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School reunion reminded him of importance of good health

May 16, 1997|By John Rhodes

I had an experience not too long ago, and while it was not strictly a health or fitness situation, it is closely related and worthy of sharing.

I went to my 46th high school class reunion! Man! Has it really been that long? After 46 years, a lot of changes have taken place. I used to have a heavy head of hair, now hardly any - this helped cause a reluctance on my part to attend the function. Also, there was a fear of not recognizing some of my former classmates. I really didn't want to end up with an embarrassing situation of trying to "fake" an appropriate response. However, with my wife as support on my arm, I mustered the courage to attend.

Things turned out very well. I only forgot a few names, but was forgiven by my classmates, who also forgot some. They didn't seem to mind that I'd lost my hair, but then I wasn't the only one a little sparse on top. It was nice to see that most of the people there were in pretty good health.

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Attending the 46th reunion reinforced a couple of things for me. First of all, you can't look back and stand on yesterday's accomplishments. The athletic glory days of yesterday are not relevant today. After all, the body that could leap and dunk a basketball or throw a sharp breaking curve ball is not the same after 46 years.

Another fact reinforced was that we have to live in the now. We can't go back and relive the past, and we can't see what tomorrow will bring.

More and more of our senior citizens have lost their independence through health problems and end up in wheelchairs, or need nursing home care or require many prescription drugs for a variety of health problems. Sadly, even our younger people are fast approaching the point where they are developing high blood pressure and clogged arteries at an earlier age than their mothers and fathers did. With the high-fat fast foods and push-button conveniences, our society is becoming very sedentary and overweight.

We have to start now to reverse the deterioration of our health. While we seniors can't go back to our youthful days, our bodies will rejuvenate impressively if we begin to do something about the health condition we are in now. We don't have to end up restricted and have our lives filled with pills, canes, wheelchairs, etc.

Only you can decide to make healthful lifestyle changes and only you can make sure you continue these changes. No one can do the exercise for you or make the changes in what you eat.

Living in the now is our only reality. The exploits of yesterday are over. Choose to walk the path of good health and happiness.

You don't have to be perfect to reap rewards - I know I'm still trying. I'd like to be able to attend my 66th reunion and be able to dance the evening away. Who knows, maybe I'll even try to attend my 76th reunion!

John Rhodes is co-owner of J&J Health and Fitness Center in Hagerstown.

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