Last year, I watched a TEdTalk where game developer, Jane McGonigal, spoke eloquently about how games can make the world a better place.
In her talk, she referenced people’s top 5 deathbed regrets, and how gaming addressed every one of these remorses. She then went on to convince her audience that playing games could add years to their lives. Which is excellent news for the amateur gamer that I am.
I’ve always considered fitness as something that positively impacts the quality of one’s life. Ms. McGonigal got me thinking about how much fitness could influence the quality of one’s death.
So, let’s talk about those deathbed regrets. And where fitness fits.
Regret 1: I wish I hadn’t worked so hard:
Fitness is an opportunity for everyone to get some me time, to invest in their own wellbeing. We are all slaves to the paycheck, but work can’t and shouldn’t be everything. Another way to look at this is that being fit makes you more productive, more energetic, so things get done faster. Faster, so that you can have a life! And be healthy to enjoy that life.
Regret 2: I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends:
Fitness is a great way to make, make time for, and keep friends. Research has repeatedly shown that working out with a buddy or a like-minded group, or playing a sport with friends or family has significant benefits in comparison to going it solo. Not just for your physical welfare, but emotional and mental too.
Regret 3: I wish I had let myself be happier:
So often, we put ourselves way down the priority list, and this includes our health. The state of our bodies often manifests itself in the state of our minds, and vice versa. In the short term, a great workout equals endorphins equals bliss. In the long term, a healthy, happy body equals a healthy and happy self.
Regret 4: I wish I had the courage to express my true self:
So much of our self worth is wrapped up in how we look and the way we feel. When we’re not in the best health, we’re just not our best selves. There are so many benefits to being well and truly healthy that transcend just physical appearance. Confidence, determination, being able to walk taller, taking life head on… And ultimately, being able to be our truest selves.
Regret 5: I wish I had lived a life true to my dreams instead of what others expected of me:
How many times have you given up on a dream or desire, simply because you thought you just weren’t capable? Physically or emotionally. Or let yourself be convinced that you belonged on another path? Being fit, body and mind, gives one a lot more confidence to choose what is right for you. Who cares if you fail at some of those things? No regrets, right?
Ultimately, being fit (and I don’t mean being ripped or being able to smash a marathon; I just mean being in the best of your health) is just fundamental. And if we want to die well, we first need to live well.