Recently I wrote an article concerning the importance of parents as wellness role models for their children. However, as we transition into adulthood the importance of positive role models seems to decrease if not be forgotten, but I believe we all need these types of people to look to as we journey through life. Funny thing is, sometimes they donâ€™t even know they are providing motivation or support to on looking bystanders.
My wife and I moved to our neighborhood in 1978 where Janice Hill and Sherry Robinson had been residents for many years. About 20 years ago when I went outside to pick up my newspaper I noticed they would already be walking. Since then I have observed them many a morning; spring, summer, winter and fall, at 6AM everyday they would be walking. When I started running I would often pass them along my route, surprised by how far they were away from home.
Since I was sure they were probably unaware of their status in my life I decided recently to sit down and talk to them and finally find out what had motivated them all these years to walk every morning.
Both Septuagenarians now, their only reason for skipping a day is ice on the sidewalks. They walk 4 miles a day and have five separate routes they have measured by car. Watching the sunrise, saying hello to all the dogs (they know all by name), finding money and talking to each other are the major highlights of the routine.
Janice told me she grew up on a farm and walked 2 miles to and from the country school she attended. She really cannot remember a time when she wasnâ€™t active. She participated in slim and swim programs at the Pulse and now goes to classes at the Old Town Athletic Club. She has found that having a friend to walk with is very important and knows she would not be consistent without Sherry to talk to while walking. Since Janice still works everyday she often finds the walk as a means to de-stress before starting the workday. She says it just doesnâ€™t feel right to start a day without the â€œwalk and talkâ€. She reports the major benefits for her are lower cholesterol, peace of mind, and a routine that sets the day.
Sherry, who also started walking in primary school, values the company and accountability that Janice provides and canâ€™t imagine the day being the same without the morning walk. She rides her bike on errands and attends classes at Miramont Lifestyle Fitness twice a week. Sixteen years ago Sherry encountered some heart problems and might not have become aware as soon as she did if she wasnâ€™t so active. It just might have saved her life. For her, the gift of health is most important but the discipline and emotional boost are added benefits.
Janice and Sherry both agree that the regular and consistent exercise has dramatically improved their quality of life both physically and mentally. Unknowingly, they have also inspired and improved the quality of life for their neighbor just by their example. This makes them smile.