Something unique about Team Misfit HQ is that we have a relatively young population; young professionals in the 25-40 year old range and a smaller (but equally impressive) masters population make up the majority of our clientele. I started off as someone who liked to compete in sports and CrossFit, but my mindset has drastically shifted toward that of health and longevity. It’s something I’m passionate about as a 28 year old, but now I have to ask myself: how do I communicate the importance of living a long, healthy life to people who are the same age or younger than me?
I’ve learned that what my members do for a workout when they come to the gym every day is almost irrelevant. What they ARE doing is moving themselves further away from the possibility of ever having to be taken care of by their children or spouse when they get older, either due to physical limitation or, to a certain extent, chronic disease and mental illness. For many of our members, they use the gym as a de-stressor from work, a way to stay fit for their families, to look good naked, or even to test their limits of performance. Longevity isn’t something on most of their minds because frankly, it’s not really what 20-30 year olds regularly think about. But I do.
I’ve had two grandparents spend the last 5-10 years of their lives in the exact same wing of the exact same nursing home for the exact same reasons: forms of Alzheimer’s disease and the loss of physical independence that followed. I spent most Sundays through high school and on trips home visiting one of my two grandmothers who did not know who I was. After having watched my Mom take care of those two grandparents, the best thing I can do now is teach everyone who wants to listen how to move their bodies the way they were meant to, and how to eat the food they were intended to eat. Selfishly, I do not want to spend any more Sundays talking to someone who can no longer talk back.Sharing my reason story hopefully puts the idea that prioritizing individual health and wellness is one of the most unselfish things someone can do. If you ask a member what their top three priorities in life are, they’ll probably respond with something along the lines of “my family, my kids, and my health” in that order. I’m not a parent, but I think it’s backwards. If you care about your family and children, your selfless commitment to your own health and functionality is the least selfish thing you can do for those closest to you.
To kids and young adults
Build the habits you want to have for a lifetime. Be the guy or girl at your high school and college reunion who is still in great shape. Build a buffer between you and physical ailment. Build a foundation of physical capacity now so that when you have children you can handle one of the hardest jobs out there, being a parent.
To parents and grandparents
Come to the gym. Come learn how to pick things up and put them overhead safely. Come learn how to get on and off the ground without help. Come lift weights to increase your bone density and prevent injuries. Come learn how and why certain foods contribute to cognitive decline so that you don’t have to experience it. Come learn how to do these things so that your children or grandchildren don’t need to help you use the toilet or get off the couch when you’re older. Come learn to do these things and be the example for your children and grandchildren.
Every one of you reading this has a responsibility as a parent, grandparent, future parent, child, son, daughter, brother, sister, whatever. A responsibility to everyone else make sure that the people you care most about don’t ever have to take care of you because you didn’t want to spend a few minutes a day moving your body or eating right. The information is out there. The resources, coaches, and people who want to help are available and willing. If you think learning these things is too expensive or not important enough, I hope you’re willing to explain that to your children and grandchildren from a nursing home bed, but pray that you don’t have to. The fact is that there is no excuse to not take care of yourself – it’s one of the most selfless things you can do as a responsible person.
Written by Hunter Wood