inspiration to exercise, John hasn't had to look far. His father rides his bike
daily to prevent another heart attack. John's grandparents and others in his
family also had heart disease.
John's doctor told him that his
steady weight gain over the years was putting him in danger of heart problems
as well. "He said, 'You want to live a long and happy life, right?'"
John recalls. "'You've seen what your dad went through?'"
John, a commercial pilot, got that advice as he watched his dad
recover from heart surgery in the 1990s. He started riding his bike too. "I
followed my father's good example," he says.
He just didn't follow
"Over the years, my weight was starting to creep up.
I was fooling myself—I was in total denial about how much weight I was
carrying," he says.
About 3 years ago, John, now 54, says he
realized he had to do more. He was stressed at work. He didn't get enough sleep
because his flight schedules changed constantly. He talked with another doctor
who told him that regular exercise would help with stress, sleep, and weight gain.
"You hear the mantra of losing weight, eating better, getting
regular exercise, and it finally sank in," John says.
He joined a
bike club. Having others to ride with motivated him physically and socially.
"I've made a lot of friends who have the same priorities," he says. No matter
what the activity, doing it with a group makes it easier and much more fun, he
He also joined a weight-loss group, which helped him
slim down. By watching how he eats and getting daily exercise, he's lost 25
pounds. "I have another 10 to 15 to go. Even my wife says I look good now," he
He's so keen on the benefits of fitness, he encourages his
coworkers and friends."My mantra is 'Find a way to exercise.' It has made all
the difference in my life."
John's story reflects his experiences as told in an interview. The photograph is not of John, to protect his privacy.
For more information, see the topic Fitness: Getting and Staying Active.