Some of you may recall that my dad had a very surprising quadruple bypass aortic valve replacement procedure last Thanksgiving. In my post at the time, I talked about how a lifetime of physical activity hadn’t helped him to avoid the heart attack or the need for the procedure, but it had dramatically impacted his speed of recovery.
And while the rapid improvement of his VO2 Max was indeed impressive, it is the photos my sister sent me that serve as the reminder of why consistent physical activity is so important. It wasn’t dad’s blood chemistry, ability to ride an exercise bike or even his ability to walk up stairs that justifies the efforts of the last 50 years. It was his ability to continue to live the life he wants to live.
After my folks retired, travel became a big part of their lives. They have been to all of the continents, hiking and sea kayaking along the way. The question of what dad’s heart attack, at 78 years old, meant to their lifestyle was quickly answered when they planned and completed their trip to the Mediterranean in May (a mere six months after the heart attack).
And far more important than any trip are the grandkids. For all of the clichés and jokes, being able to play with my sister’s and my children brings absolute joy to my parents. Whether it’s mom playing catch with my daughter in the backyard or dad zip-lining with my nephew, they want to be able to do it all. As a side benefit, I’m fairly certain that all of the exercise mom is doing helps her to manage the stress caused by dad’s teenage behavior (see the background of the photo below).
If being active now keeps me zip-lining at 78, count me in…