reach Matt at (401) 453-3200; on Facebook at "Matt Espeut", and on Twitter at @MattEspeut. "We’re all in this life together – let’s make it a healthy one.


Related Slideshow: The 7 Best Health and Fitness Apps

Here is a list of some of the most obsession worthy health apps.

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MapMyRun is the number one selling running app for a reason:  it is easy to use, offers community support if you want it, and tracks and stores your exact routes for you.  If you are training for a race or a serious runner, users say that the extra perks in the upgraded paid version are well worth it. 

Made for iPhone, Android and Blackberry 

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MyFitnessPal seems to be the clear favorite amongst everyone polled.  It is helpful not only for the fitness tracking aspect, but everyone polled mentioned how much they loved the food/diet aspect as well. From carb counting for diabetics to recipe ideas to complement your fitness goals, users love this app. 

Made for iPhone and Android

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JeFit is another fitness app that has rave reviews.  It not only tracks progress for you, but offers a huge database of workouts.  While many apps offer community support, JeFit allows you to sync workouts with friends who use the app, offering a (real) virtual buddy system.

Made for iPhone and Android

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Strava gets the highest mark of all the cycling apps.  While it is also great for runners, the cyclers seem particularly inclined towards the fierce competition that can be ignited by this app.  You can track all of your rides via GPS, then you can compare your efforts to those logged by others in the community on the same stretch of road.  You can also join ongoing challenges that can net you great prizes (in addition to bragging rights). 

Made for iPhone and Android

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YogaStudio gets the top vote for Yoga apps.  It has a lengthy collection of full class-length videos available at your fingertips.  Unlike many other apps, this one also allows you to customize your own video yoga class.  All of the poses are done by qualified yoga instructors, and you can find classes suitable for all levels of yogis.

Made for iPhone only

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SimplyBeing meditation app offers the best of both worlds.  You can choose to run this app as a background for your meditation with soothing music or natural sounds that run for a set amount of time.  Conversely, for those of you who have trouble focusing during meditation, you can choose a soothing voice-guided meditation. 

Made for iPhone and Android

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Fooducate is an app all about educating people so that they make healthier food choices.  Although not perfect, this app is easy to use (you can even take pictures of bar codes to instantly find foods in their database).  It gives food a letter grade, tells you the pluses and minuses, and gives you better ranked alternatives.  You can also use it as a weight loss tool by tracking your daily calories. 

Made for iPhone and Android


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