I still remember my first words to Ava. The anniversary of that day was last Monday. It happened on the stairway of a building in Baltimore.
I was working at a radio station on North Charles Street. Ava was a neighbor of the station’s receptionist. A few months earlier, Joann, told me about a young woman I should meet. She described her in a way that was intriguing.
Not much happened for a few months, other than Joann continuing to mention that Ava and I should meet. She showed me a picture of her which made me even more interested. Finally, Joann invited Ava to the radio station. Turns out Ava had been dating another guy. A little fact Joann never mentioned. They finally broke up. Game on.
We met on January 7. Ava was coming up the stairs towards the station as I was going down to buy a donut at the bakery next door. I said, “Hi”. My inside words, though, were much different.
A week later Joann had Ava and me over for dinner. A week after that we went on our first date. 14 months later we were married. 35 years later we have six children and five grandchildren.
Last week was also Week 19 of my 20k One Year Step Challenge. (You can check out each day of the Challenge HERE) The goal is at least 20,000 steps every day for an entire year with no breaks. So far…so good. There have been a handful of days when the goal wasn’t easy, but mostly it’s simply part of the fabric of my life.
Ten years ago I got serious about fitness. It didn’t look then like it does today, but I began a journey that hasn’t stopped. The benefits have been tremendous. Before I started, my health was on the precipice of going down a very big hill. I was gaining weight. My cholesterol was high, and I could feel my blood sugar wasn’t right. Since there is a history of diabetes in my family, I suspect I was beginning to enter a not good season with that.
But, pursuing fitness turned all of that around. And, that’s not shocking. The Mayo Clinic lists these five benefits of regular physical activity:
- Controls Weight
- Combats Health Conditions and Diseases (like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, many cancers, arthritis, anxiety, and depression. Also improves cognitive function)
- Improves Mood
- Boosts Energy
- Promotes Better Sleep
Ten years later I can check all these boxes. Regular activity also helps you live longer. The final verdict hasn’t yet been rendered for me on that one, but at least one life insurance company recently was willing to bet on it. After the mandatory physical the insurance sales rep tried to up-sell me from a ten year policy to one much longer. It would have put me well into my 80’s before it expired. He said, “Whatever you’re doing…keep doing it.”
So…yeah…physical activity has improved my life.
But, here’s the thing. I don’t live in a vacuum. Those benefits aren’t mine alone. They also impact other people.…my children, grandchildren, friends, and the people I work with. But most of all they impact Ava. These benefits are just as much hers as they are mine.
Rewind the clock ten years and imagine I did not get serious about fitness. What would my health look like today? Where would it be ten years from now? How would that impact Ava? I suspect the answers would not be good. In fact, they would probably be pretty bad.
Last Monday, Ava and I celebrated the anniversary of that special moment on a stairway 36 years ago. I consider it the best day of my life. I also walked 21,997 steps on Monday. I not only did it for me. I also did it for the people I love…the people who are in my life because of what happened on January 7, 1983.
If you are struggling with making physical activity a regular part of your life, it’s not too late to turn that around. If you click FOLLOW (below if you’re reading on your phone…to the right and above if you’re on your computer) you’ll get two articles every week that will help you Win at Fitness.
Give the people you love the best version of you possible.