2001-03-10 / Sports

Fitness Forum

By Shaun Ruskin

A few weeks ago, I was watching television and I heard a saying that I had never heard before, "the good living". It was the first time I ever came across the phrase, and I was sort of intrigued by its meaning. Evidently, it’s a widely used term referring to someone who, throughout their life, eats whatever they please, drinks, smokes, disregards any and all health hazards, does pretty much anything they want with their body, or in other words lives good. Hence the name, the good living. Of course, those that participate in this lifestyle unfortunately don’t live long, quality filled lives. So the question is, is living this way really that good?

Now is that captivating or what. I bet you’re all just dying with anticipation. Don’t worry, I’ll be satisfying your agitation momentarily. As for now, I’m not about to make anyone (including myself) feel guilty about his or her current lifestyle choices. That’s not what this is about. It’s about experience; overall health experience. Other than a few small tribulations here and there, my health has been great, so I don’t have much experience at all. Neither do most people around my age and believe it or not, that in itself can be more dangerous than…well, something really dangerous.

You see, someone in there 20s, or even 30s, doesn’t really suffer any health related consequences from abusing their body with the good living. We just keep ticking away, trotting along, laughing it up, and doing as we please. This in turn makes us feel like we’re invincible, or indestructible, which is obviously not the case.

Now as you know, I’ve never been the type to fill your head with meaningless percentages from surveys or studies that I had absolutely nothing to do with. Personal experience in my view always tells the truth, so here’s some of my own.

Wherever I go, whether it be at the gym, a party, or on the street, I’m speaking to people in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and even 70s. Being that I’m a personal trainer, most of the time we end up chatting about health and fitness of course. Never once have I spoken to someone in midlife or older who still participates in certain aspects of the good living, but hasn’t yet suffered any consequences from it. I hear it all, aches, pains, diseases, cancers, antibiotics, medications, trips to the hospital, surgery, bedridden for days, just to name a few. These are the benefits that the good living has to offer, but everyone wants to know how to make them stop.

And please don’t give me the "well, I’d rather enjoy my food, drink booze, party, and die five years earlier, than eat healthy and take care of my body, only to live an extra five years" line. It’s old and tired. Plus, even if that ridiculous phrase does hold true (it doesn’t), it isn’t only your last five that matter. It’s more rational to think about the quality of life for your last 30 years. Shall I mention those fabulous benefits again? I think you get the picture.

Listen, believe it or not, all this annoying, guilt-ridden rubbish, is for your benefit. I need to make everyone (especially us younger people), very conscious of the fact that abusing our bodies now, will definitely catch up to us later. It absolutely will. But don’t take my word for it. Ask anyone over the age of 40 about their health problems. Just be prepared to pull up a chair and spend some time listening.

Keep in mind that our bodies are brilliantly designed pieces of machinery, just like any other technological structure. What happens when you drive your car badly? It starts to run like crap (prematurely might I add), then it runs even worse, in and out of the shop (like a person is in and out of the hospital) and eventually dies. It’ll be sick then dead a hell of a lot sooner than it was supposed to.

In any case, you can’t say you were never told, because I’m telling you now. The future will come a lot quicker than we think, but remember that nobody’s asking you not to enjoy life. God, take in every single breath, don’t be afraid to do anything, live each day like it was your last and smile. There is nothing wrong with blissful eating, partying, letting loose and having a good time…hell, I’m up for it. Just as long as it’s done in moderation because it’s so much more enjoyable that way.

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