Climbing to the Top

A while ago my friend Erum Arshad did the climb to the top of the CN tower, and although I’ve never done it myself, I was intrigued to find out what inspired her to take on this challenge.  I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions and was quite inspired by her response.

1. When did you decide to do the climb and why?

I decided to climb the CN tower when I heard about the climb from my co-workers who also climbed back in April for the World Wide Federation. They told me that climbing the CN tower is challenging, however it’s a lot of fun!  Most importantly, I decided to climb the CN tower (United Way) because I wanted to also help individuals who face serious issues within our society. These individuals include youths, seniors, immigrants, and people who live in poverty. I wanted to find a way to support these individuals. My way to support them was to raise money and then also climb the CN tower to raise awareness. Second reason to climb was that I wanted to challenge myself! Climbing the CN tower would be a good opportunity and I feel that it mentally motivated me to be more active and it also made me stronger.

2. Did you do any preparation for it, and if so, how did it make you feel during that process?

I did prepare myself for the climb. I started training for it two weeks before the climb. I ran on the treadmill on a daily basis. I also climbed hills close to where I live in Mississauga. During the thanksgiving weekend, my family decided to go to Kelso. When we went to Kelso I prepared myself for the climb then too and I climbed the big hill and went hiking for almost 2 hrs. During the process I would think to myself how would I get through the climb of 150 floors!!

3. How did you feel minutes before starting?

Before the climb I was really pumped up and wanted to start the climb right away. I was also a bit nervous because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it through the whole climb (150 floors)!!

4. What kind of thoughts were going through your head while you were climbing?

During the climb, I had many thoughts in my head. One of thoughts that went through my head was that “I won’t be able to make it all the way to the 150 floors”. Only because I was panting by the time I was on the 9th floor. However, I kept on pushing myself by thinking “I can do this”. Also, during the climb as I was panting, the thought I had was that “Let me kick this off, I’m almost there”. Especially after I completed 50 floors of the Tower. That motivated me to finish the rest of the climb!

5. How did you feel when you got to the top? What thoughts were you thinking then?

When I got to the top, physically I felt dizzy and light headed. Also, mentally I felt very happy/enthusiastic and felt really proud of myself for accomplishing my goal of climbing the tower all the way up!! On the other hand, I was also shocked and I couldn’t believe that I climbed 150 floors!

6. After this experience, what’s your personal philosophy on physical health and fitness?

My personal philosophy on physical health and fitness is that having a balance in our lives is important for our overall wellbeing. Eating a balanced diet from all the food groups is not only beneficial for our immune system but it also helps us attain all the nutrients/vitamins our body/mind requires in order to perform well. For example, I feel that eating healthy and exercising or being involved in a daily physical activity gives me lots of energy. Most importantly, being fit can also make you feel good about yourself and it boosts up your self-esteem/confidence. Other benefits of eating a healthy balanced diet/being active can prevent one from cardiovascular diseases and other serious diseases. This is why eating healthy/being active is the key to a positive lifestyle.
What I learned from Erum was that when it comes to weight loss, healthy living, or any other personal goals,  it really comes down to “little steps“. When we break down our goals into smaller steps and smaller goals, it becomes a lot more easier to take on.  Many people who decide to improve their health often get overwhelmed with the huge lifestyle changes that they need to make.  And let’s be honest, giving up things like our favourite foods, making time to exercise, and even quitting bad habits like smoking is not something that can be done cold turkey by most of us.  But if we plan out our meals and still include our favourite foods in smaller amounts, exercise 10 minutes a day one week and then 20 minutes the next week, these changes become less overwhelming.

We can all face our personal challenges and climb our towers of life.  It just takes the right attitude, planning, and a bit of inspiration from our friends.  For her dedication and hard work, the doctor gives Erum two towering thumbs up.

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