There are five things that can kill you.  The first four are statistically less probable and combined only account for 20-30% of deaths in the US and Canada and yet we tend to be preoccupied with them spending an inordinate amount of time and money on them which is strange since these four are largely out of our control.

The fifth cause of death on the other hand, accounts for about 70-80% of deaths in the US and Canada and is largely within your control.  Let’s name the five buckets, the five ways that you may die: kinetic, microbic, genetic, toxic, chronic.

Bucket #1: Kinetic
Accidents, natural disasters, violence.  These are traumatic events that cause harm to your body.  Sure, you can take measures to reduce your risk: fasten your seat belt, install a security system, don’t get involved with organized crime or move away from continental fault lines.

Bucket #2: Microbic
You can quarantine yourself and live in a bubble but otherwise, if your life involves interacting with other people, you will be exposed to bacteria, viruses and parasites some of which can overwhelm your immune system and kill you.

Bucket #3: Genetic
Fate deals you a bad hand; you inherit that dreaded recessive gene.  Gene therapies are on the way but they are far from perfect at this stage.  Your best bet: prayer, for good genes or the accelerated advancement of medical science.

Bucket #4: Toxic
Exposure to chemicals, poisons, radiation.  Certain professions put you at greater risk.  Certain environments have more contaminants.  You can try to limit your exposure, you can use protective gear where required.  But when the Okanagan is burning, you’re going to breathe in some smoke.

You can reduce your exposure to the risks of buckets 1-4 but you cannot avoid them completely.  A lot of it comes down to luck.  Happily, you are statistically far less likely to encounter death by these causes.  What will most likely kill you is:

Bucket #5: Chronic Disease
Chronic disease kills 70-80% of the population in the developed world.  This is disease brought on by excessive sedentarism and poor eating habits.  In other words, lifestyle diseases.  In other words, TOTALLY preventable!  That’s right, for all the energy you spend worrying about and trying to prevent death by buckets one through four, you are neglecting to address the thing most likely to kill you.

The shock value of a pandemic, earthquake or traumatic accident present a far more compelling drama than the decades-long drift toward morbidity signified by nothing more sensational than a creeping waistline, slowly climbing blood pressure, increased stiffness in the joints and a gradual decline into sedentarism.  There is no highlight reel for death by chronic illness.  The fifth bucket is a patient killer stealthily stalking you across the decades barely noticed until you are in death’s grasp.

CrossFit offers up an elegant solution to the problem of chronic disease, elegant in its simplicity and efficacy.

Eat well: meat and veggies, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar.  It’s not complex though people try to make it so.

Exercise: practice and train the deadlift, clean, squat, presses, c&j and snatch, similarly practice the basics of gymnastics: pull ups, dips, rope climbs, push ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits & holds, bike, run, swim, row, etc.  Hard and fast five or six days per week, mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow.  Routine is the enemy.  Keep workouts short and intense.  Regularly learn and play new sports.

Exercise and nutrition can prevent death by chronic disease.  That’s treatment for 70-80% of the burden on our medical system!  And guess what?  As an added bonus, while exercise and nutrition cannot prevent bad luck in the form of buckets one through four, it dramatically increases your ability to survive and recover from kinetic, microbic and toxic trauma AND improves your genetic expression!  Talk about miracle cures.

That’s it:  Eat well.  Exercise.  No gym required.  No trainer.  No fancy equipment.  Keep workouts short – you don’t even need much time.  There really is no excuse.  But you have excuses anyhow don’t you?  And that’s why preventable bucket five kills so many people.  You always intended to do something about it but it just didn’t seem that urgent until the moment it was too late.

It is your story.  You get to choose.  There are no actions without consequences.  You may not be able to avoid death by buckets one through four but you can opt out of the slow, miserable decline of death by bucket five.  Every day you are making a choice.  By what you eat and what you do.