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Use it or lose it? I say use it!

Exercise is extremely important to prolong health.  The women in this photo exercise 5 or more times a week.
I wrote about our trip to New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado recently and one startling fact stood out to both my bride and I.  There is an obesity epidemic here in Baytown.  Wait a second, don’t stop reading; not yet anyway.  I’ll try not to be offensive.

Granted we only met 5 Texans on our 1 week long trip, as maybe 50% of the people I talked to were from other countries and almost to the person, they were thinner than what is the norm here.  The other 49% were Yankee snow birds and for the most part, thinner also.  But of those 5, 3 were over weight.

I guess Tex-Mex food is the culprit, or maybe it is our high summer humidity.  The winters are wet and cold also.  We have a high spring and fall pollen count!  Yes, that’s why we all stay inside and eat… a lot.  It’s simply not our fault that we can’t get in shape.

I've been threatening (myself) to run a 5k, so I did. However, my mile times were dismal. I jogged the whole time and ended up the 3.1 mile course with 11.24 per mile. I probably could have picked it up, but I needed a baseline. BTW, the Blue Heron Park pond loop is .68 miles around. 1K is .62, so each lap is a good 1K. 9 times around is 6.1 miles or just short of a 10K.

Back in my prime, I ran a sub 6 minute mile on a regular basis and often went under 9 minutes for the mile and a half.  So 11.24 for a mile seems very slow to me.  As an adult, I ran many 10K fun runs and that’s what they were, as I wasn’t competing.  I was always happy to finish the 6.2 miles in under 48 minutes.  I’ve always contended that if you jog a mile in under 8 minutes, you are no longer jogging, but running.  Maybe some coach or trainer can correct me?

I tried to find out who coined the term “use it or lose it” with no luck, but the definition is this:  If a person doesn't exercise his or her physical body, he or she will likely lose strength, stamina and endurance.  Note: Thank the Lord, Hanoi Jane didn’t coin it.

Now this is the test part.  If you can’t get off the couch at 40, you will be pushing a walker by the time you are in your 50’s.  My Vietnam Veteran buddy Ren Fitts has quite a few war-related injuries and although not an old man, he was headed for total knee replacements.  What jerked him sideways was when the doctor told him he had better get used to the idea of using a walker, because the next step is a wheel chair.  This scared him and the man doesn’t scare easily.

Guess what?  Ren joined the gym and began using the swimming pool and treadmill.  The pounds are coming off and so is the pressure on his knees.  His wife is discovering amazing results also.  Ren is a big guy and needs to get more weight off, but he is doing something about that due to his new vision of what he needs to do.  The doctor now tells him he doesn’t need full knee replacements and his surgery will be in and out with a great recovery time.

The Spin class set up to face each other for
competition doing sprints.
At 62, I still have some 10,000 meter fun runs in my future.  My 5000 meter run was just the beginning, but only I can make myself do it.  I have to use it or lose it.  At one time, like karate, running was my life.  Like Mr. Gump, if I was going somewhere, I ran.

I talked to a lady on the pond track the other day and told her about a software App called “Map my run”.  It’s free and once installed on your phone, it will track your time, distance and it even has the route mapped out.  She hopes to run again some day and I told her when she can walk a mile in under 15 minutes, she should consider jogging.

She worried about her knees and was indeed over-weight, but I told her when she can get under 15 minutes, that weight won’t be there.  Every pound you can remove brings relief to those knees.  Use it or lose it folks.  If things have progressed to the point that walking and running are too hard on your joints, go do the pool exercise.  When the strength comes back and the pounds fall off, you will be surprised what you can do again.



Anonymous said…
Steve Liles: That was great Bert. Dad uses his senior thing at 24 hour and walks the pool. Not to loose weight but to buy time walking again. It sure has helped. It's free for him, not sure why, veteran or age.
Anonymous said…
Debi H: You are so inspiring to me Bert!..Debi
Anonymous said…
Steve Liles: Before I leave to work. I stand in McD's on Alexander 3 days a week for a healthy sausage biscuit and hash brown, At 7am at least 30 mothers and children 3 times the weight of normal stand before me. They may wonder why? Bad parenting from the get go.
Anonymous said…
Anna Enderli: So true. Will use this for even more motivation!
Anonymous said…
Ed Wisenbaler: Outstanding article.
Anonymous said…
Melvin Roark: Glad you left my name out of the article, but I'm going to get started now, so begin thinking of your next article about my transformation and weight loss.... very true article about this country as a whole..
Anonymous said…
Dandy Don Cunningham‎:
Excellent article in The Baytown Sun this morning, Bert. This was very inspiring and also very true. Thank you for giving a lot of people hope.
Ren said…
Bert, my blood pressure down and even with use of my braces I am feeling better ever day... You also inspired me to get back into GYM with your comments on FB... I wish I could run again, but my doctors will not let me do that, just flat no incline slow walk on treadmill , light weights and AQUA exercises....
Anonymous said…
David Sartor: Thanks Bert...I enjoy reading your column in The Baytown Sun.

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