As I wrote in my last blog post, I got inspired by a former co-worker of mine who commuted to work on his bicycle. I ended up buying a bike and did the same.
My main goal was to improve my health by lowering my high blood pressure and losing some weight. After a few months of riding my bike to work (22 miles round trip, three days a week), cutting down on sugar and those bad carbohydrates, I managed to accomplish both my goal of losing weight (now over 30 pounds) and lowering my blood pressure to a normal level.
The big unexpected surprise was that I inspired several people at work of taking up some sort of exercise in their own lives. I know of at least two people that ended up actually purchasing bicycles. One of them continues to ride to work on a regular basis because of being inspired by me! Imagine that! Me inspiring others to ride a bike or exercise was not part of my plan, but what a wonderful, surprising outcome.
Over a half a dozen people ask me several times a week, “Did you ride today?” After a month or so I would feel that I would let my co-workers down if I didn’t ride in. The interesting point here is several of these people asking me if I rode my bike to work were people I had never spoken to before. Some of my new co-worker friends asked me questions like, “ How many miles do you ride? How many days a week? How much weight have you lost? Why are you doing this?” After many discussions, I got to know them very well. Soon enough, some of them felt comfortable in revealing to me their own health concerns and challenges. A few confessed to me that they felt they needed to take better care of themselves and have been thinking on what they could do to improve their own health and lifestyle.
I could not have been more effective if I stood at the entrance of the building I work in and preached to everyone on how they should take better of themselves by riding their bike to work. I simply rode my bike and did my own thing. Somehow I became an unexpected inspirational role model for so many of my co-workers. Here I am producing videos on people with oomph! and unknowingly became an oomph! role model myself.
I keep thinking back on my former co-worker who rode his bike to work and then inspired me. I myself have inspired two others to ride their bikes. Will these two new riders inspire four more riders? Perhaps inspiration is in fact contagious.
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I pulled into the parking structure of Toluca Lake Health Center, I remembered thinking it must have been almost two years since my last physical. I felt that I was in decent shape, but on the other hand, I did weigh more than I ever had in my life, nearly 195 pounds. But, I took great comfort in knowing that I have always been in good health, fairly active and blessed with good genes.
The nurse took me in and I sat down to get my blood pressure taken. Immediately the nurse’s eyes widened. I received the results of 141/91! At that moment, I did not know exactly what those numbers meant, but I knew it was not good. That surprised and concerned look in the nurses eyes told me enough.
I quickly found myself speaking with my doctor as he reviewed and studied the report carefully. He told me “If you come back next year with numbers like this, I will need to put you on medication.” I thought “What me..on medication?” He said ” You lose 5 or 10 pounds, that would do a lot.” I thought…that’s what I’m going to do……but how?
My thoughts went to a colleague of mine that rode his bike to work everyday. That left an impression on me. I also thought of the 94-year old runner that inspired me and countless other people in a small community in Northern California.
I swiftly made the decision to ride my bike to work three days a week with an impressive 22 mile round trip. Over several months, I ended up losing over 25 pounds, my blood pressure is now 129/82. The same nurse recently told me that the new numbers are about where my blood pressure should be and that I made a remarkable improvement. She asked me how I did it. “Biking to work,” I proudly replied.
What was it that got me on that bike three days a week? Quite simply it was the inspiration of my old colleague from the previous year and that 94-year old runner. They showed me the way to take a pro-active role on my own health. Yes, inspirational role models matter in our lives and my test results are proof of that.
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