As many of you may know, I am a diabetic.  I have had type 1 diabetes since I was 25 years old.  Having this disease has opened my eyes to many of the challenges facing young people in our society today.  At age 25, staying in shape was no big deal.  However, that was 25 years ago!

As a competitor, staying in shape was a matter of daily training.  As time went by and my responsibilities grew I found my training suffered due to lack of time.  Unfortunately my lack of training contributed to the increase of health problems associated with this disease.

As a result of the increased health issues I was facing, I made a decision to increase my exercise level in hopes that it would slow down the degenerative effects of diabetes.  Over the years I have had to have surgery and laser treatments in my eyes and feet. 

Though modern medicine has triumphed over many of the infectious diseases and traumas that killed our ancestors, health problems have taken their place.  Often, the so-called degenerative diseases-the diseases of old age in our culture-can be mitigated, delayed or even prevented by changes in the way we live our daily lives.

What Is Poor Fitness?

Poor fitness could be defined as not being up to the demands of daily living.  The unfit person may suffer from:

·         a lack of energy and vitality

·         addictions to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes or food

·         excess body weight, which puts additional stress on many body systems

·         a lack of physical strength

·         vulnerability to physical illness

·         little durability to mental or emotional illness

·         structural problems, including inflexibility, stiffness or joint pain

·         an inability to relax and enjoy life

When all of these factors are combined, people who are unfit seem less resilient, less able to deal with the daily stresses and challenges of life.  They are also more likely to become sick were to become incapacitated by their illnesses.  They can be crippled by such conditions as diabetes, arthritis or heart disease and often die at an early age.  Even such seemingly unrelated factors as income level and family harmony may be adversely affected by a low level of fitness.

Putting the Brakes on Bad Habits

The first step in reversing the downward spiral of poor fitness is to identify health habits that need changing, such as poor diet, smoking, drinking alcohol to excess or not exercising.  Dietitians and other health educators are good sources of information and can help you set up your own priorities for change.  Finally, begin replacing the bad habits-one by one-with good ones!

The easiest of these good habits to begin is exercise.  What you need is a good workout program, one that he will be consistent with.

A successful workout program is one you continue to do!  I might be a bit biased, but our martial arts training at Sidekicks is one of the most effective fitness programs around.  The unique thing is that your focus is all in perfecting movement and not on the repetition of the exercise.  The classes are exciting, fast-paced and allow you to exceed  your limitations.

Many of you know that for the last 11 months I have been dealing with an injury to my right foot.  For those who don’t know, I stepped on a drywall screw about 2 1/2 inches long.  It happened during the construction at the New Tampa school.  Plumed became infected about four weeks later and I had to go in the hospital for two weeks.  While there, I underwent three surgeries, two a day whirlpool treatments and a whole range of intravenous antibiotics.

While that may seem to be quite a bit, I was informed that I had gangrene in my foot.  This is a severe infection which merely caused the surgeon to have to amputate.  Unfortunately, my surgeon, Dr. Heidi Stephens at Tampa General Hospital is one of the best surgeons alive.  Dr. Stephens saved my foot.

My rehabilitation has been a very long time.  I had an open wound on the bottom of my foot that would  not close.  Dr. Stephens tried many different treatments before finally performing another surgery, which brought the total to four.

After the final surgery my wound closed in four days.  One month later, my foot was healed completely.  Since that time I have focused on my diet and increased my exercise.  In fact, I have set a personal goal to lose 70 pounds and regain my flexibility.  I am challenging myself to get in the best shape of my life.

For those of you parents and others, who would like to join me on my new quest for fitness simply speak to one of the instructors and set an appointment to begin your training.  If martial arts is not for you, then by all means do something.

Best of luck,

Master  M.  Cabrera

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