01 Feb Work Out for TODAY, Not Just for the Future

Think about a time in your life when you tried to be fit or healthy, but things didn’t go as planned.

On September 29th, 2017, I had my annual physical exam. A week prior, I went in for basic blood work so that the results would be ready for my appointment. Going to the lab has become part of my yearly routine because my white blood cell (WBC) count has consistently been 3.4, which is considered to be out of the normal range of 4.2-11.0.

A Reality Check

Once again, my WBC was 3.4. To me, it was no big deal because I never had to take any further action. This time, however, was different because the issue was now considered chronic leukopenia. My primary doctor asked me if I had any family history of blood cancer. A little bit scared, I answered, “No.” Even though the likelihood of me having a disease was low, he recommended that I visit a specialist for the first time.

That afternoon, I called the hematologist. When the receptionist answered the phone, I could only hear the words, “Cancer Clinic.” Talk about a reality check. Unfortunately, the specialist was booked solid for two months. Fortunately, this wasn’t a big deal because he, too, said that my risk was low. So, I scheduled my appointment for November 13th.

The Waiting Game

A month and a half felt like an eternity, but the day finally arrived. After running into a slight train delay, I showed up at 2:48 in the afternoon for my 3:00 p.m. appointment. Renee, the receptionist, had a ton of energy and greeted me by name as soon as the elevator doors opened. After taking care of my $55 co-pay, I sat down by the other folks who were also waiting.

At 2:54, I sat down. At 3:08, I was still waiting, so I grabbed a cup of coffee. After a few more minutes went by, I realized that I was the youngest person in the room by at least 20 years. I remember thinking, “Two of my friends in their early 40s had strokes this past year. We are all human.” At 3:23, I noticed that the word cancer was on signage all over the room. All I could think about was my wife and kids. What would I say to Rachel? The “c word” was now on the table. With their innocent faces looking back at me, how would I tell the girls that I have cancer?  To them, I’m still invincible. I’m The Daddy. At 3:31, my friend texted me, “Are we working out tomorrow?” My initial thought was, “What’s the point? I’ve worked out my entire life and I’m still here.” Even so, my response was, “Yes!” as it has been my entire life.

My Aha Moment

At 3:34pm, my name was finally called. A number of times during those 40 minutes waiting, I vividly recall having this aha moment… I work out for TODAY, not just for the future.

Click to Tweet: Work out for TODAY, not just for the future. @DerekDeprey #WinTheDay #TodayMatters #MoveToLiveWell

An Emotional Rollercoaster

During my appointment, the hematologist asked me 50 questions and took 20 different blood samples. The next day, I received my results. I was ecstatic! For the first time in at least three years, my WBC was within range. The next month, however, it had dropped back out of range. Initially, I was crushed. Fortunately, my doctor said that I’m probably a rare case of someone having white blood cells that stick to the blood vessel walls… some days more so than others. The hematologist ended our conversation by saying, “I’m confident that this is nothing serious. To be sure, I’ll test you one more time in six months. Don’t lose any sleep.”

Today Matters

On my way back home, I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that, all of my life, I’ve been working out for TODAY. This very day is the only time we have… yesterday is too late and tomorrow is not guaranteed. My mentor John C. Maxwell says it best: “Today matters.”

Subjectively, even if I would be fit and healthy tomorrow without working out, I still exercise every day because of how much better I feel today. If you’re currently active, you know exactly what I mean. Objectively, you’ll enjoy instant gratification with six scientifically proven benefits. Sorry, you’re not going to lose a ton of weight or get a six-pack overnight.

6 Immediate Benefits of Exercise

#1. Exercise will put you in a better mood TODAY. Science says… According to an American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) study, exercise can improve your mood for up to twelve straight hours. If you’re thinking, “Derek, I’m pretty tired today and could only give a little effort…” Do it anyway! The Perceptual Motor Skills journal proved that regardless of workout intensity, low, mid, or high, participants felt better after exercising.

#2. Exercise will give you more motivation, energy, and focus TODAY. Science says… In a report published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, young men with elevated symptoms of ADHD who sweat for 20 minutes is a drug-free way to enhance motivation, increase energy, and reduce confusion.

#3. Exercise will boost your metabolism TODAY. Science says… Research by the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University shows that a 45-minute vigorous exercise bout can increase your metabolic rate for 14 hours.

#4. Exercise will allow you to have some fun TODAY. Science says… A Journal of Sports Science & Medicine study found that an enjoyable distraction, such as watching TV or listening to music, during a workout can double the mood-enhancing impact of exercise.

#5. Exercise will make you more creative TODAY. Science says… According to a Stanford study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology just a 6 minute walk can increase creativity.

#6. Exercise will help you decrease stress and increase sleep TODAY. Science says… A session of moderate cardiovascular exercise can reduce the anxiety state and improve the sleep quality of insomnia patients, according to Federal University research.

Make Physical Activity a Daily Habit

If you work out consistently for the long term, you just might be able to prevent or manage falls, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, cancer, and arthritis. While the long term benefits are worth the daily sweat, you must first win the day. If you win the days, you win the weeks. If you win the weeks, you win the months. If you win the months, you win the years.

Click to Tweet: If you win the days, you win the weeks. If you win the weeks, you win the months. If you win the months, you win the years. @DerekDeprey #WinTheDay #TodayMatters #MoveToLiveWell

Bottom line: When you make the right choice TODAY, tomorrow could be pretty awesome.

What choice will you make to win this day?

ACTION: We are all too busy. I get it. But the people who are successful in initiating and maintaining an exercise habit make the time and sacrifice. TODAY, schedule 20 minutes or more of physical activity.

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