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Gone but not Forgotten

News - CoverStories

Michael Jackson Dead at 50

GONE, BUT not forgotten.
I had never cried over the death of a celebrity until the untimely loss last Thursday of the undisputed King of Pop, Michael Jackson. I was in the gym by the television when the news was announced. I went numb, a knot formed in my throat, and the tears began to trickle down my face.

No . . . not Michael Jackson. Dead at 50.

My mind was transported back to one of my absolute fondest childhood
memories: when my dad took my brother and me to see him and the Jackson 5. Like it was yesterday, I remember the excitement, joy and even pride we had in seeing them perform. It was electric - surely one of the best shared experiences I had with my dad and brother.

As an adult, Jackson came to symbolize so much more. His presence and his music changed the world. If you are in search of excellence, look no further. Jackson raised the bar and broke the mold - and he made everybody up their game.

That's right, one person can change the world!

We will all surely miss the King of Pop. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for him.

Although the cause of his death remains unclear, there's no question it was way too soon. Let his passing remind us all to get our house in order. Take nothing for granted - least of all, good health.

So, fans, in Jackson's memory, please take these seven wellness action steps:

Check up or check out: Stop procrastinating and get a checkup; a visit to your general practitioner could save your life. A potentially serious health problem may be discovered and treated. You'll learn how to manage it. Digging your head in the sand is not management.

Get a handle on your health: Know your vitals. Do you know what your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels are and what the numbers mean?

Know your personal risk factors: Are there genetic conditions in your family that place you at higher risk for certain health issues? Does your age, gender or ethnic background place you in higher-risk categories? Find out and act accordingly.

No, ignorance is not bliss.

Good food isn't cheap - and cheap food isn't good: Stop kidding yourself. You know that picking up meals on the fly at your local fast-food joint is not good for you. So stop it. If you think quality instead of quantity, get ahead of the game by making your own nutritious foods - and create your own financial stimulus package, too.

Get back to the basics of two fruit servings ( 1/2 cup per serving) and five vegetable servings ( 1/2 cup per serving), plus lean protein, low-fat dairy and whole grains.

Making my coffee at home saves a whopping $737 a year. And that's just coffee. Get a calculator and see how much money you flush down the toilet eating out.

Stop smoking and drugging: Does this really require an explanation?
OK, for the record, these habits are linked to increased risk of heart disease (the No. 1 killer in the U.S.), stroke, cancer and a host of other health problems.

Get some ZZZZs: Proper rest and recovery is essential to your good health. Most experts recommend seven to eight hours of quality sleep every day.

Get moving: You knew this was coming. Exercise does the body good.
Most days of the week, make it your business to exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes a day. You and your heart will be glad you did.

Michael Jackson, your adoring fans will always love you. May your soul rest in peace. *

Kimberly Garrison is a certified personal trainer and owner of One on One Ultimate Fitness in Philadelphia (
E-mail her at

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Her column appears each Thursday in Yo!
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