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Regular exercise saved my buddy's life yesterday.

If you work in any sort of high-stress environment: whether running your own business, conducting high-stakes negotiations, sales, or simply have the daily grind of a high-pressure job, physical fitness should be on your daily calendar.


Well, potentially avoiding death, for one.

A good friend of mine, a triathlete and marathon runner, recently started experiencing shortness of breath and tightness in his chest during his 4:30 AM runs. Yesterday, he went into the cath lab, where they determined that he has 100% occlusion of his Left Anterior Descending (LAD) artery (“The Widowmaker”). This kills a lot of people. By the time you get to the hospital with 100% blockage, you’re usually dead.  However, because of my friend’s vigorous exercise routine, his body had developed collateral arteries to supply blood to and from his heart. Yes, he actually grew additional vessels to circumvent the blockage and keep himself alive, in a process known as angiogenesis. That’s a pretty impressive return on investment, if you ask me.

I bet his wife, 11-year-old daughter, and nine-year-old son feel the same.

Another one of my friends has been a complete gym rat since his days in the military, spending at least two hours a day working out. When we worked together for the Government, he started feeling faint during heavy lifts and would complain of having tunnel vision. Being the good friend that I am, I would just reply, “Quit being a sissy! Get back on the bench!” (I think you know where this is going.)

Several months later, he started having headaches and problems with his vision, so he went into an optometrist to have his eyes checked. After a quick examination, the optometrist told him to go immediately to the emergency room. Turns out he had a softball sized tumor in his stomach and has lost a substantial amount of the blood in his body. Had he not visited the optometrist, doctors said he would have died in his sleep within a few days. After having ¾ of his stomach removed along with the tumor, he made a full recovery, thanks in large part to his superior physical condition. The doctors explained that most people would not have survived the surgery he had undergone. It was his physical fitness that allowed him to not only survive, but to recover extremely quickly.

Regardless of what line of work you are in, daily physical exercise is a good idea. There are myriad documented benefits including lower blood pressure, decreased stress, and overall well-being. Combined with a healthy diet, it will keep you strong, fast, flexible, and mentally sharp, so you can be the best at whatever you do.

Walk, jog, skip, run, jump rope, lift weights, surf, swim, wrestle, box, whatever. Just do some moderate cardiovascular exercise daily.

Remember, working out every day can suck, but it might just save your life.

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