Northwest Health Summer 2011

In My View

Even a Little Exercise Pays Big Health Dividends

President and CEO Scott Armstrong explains how a small amount of exercise pays big health dividends.

Go to: Northwest Health Index

Scott Armstrong and his wifeI've written before about how much I enjoy cycling and my experience riding in the Group Health Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic (STP). This might have given you the wrong idea about me. I was a high school athlete, but after that years went by when I wasn't very fit at all.

My wake-up call came a half dozen years ago. My metabolic rate was plummeting, my cholesterol was going up, my busy life was more stressful than ever, and my waistline was slowly expanding. I knew regular exercise was a way to make a positive difference in my health.

Of course, knowing what's good for you and doing it are two different things. I needed to find the type of exercise I liked enough to look forward to and stick with. It's fun for me to ride regularly with friends and at organized biking events like the STP.

Last year, I challenged my wife to ride the STP with me. She agreed, but only when I agreed to complete a triathlon with her, even though it meant I had to learn to swim. I'm still not a good swimmer, but I did finish the triathlon. In fact, after catching up with her on the biking section, we crossed the finish line together.

Triathlons are a great next step for me in my fitness journey. They've given me a new goal: competing this summer in one that requires a full mile swim in the open water.

I know that participating in a triathlon or a bike event isn't for everyone. But even a small amount of exercise can make a big difference to your health. That's a message Group Health doctors have been delivering for a long time. It's one of the reasons we sponsor dozens of fitness events each year. All of these events are described, along with special benefits only available to Group Health members, through our new Fitness Network.

Perhaps one of these events will encourage you in your fitness journey this summer. I hope to see you out there.

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