When I was younger, in high school, I played football and ran track very successfully. I was proud of my health and my body, in fact, I vowed I would NEVER let myself go and would always be in good shape.
Let the truth be told, I have never been as active as I once was. I worked long hours, drank too much, smoked a pack a day, and didn’t exercise much. I gradually gained weight, and over time never thought much about it and chalked it up to getting older.
My doctor advised me countless times to quit smoking, drink less alcohol, eat right and get some exercise. I am finally a non-smoker and non-drinker, but I never listened to his advice about the exercise. There was no time to exercise.
Until my son, Joe started playing football and I was asked to help coach his Pop Warner football team, that is. I was unsure if I could meet the challenge but Joe convinced me I should become “coach dad.” It turned out to be one of the critical turning points in my life!
I had to squat so low my butt almost touched the ground!
On the first day, I coached offensive line and was taking snaps from our neophyte 8 year old center. He was so short that I had to squat so low my butt almost touched the ground! I felt like a quarterback though – I was hooked! The next day I could hardly move! But it felt good!
That was the day I decided to get fit, and stay active and healthy for the rest of my life! I began by rescheduling my day so I had time for a daily walk early in the morning before work. I knew if I waited until the end of the day I would be doomed to fail because something always comes up. I now walk/run every day.
Since then, I have recorded daily walks of 837 miles, 440 workouts, burned 122,393 calories, lost 20 pounds, and have walked at least 60 miles a month for the last 6 months!
Now my daily walks have tuned to intervals of 2 minutes of walking and 2 minutes of running for 30 minutes. My next goal is 30 minutes of continuous running, and enter and a 5K run in the next year, in less than 30 minutes.
Here are seven steps to get fit and stay active for life!
- Make a commitment stay active, fit and healthy for life
- Reschedule your day to allow time for daily workouts
- Give yourself a good reason to stay with the program (to set an example for the kids)
- Record each workout to hold yourself accountable
- Try to maintain “streaks” to challenge yourself (60 miles / month for 6 months in a row)
- Reward yourself!
- Set reachable goals (5k in less than 30 min) to make it rewarding
My next step is to identify a local 5k race, enter it and start training for it. I have already entered two 5k runs with my sons, but they were fun walks. I was not pushing myself for time, I was just enjoying dragging my 8 year old, Elijah, for an hour! At any rate, I believe anyone can do what I did with a little desire, a good reason to keep going and by putting a plan into action! I have to admit…
Every now and then it is a good idea to reward yourself for a job well done. When I reached the 500 mile mark I decided to do something special. I returned to my high school, Grosse Ile High School, to run my 500th mile on the track where I started my running career. It was a special moment and I made a video to share with my kids and family to remind them (and me) of my “Why!”
Ran 500th Mile on High School Track!
I was pretty proud of myself until I got the phone call about my brother
Richard was on the phone – the news was bad – our oldest brother, David had a massive stroke! It was just one week after his 60th birthday. He is the second of my brothers to have a stroke. Mark had his 9 years ago, fortunately, his was much milder, but he did end up having two valve replacement surgeries and cannot work any longer.
Both brothers were hard-working, productive, family men with a passion for life, family and work, but they both had developed sedentary habits over a lifetime, just like me. There lives have been changed forever!
When I got to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, David did not look good and we didn’t expect him to survive. He was admitted into the hospital’s hospice program…we anticipated the worst. Thankfully, he began to improve and was transferred to Rehab Institute of Michigan and then to a senior assisted living facility, David is a fighter and wanted to live!
David is still improving, but may never live alone again, his left side is partially paralyzed, and his speech is severely impaired and is incontinent. Understandably, he is very frustrated. Determined to not suffer the same affliction as my brothers, I immediately scheduled a complete checkup with my family doctor. That’s when my doctor told me…
Stay Tuned for Part 2
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