We all know what to do when life gives us lemons: We make lemonade! Now, what to do with that tasty sugar-free beverage?

Karl Subban has a suggestion: Chug it back after climbing to the summit of the Centennial Park Ski & Snowboard Centre. Years before his three sons were drafted to the NHL, the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation Champion would join his wife, Maria, in leading family sprints up the slopes of the ski hill in Toronto’s west end.

Karl was also the family chauffeur. With Maria commuting downtown for work, he was in charge of shuttling all five of his kids to and from their respective rinks, gyms and lessons. All of which came after a long day spent working as a school principal.

Like many dads across Canada, Karl was so focused on helping others succeed that he sometimes overlooked his own wellbeing. “We were racing to practices, racing to games, racing to cities, racing to work, life was just one big long race. Guess what happens to race cars? They blow a tire,” Karl says. “Things get overlooked when there’s so much pressure on your time, and it’s often how we take care of ourselves. Because you don’t always see the impact of it right away. You don’t wake up the next day and you’re 20 pounds heavier. It slowly creeps up on you and then you realize you have a problem.”

Two decades after his days as a college basketball star, Karl had gained 80 pounds and was battling type 2 diabetes.

The diabetes diagnosis took a heavy toll on Karl’s psyche, but he prevented depression from taking hold by building regular exercise into his daily schedule. As it does for everyone, this has helped Karl lose weight — he has since dropped at least 40 pounds — while boosting his self-esteem and reducing stress levels. Other health benefits of exercise include stronger bones, improved blood-pressure control, lower rates of heart disease and cancer, and increased energy levels. Regular exercise also has special advantages for people type 2 diabetes, as it improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin and helps manage blood-sugar levels. If you don’t have type 2 diabetes, regular exercise can help delay it or even stop it from developing.

Check out this Don’t Change Much blog post for tips on how to work some easy exercise into your day.

Thanks to regular exercise, Karl says he feels “so much better. I’m feeling great about myself, and as you get older that’s part of being healthy.”

Let’s raise a glass of lemonade to that!

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