Bernie Parent: Be a participant in life, not a spectator
You know, we’ve talked about risk and fear and the choices that come along with it, and since we’re starting to move towards the spring, this is the time of year people start to worry about their physique. Beach body or beached whale? All kidding aside, the importance in maintaining a good physique lies in your health, not just the way you look.
When you analyze the physical part of being healthy, many people settle for just surviving, but barely thrive. It is amazing to me that a lot of people don’t cultivate their own health. Your life is like a garden. You can’t just plant it and walk away and expect it grow. Sure, you may get something out of it, but in order to pick a ripe tomato, you must rummage through the weeds, exterminate the bugs, shower it, and get your feet muddy to indulge in healthy crops. You are responsible for cultivating your health.
Let’s start with the body. There are two key parts to maintain your physical being: exercise (external) and food (internal). At the age of 67, I’ve chosen to be an active participant in my life, not a spectator, and I’ve taken my physical health into consideration daily. I exercise not only my body, but my mind. What you put in is what you get out. I force myself to work out. It won’t stop me from dying, but it allows me to do the things that I could do at 40, as opposed to doing things that “60 year olds” do.
Sadly, there are people in my age group that do not have this attitude. They think, “I’m 62. I’m going to retire. So, what’s next?” The paradigm of a 60 something-year-old, which says you are SUPPOSED to go easy and slow down, has gone back generations. I don’t believe in slowing down. Actively deciding to cut exercise out of your daily routine WILL slow you down. My feelings about working out are tied to the fact that I want to DO things. I want to become a player, but if I don’t, I’ll miss out and slowly lose the energy to continue. Disregarding all forms of exercise will affect every other aspect of life, psychologically and spiritually.
If I stop the activity, I psychologically become a 67-year-old man. I won’t do anything and I won’t enjoy anything. But by staying in shape, my mind, body and spirit rewind back 20 years. So since I’m 47 now, I’m full of enthusiasm and I’m doing all kinds of things that 47 years olds do, versus a 67 year old man that has accepted being 67 and doesn’t do anything in life. See the difference?
Want to travel 60 miles off-shore while chasing tuna? If I’m a 67-year-old guy that has no energy, then I will find the excuse not to do it. But since I’m the 47-year old that I think I am -- not what society thinks I should be -- I’m going to go out and chase f***ing tuna!
No one is saying go from 0-60 and get off your lazy ass and jump into an advanced workout routine like P90x (even though I preach P90x to everyone I meet and I do it daily). You can start small. Every year after turning 30, you start losing a percentage of your muscle tissue. Continuing to exercise will allow you to incessantly build muscle, energy, and strength, which may help in the genetic reversal of deteriorating muscle tissue in the first place.
Cultivating your health isn’t just about building the outside of your body. You must also fuel the inside of your body. The old days of meat and potatoes are gone, and I made the decision to switch to organic food. I like to share my endorsement for organic food with people because it has become a crucial part of my healthy lifestyle. By fueling your body with the right nutrition, it will also give you the energy needed to spring back into your exercise routine.
With the right combination of exercise and nutrition, it will psychologically and spiritually create a positive attitude, a sense of accomplishment, and it may even promote growth in your pride with the decision to procure a healthy lifestyle.
Make no mistake, I didn’t practice this lifestyle while I was playing hockey. These are things I learned post-hockey and I adopted this philosophy as part of my daily routine within the last 10 years. It has made a world of a difference. My trigger to get moving happened to be weight gain. I just didn’t feel right, my attitude sucked, and nothing was working. I had become an old man. I looked the part, felt the part, and definitely started to play the part. I refused to accept it and took the steps to reverse it. Today, at 67, the changes I’ve made allow me to feel as good and do the same things I was able to when I was 20 years younger. I was able to turn back time. My spirit is much younger than my age dictates, and that is why I enjoy life.
You are starting to feel your age, you’re reading this, and you want to know how to get started. You have to ask yourself this question, “Am I part of the reason for feeling the way I do physically, psychologically, and spiritually week after week, month after month, and year after year? What has to change?” YOU have to change. As I get older, I don’t want to end up in the hospital. I don’t want to have a heart transplant. I don’t want to be on medication. I don’t want oxygen tubes in my nose. I don’t want to end up in a nursing home. There’s a short list of the things that I don’t want to do, and if I don’t maintain my healthy lifestyle, I will end up in the places I would least like to be. This message is out of fear, but good fear. That alone, should be a motivator.
Remember, what works for me might not work for you. Try some new things. Learn by trial and error. Research some methods that you feel may work for you. I educated myself by reading, communicating, listening, and watching people. And then I started to take action.
Exercising and eating right is only a small part of the Bernie Parent that many of you may know, or think you know. My psychological makeup is bigger than these two factors. Sure, I’m in great shape and I eat right, but when I walk into a room, my positive attitude and my philosophies tend to be contagious. I take pride in walking away from someone, knowing that I made an impact. The universe is very powerful, and so is my faith in the belief that it takes the form of a mirror. I am a firm believer in the law of attraction. What you are thinking bounces back to you. A healthy, spiritual mind will cultivate a healthy, spiritual body.
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I am making myself available for readers to submit their questions pertaining to sports/life/current events/relationships/etc., to Bernie@legendssportsmarketing.com. Submit your questions and I may randomly choose yours to be the subject of my next article!
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