I met SG when I started at Cary, North Carolina’s CSH bike-shop in December 2017 and the two of us have a lot in common. Same age, same height, weight, build, skin and hair color, the list goes on and on. We look so much alike that even though SG worked at CSH for many years prior to my start date customers would sometimes confuse us for one another. This led to my quip that if the police arrived with an arrest warrant for either one of us we could both be in big trouble.
CSH became Trek of Cary in March 2018 when owner SL sold his store to Trek corporate. Soon thereafter SG decided he no longer needed his Saturdays only part-time job and moved on. I’d see SG occasionally in the intervening nearly two years and we texted a few times but our contact was few and far between, unlike my contact with SL, the former store owner. SL and I are Face Book friends and he stops by the old place roughly every two or three months as he did on January second when he asked if I’d heard about SG’s strokes.
“What?! No! And did you say ‘strokes’?” I asked, emphasizing the final word.
“Yep. Two,” SL replied. “I called him on the phone and he was slurring so I asked him if he was okay. That’s when he told me about his strokes.”
“Jesus,” I profaned, “is he alright?”
“Making progress and working on diet and exercise, but he has a long way to go.”
After SL left AB, my fellow team member, said, “Wow. SG had a stroke? I can’t believe that! He looked so healthy.”
AB is a decade younger and half a foot shorter than SG and I. AB also outweighs us by about ten percent. “You think?” asked I without malice. “I know his diet was no good and he’s pretty sedentary.”
AB and I got back to work but wheels were turning in my head concerning self-care, appearance, and the damage we do to self through both neglect and abuse, damage that accumulates and is intricately tied to our genetics as well as actions that we take or don’t that influence life-span and quality of life.
SG and I stand at 185 cm/73″ and weigh in around 200 lb./91kg This places us in the overweight but not obese category. I am an active 60 year-old and though I try to take of myself through diet and exercise I still don’t pack a lot of muscle on my 26.4 BMI, old man bod. Sadly, even though I’m at least 10% heavier than my maximum weight should be, many people consider me thin because of the growing girth of our over-sized U.S. population.
I know weight and body composition are weighty matters but I also know that a single metric paints a very fuzzy picture of health. One can be thin and in terrible shape just as one can be heavy and in great shape, but we all need to take action that increases our health and far too many of us don’t because we, “Don’t have time.”
We seem to have time to binge watch our favorite shows, to go through the drive through at fast food restaurants and consume mass quantities of high-calorie, high-sodium, nutritionally-spare garbage, but we can’t find 15 minutes every day to move vigorously. FIFTEEN MINUTES!
Self-care requires effort but the dividend is well worth the price of admission. Fifteen minutes daily is the low-bar, but along with healthful eating it is a vital first step in forming a better self. Please make a concerted effort to do specific things at specific intervals that will make a better you. Even the simple act of getting up from the couch and pacing back and forth in front of the TV for five minutes every hour as you binge watch can have a huge impact on our health, well being, and self-esteem.
I know it’s hard to start, especially if we’ve been inactive and/or depressed for a long time. I fight depression daily and one of my best defenses is going for daily bike rides. I have set a goal of 5,000 miles/8,000 Km for the year by riding at least 4 days per week for a total distance of 100 miles weekly, most of which I get by cycle commuting.
Set a goal, set some metrics, track it, and if you’re a social media person post your progress on line. You never know who you might inspire to get off the couch and get moving because when it comes to strokes we all want to be way under par.