And not in the way you’re thinking
Exercise will do a lot for you IF you do it. Exercise will:
- prevents a myriad of diseases
- helps you fit into your favorite pair of pants
- provides legal stress relief
- helps you look great naked
- allows you to eat your favorite foods without feeling guilty about weight gain.
And I could go on and on……
Exercise has provided a platform for my career, along with my passion to help people get better.
Since becoming a certified personal trainer, 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.
However, that’s not the half of it. A client’s love of exercise helped save her life.
Note- Not her real name.
How I met her
I met Betty through her husband, a former client and neighbor. He was a fixture at the gym where I was working at the time.
And most mornings we’d chew the fat about the neighborhood, sports (both long suffering Dallas Cowboy fans) and life. When his wife, Betty wanted to get into better shape, I was a natural fit.
Betty was active and in good physical condition.
She walked and exercised at her gym regularly and loved to work in the garden. She periodically suffered from low back pain. And because of this, her program concentrated on core strength and series of movements to help lessen the pain.
During our sessions we’d often swap stories, gossip and laugh a lot. We quickly became good friends with a professional relationship. When it was time for her to squat, lunge or plank, (all the stuff she didn’t like) she didn’t put up much of a fight.
And she 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 and that doesn’t happen too often.
Around six months into our relationship, Betty started to develop some discomfort around her ribcage.
I thought it was a muscle strain, possibly from one of the exercises she performed. We joked around that it was my fault and in time it would heal. However, her pain persisted, and she went to her local GP.
Her local GP came up with a similar diagnosis and we continued to work around her pain.
But when the pain persisted, her doctor scheduled a CT scan. And the CT scan discovered an irregularity requiring further investigation and a follow-up MRI was scheduled.
To cut a long story a little shorter
The MRI revealed that Betty had stage 4 pancreatic cancer which has only a 10% survival rate. And she called me personally to tell me.
I was devastated with the news along with her friends and family.
Pancreatic cancer has taken the lives of prominent people such as Steve Jobs, Patrick Swayze and Luciano Pavarotti. No matter who you are, this type of cancer shows absolutely no mercy. She knew that the odds were stacked against, but she remained positive and ready for a fight.
And she was lucky the cancer was located on a spot on her pancreas where the chemo could attack it. However, the tumor was also near a blood vessel and this needed to shrink to allow for surgery.
None of this deterred her. She came for a fight. The fight of her life
While she was undergoing chemo, I’d often check in with a text message or ask her husband how she was holding up. And I visited on a few occasions at her home and hospital to offer moral support, but she was too weak to converse for long.
During one of these visits that Betty said something that will stay with me forever.
‘Yes Betty, what is it?’
‘Shane, if it wasn’t for exercising with you, I would never have had this checked out. I would’ve put up with the pain a while longer, so thank you.’
I replied, ‘I’m happy I was in the right place at the right time.’
Betty’s love of our sessions lead to a faster diagnosis and a better chance of survival.
And while enduring several rounds of chemo, radiation treatment surgery and surgery she beat the odds and is now cancer free and has been for the last few years.
Would she have beaten the odds without exercise? During her battles she cleared a lot of hurdles that had nothing to do with exercise. However, the early detection of cancer certainly increased her chances.
So, instead of reaching for the snooze button next time your alarm goes off, wake up, and get out of bed and move.
It may just save your life.
No matter where you are in life, exercise will help improve your life. And if you’re lucky, it just might save it.