Readers in Motion
We asked for your exercise tales in the July 2012 issue ("What Moves You?"), and in response you gave your fingers a workout at the keyboard. Here are three of your stories:
This is what moves me: a quadruple heart bypass in 2001 plus, at the same time, a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. I took both of these as a wake-up call. At age 58 I was not going to go quietly.
My father had passed away at 59 from a heart attack, so I knew these were serious diagnoses. I began a regimen of metformin along with heart and cholesterol medications. I had been somewhat active on a regular basis: biking, running on a treadmill, and swimming. The doctors told me that this activity kept me from having a major heart attack but that without heart surgery and control of diabetes, I would be history.
Three years ago, my daughter-in-law, a triathlete, asked me if I'd be interested in running with her. I accepted the challenge and took a running class for beginners. After six weeks, I was able to complete a 5K race in 30 minutes—an exceptional result (for me).
Today, I'm a long-distance runner, having completed numerous 5K and 10K races and three half marathons. My cholesterol is under control, my A1C is 6.5, and my metformin and insulin are reduced. I feel good.
I've come a long way from 2001, thanks to my daughter-in-law and my coaches. I am totally committed now to running five to six days a week year-round, rain or shine. As I write this, I am training for my first marathon. The race in Detroit and Windsor, Canada, includes a mile run underwater in the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. Then I'll be running a 10K in Roseville, Mich. What a trip for a guy at age 68 3/4!
I love it. And so can you. It is never too late to start thinking healthy.
—Dick Wiseman, Warren, Mich.
I'm almost 52. When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes several years ago, I thought my life was coming to an end. Just the opposite happened: I changed my eating habits and learned how to cook and bake for myself.
The exercise part of type 2 was never a problem for me. I had run track for many years and won a scholarship. This training was instrumental in how I approached my diabetes care.
Then the unthinkable happened. In 2010, just a month after I had been snowboarding at Squaw Valley, Calif., I came down with Guillain-Barré syndrome. It's an autoimmune disorder that attacks the nervous system and causes muscle weakness. I was in a wheelchair for over three months, munching on painkillers. My weight, A1C, and cholesterol had been in check—all that went out the window.
But I told myself I would walk, run, snowboard, and shoot hoops again. Two years later, my legs don't quite have their strength back, but I thank the good Lord every day that I can shoot hoops or play tennis. And in 2013, I'm planning a snowboarding trip that will take me back to Squaw Valley.
—Jack Timmerman, Seattle
I've had type 1 diabetes for more than 25 years. I am certainly not an Ironman, but I do swim 250-plus miles each year. I am in the pool five to six days a week—usually at 6 a.m.
I belong to the Masters swimming group. Among other advantages, this allows me to track my swimming yardage on the organization's website on a daily basis.
My A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol are all well controlled. I attribute this to exercise, my continuous glucose monitor, and a (usually) sensible diet.
—John Wetzel, Crofton, Md.