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It’s not about 6-pack or 2-pack for that matter

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POSTED September 29, 2010 2:14 a.m.
I was feeling lousy, running a slight fever and was congested when I woke up Tuesday.

There was only one thing to do - go for a jog.

Twenty-five years ago that would not have been the case. Exercise was a foreign concept. And when I was sick I’d still trudge along but I’d be miserable.

Still, as I jogged in the 95-degree weather in the 2 o’clock hour I was starting to doubt my sanity. It wasn’t pleasant but I knew once I finished I’d be better off than when I started. True I was still dragging but the endorphins kicked in nicely to reduce my misery.

It really is strange that as life unfolds you find yourself getting to places you never in your wildest moments thought you’d reach.

As a kid, I’d turn the channel while watching Saturday morning cartoons past “Mighty Mister Titan” that had the infamous line “keep tip top with Titan” not because it was considered the worst animated cartoon of the day along with “Clutch Cargo” and “Paddy the Pelican” but because its very premise was not for me.

Who needed exercise?  My idea of Saturday morning was watching cartoons, eating some cereal with sugar and even ingesting three of four spoonfuls of sugar directly. It’s a miracle that I’ve only had one cavity so far. There was no surprise that I weighed as much as I do now - 168 pounds - in the fifth grade while being a full seven inches shorter.

It didn’t help things that I was about as uncoordinated as they come. Things improved somewhat after I got glasses at age 5 as I stopped running into things.

I used training wheels on my bicycle for two years. At one point when I was 6 and fell over while riding my bike with training wheels in the alley, a neighbor - Roy Gardner - laughed so hard that I got upset. When I ran and told my mom she tried to comfort me with words. I ran right back and told Mr. Gardner that, “my Mom said I fell off the bike only because I’m lopsided’ which of course made him laugh even harder.

Even today, I have a hard time taking both hands off the handlebars while cycling and still maintain my balance.

So what caused the great transformation of going from abhorring exercise to embracing it?

It’s really quite simple. It was realizing that you can indeed change your health one step at a time. In doing so, euphoria kicks in that convinces you the only person limiting yourself is you. I’m not ever going to compete in the Tour de France, I’m not going to have a six-pack - or a two-pack for that matter - nor am I going to run a marathon.

I understand my limitations that run the gamut from type of muscle twitch, bunions, and simply not winning the DNA sweepstakes to be an athlete. But that doesn’t have to stop me from being healthy.

I’ll never be Jack LaLanne but it doesn’t matter. This may sound a bit wimpy or even self-centered but at age 54 I have better arm definition than I’ve had in my entire life.

Even though I will always view myself as fat having tipped the scales one time at 320 pounds, it is more than just keeping off the pounds. It is about blood pressure, resting heart rate and the stuff that counts.

One doesn’t have to go nuts with exercise to make a difference.

There is a lady who walks around Manteca an hour or so every day who shared an incredible story a few years back. She basically lost 60 pounds by doing nothing more than deciding she was going to do something for herself which was walk an hour each day. In fairness she walks fairly fast but the point is you don’t have to go overboard like some contend I do spending 40 to 85 minutes a day doing aerobics, cycling, jogging, light weights or group exercise classes.

Over the years there have been a number of folks in group exercise classes at In Shape who have made amazing turn arounds.

And if you think fitness belongs to the young, guess again.

A couple months ago two high school seniors hit one of the group exercise classes. Before it started they were chatting about how easy they thought it might be compared to their high school PE classes. Thirty minutes into the class, they had departed while women twice and three times their age were still going strong.

Age has nothing to do with your fitness and health. Your body is clay. It is nothing but a lump in its most basic form. It is what you do with it that shapes it. It doesn’t matter whether you start when you’re 17, 30, 50 or even older.

The key is to do something and to do it for yourself.
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