Mom's mailbox journey motivates toward marathon milestone

For the last 6 months, I have tried to be encouraging, uplifting and educational in my efforts to stimulate you begin to adopt a healthier lifestyle through improved diet and exercise choices.

Now I intend to shame you into at least trying the exercise portion of our formula to realize a new and improved version of yourself. Last month we discussed my youngest son's disappointment in his level of deconditioning that occurred while away at college and his usual training program.

This month, in keeping with the family theme, I am going to bring in my 78 year old mother, Jean, to shame you into beginning that exercise program you have been thinking about since your New Years' Resolution.

First some background. My wonderful mother (age 78), while she may dispute this claim, has never exercised a day in her life until recently. Don't get me wrong, raising six very active, and sometimes rambunctious children (my brother was horrible, but that is another story) is a lot of work and at times exhausting. But raising children and household chores do not an exercise program make!

This aversion to exercise changed recently when she was faced with yet another health crisis and we basically told her that she would never rid herself of her limiting shortness of breath without daily physical exercise. Much to my surprise, she took our advice to heart (I realize I am a cardiologist, but I am still only her son, so my prior recommendations about exercise fell on deaf ears) and began a walking program.

Her first forays into the daunting arena of exercise began with walks (my kids would argue that it was more like "crawls") to her mailbox and back (approximately 300 feet, round trip). She was very "winded" on her return to her favorite chair in her home but, lo and behold, after several weeks of persistence, even though she initially refused to admit that she was getting better, her shortness of breath began to improve.

We began to talk about the Fort4Fitness Senior Marathon sponsored by Parkview Health and guess who decided she was ready for a challenge!

The Senior Marathon is a wonderful program. Appropriately-aged individuals log 25 miles (honor system) over the summer and walk the last 1.2 miles Friday evening, September 28, the day before the Fort4Fitness races the next morning. The final stretch takes place at Parkview Field (jumbo-tron and all), in front of all the race participants who are at the field to pick up their race packets. Even if you do not choose to participate in one of the Fort4Fitness events, I would encourage you to come to Parkview Field on Friday, September 28 to witness this truly amazing event. Talk about an inspiration!

Last night Mom walked an entire mile! Who would have thought that just a few short months ago we were not sure she could make it to her mailbox and back. She has even recruited my Aunt Mary to participate, and proudly wears her "training" shirt every place she goes. She told me she thought she could "beat" the participants she saw who were using walkers at the Senior Marathon opening event a couple of weeks ago. Love you Mom!

So come on guys, if my 78 year old mother can commit to becoming healthier, you have no excuses. If you need some motivation, I encurage you to visit the Fort4Fitness website and sign up for an event. Stay tuned for my mother's progress and for future exercise opportunities we will discuss with this blog.

If you're already sisgned up for Fort4Fitness, how are you training for the event and what is your motivation? 


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