Exercise will do a lot for you. Exercise can:
- prevent a myriad of diseases
- help you fit into your favorite pair of pants
- provide legal stress relief
- help you look great naked
- allow you to eat your favorite foods without feeling guilty
And so much more…
Exercise provides a platform for my career, along with my passion to help people. Since becoming one of America’s 279,000 certified personal trainers, I’ve helped hundreds of people become better versions of themselves. Clients have lost weight, gained strength, gained confidence and had their chronic pain disappear.
That’s not the half of it, a client’s love of exercise helped save her life.
(Name has been changed to protect her privacy.)
I was introduced to Betty through her husband, a former client and neighbor. He was a fixture at the gym. Every morning we’d chew the fat about the neighborhood, sports and life. When his wife, Betty wanted to get into better shape, it was a natural fit.
Betty was active and in reasonable physical condition. She walked often, exercised at a gym regularly and loved to work in her garden. She periodically suffered from low back pain. Her program concentrated on core strength and series of movements to help lessen the pain.
During our sessions we’d often swap stories, gossip, (Okay, sue me) and share a laugh. We quickly became friends with a professional relationship. When it was time for her to squat, lunge or plank, she didn’t put up much of a fight.
Betty started to see results. Her pain was less of an issue, she was stronger and had definition in her arms. Heavens forbid, Betty even looked forward to our sessions. That doesn’t happen often.
Around six months into our relationship, Betty started to develop some discomfort in her ribcage. I thought it was a muscle strain, possibly from one of the exercises. We joked around that it was my fault and with time it would heal. However, the pain persisted and she decided to seek medical assistance.
Her local GP came up with a similar diagnosis and we continued to work around her discomfort. When the pain persisted, Betty’s doctor sent her for a CT scan. The CT scan discovered an irregularity requiring further investigation and a follow up MRI was scheduled.
The MRI revealed that Betty had pancreatic cancer which has a ten percent survival rate.
Pancreatic cancer has taken the lives of prominent people such has Steve Jobs, Patrick Swayze and Luciano Pavarotti. No matter who you are, this cancer shows no mercy. Betty knew that the odds were stacked against her. When we spoke, she remained positive and ready to fight.
Betty was lucky the cancer was located where the chemo could attack it. However, it was also near a blood vessel. The tumor had to be shrunk for to allow for surgery to take place. This didn’t deter Betty.
While she was undergoing chemo, I’d check in with a text message or ask her husband how she was holding up. I visited on a few occasions to offer moral support, often she was too weak to converse for long.
During one of these visits that Betty said something that will remain with me until my dying day.
“Yes Betty, what is it?”
“Shane, if it wasn’t for exercising with you, I wouldn’t have checked this out. I would’ve put up with the pain a while longer, so thank you.”
After a long pause I replied “I’m just happy to be in the right place at the right time.” Isn’t that funny how that happens?
Betty’s love of exercise lead to a faster diagnosis and a better chance of survival. While enduring rounds of chemo, surgery and radiation treatment, she had the support of family and friends. Ultimately, Betty beat the odds and is now cancer free.
Would she have beaten the odds without exercise? During that fight she cleared a lot of hurdles. However, the early detection of the cancer certainly increased her chances.
Instead of reaching for the snooze button, wake up, turn off your alarm, get out of bed and move. It may just save your life.