by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
Health issues and obesity don’t happen overnight. Don’t wait for extremes. An ounce of healthy living is worth a pound of cure …
Assumptions are often made about gym-goers: They’ve always been athletic; they are totally buff underneath that sports jersey; they grew up on the playing field; their bad cholesterol number is a supermodel’s waist size. They are a supermodel’s waist size!
In actuality, many Center members are just discovering their fittest self. Whether a 25-year-old bookworm who always hated gym class or a 60-year-old who considers gardening a workout, they find their inner athlete at different life stages for a variety of reasons.
A New Perspective
Member Gerri Grassi laments it took a “near-death experience” for her to get motivated. Always putting herself last, Gerri strived to never let down others. This included the staff of 80 she manages at her office as well as her large family. Her stressful life led her to prioritize her health – only after she had triple bypass heart surgery as a result of it.
Prior to her surgery, Gerri did not realize the importance of fitness. She was never athletic. She did not have health issues to warn of pending heart trouble. Her cholesterol and blood pressure were good; she was not diabetic and did not have other serious illnesses. Her cardiologist determined Gerri’s heart event was induced by chronic stress. He recommended meditation classes to help her learn to relax and stop internalizing life’s stressors.
After completing Phase 1 and 2 of cardiac rehabilitation, Gerri needed direction. She required a guided path to ensure her health. She joined the Center’s Cardiac Wellness Program to continue her recovery. “I’m lucky to have found the Cardiac Wellness Program. The transition to this stage of cardiac care was excellent,” Gerri informs.
She took comfort in the ongoing monitoring offered in the Program, which indicated her heart was improving as she regained the strength lost during surgery and recovery. Gerri learned ways to improve her fitness level, breathing, and stamina. At the Program’s completion, Trainer Tara shared how weak Gerri initially was. Only then did Gerri realize how much she accomplished.
“I am healthier than before the triple bypass surgery,” she reports. Tara helped Gerri realize the importance of consistent exercise and proper nutrition to enjoy a long life. Gerri regrets it took a major health event to learn this. Her experience warns of the need to be proactive with your health. She emphasizes the need to prioritize one’s health and learn the art of “letting go.”
“Tara taught me that even on the worst days, the best thing you can do is exercise,” shares Gerri. When life is stressful and your days are overbooked, exercise is still there and able to counteract the negative impact.
It’s been two years since Gerri’s surgery. She visits the Center after work to tackle the Fitness Floor at her own pace. She still uses the regimen customized for her by Tara while in the Cardiac Wellness Program. “I never want to return to the lifestyle that caused my heart surgery,” she attests. “I have a baby grandson now. There is no way I want to miss a moment of his life.”
Whether through Gerri’s story or your own, realize now is the time for a healthier you. It is much easier to stay in shape than to lose excess pounds. It takes less effort to form healthy habits when you are not recovering from their absence. Save yourself a lot of effort, stress, and potential illness. Be proactive in your health.