How We May All Honor Michael Clarke Duncan

By Scott Parker,

Earlier this week, I had the unpleasant honor of attending the funeral of Michael Clarke Duncan.  Many people from all facets of society shared amazing stories and reflections about this truly talented actor/humanitarian.  As I listened to his friends, family, and Hollywood colleagues, several thoughts ran through my mind: For one, 54 years of age is far too young to die.  Secondly, if I could impact just 10% the amount of people Michael did, I would consider my life a success.

This is the thought, however, that still lingers: What can we learn from his tragic and untimely passing?

Although Michael took his health very seriously, he suffered a massive heart attack in July and never recovered.  A few years ago, he adopted a vegetarian lifestyle, which helped him trim a considerable amount of weight.  Many have speculated as to why he died so suddenly.  His large stature (6’5″, 305 lbs), the stress of living and working in Hollywood, or pre-existing conditions could have all played a role.

One thing we do know for certain: if it can happen to someone with the resources that Michael had available to him, it can definitely happen to any of us.

As we all search for new sources of motivation to help us lose weight or simply become healthier, let’s look at some simple ways to prolong our lives and decrease our risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Medical research from the American Heart Association suggests that the most significant three factors in preventing heart disease are diet, exercise, and managing stress.  What does that really mean?  In short, we need to eat healthier, more balanced meals, get up and be active, and simplify our lives into smaller, more manageable components.

How that challenge fits into your lifestyle is entirely up to you.  That’s the beautiful thing about your temple, it’s yours and you can treat any way you like!

I suggest some basic guidelines:

* Eat 5-to-6 6 small/balanced meals per day.  Every meal should include something “lean” and something “green”.

* If you are an exercise novice, incorporate 30-45 minutes of exercise–moves you enjoy!–into your weekly routine.

* Simplify your life.  If something is detracting your spirit instead of lifting you, remove it! In the fight against heart disease, stress is as much of a risk factor as cigarette smoking.

Michael had a saying, which later became the name of his foundation: YCDA. It stands for You Can Do Anything.  As I think about it now, just days after his funeral, that mantra remains applicable to life, wealth, and health.

RIP, Mr. Duncan.  Godspeed.

Scott Parker


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