Sunday, February 02, 2014

Me? A Fitness Freak?


My name is Andy and I like to exercise.

Yes, it's true. Six months ago, you would have never heard me say that sentence. NEVER. I have never liked to exercise. When I was little, I loved to swim, but it was mostly about playing in the water and socializing at the pool. Not about fitness.

In PE class at school, I used every excuse to get out of that day's physical activity. Usually the only C on my report card was in PE. Yes, I got Cs in PE. (the only D I ever got was in shop class, but that is a whole 'nother story!)

Since my open-heart surgery, I went through six weeks of Cardiac Rehab at HaysMed. It's part of the whole experience after surgery at the DeBakey Heart Institute of Kansas and it has changed how I look at life.

Before my surgery, exercise was something that I thought only fitness freaks did. I didn't truly comprehend and realize the health benefits associated with a true exercise plan (especially for those of us over 40).

It makes me feel better, both physically and emotionally. Those endorphins are just going crazy in my brain after an hour of working out. I feel like I could conquer the world after a good workout - and my workouts aren't anything too much off the charts. I do some simple cardio (treadmill, bike and some demon-machine that is like an elliptical, but not quite as demon-like) and then about 15-20 minutes of weight lifting.

Pretty good for a overweight, out-of-shape, 44-year-old who had heart surgery about 2 1/2 months ago. Initially, I lost weight, but now I've gained weight, but my belly is shrinking. Yes, I'm gaining muscle (and muscle weighs more than fat). I'm wearing clothes I haven't worn in years and I'm liking it!

I know it is a slow process, but I hope this new habit is one that sticks for the rest of my life. It makes me feel too damned good to quit now!

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