Meet Mr. Z. I passed him walking up the steepest slope of Celery Mountain. Well, to us in South Florida it looks like a mountain. It’s a man made hill with lots of walking paths cut into it and bedecked with palm trees that look like oddly placed birthday candles on a giant green cake.
I introduced myself the second time around the “mountain” because his routine intrigued me. He looked to be in his late 70’s, perhaps 80’s, and he was barefoot. At the bottom of the slope he’d pick up a small rock, turn around and slowly and rhythmically trod his way back up, duck footed, clutching the rock to his chest with both hands, making his elbows and torso twist side to side as he plodded.
“How many times have you climbed this path today?”, I asked. “9”, he answered. “That’s awesome!” I cheered. “I do it for my heart and my back,” he added in a thick Russian accent.
I told him that I speak on healthy lifestyles and that his climbing routine struck me as a great example of just getting up and moving, without having to join a fancy gym or doing a complicated workout. When I asked his name he said with a slight smile, “It will be too hard to remember.” He was right. He laughed as I tried my best to get it right. “Mr. Z is good,” he said.
By this time we had made it to the top where he showed me a small pile of rocks. “Nine rocks,” he said, as he bent down and placed the rock he was clutching onto the pile, “dyes-yat”. Ten. That’s how he was marking each of his climbs. Then he pointed to a bigger pile right next to it. “From other days.” Cool.
Mr. Z shrugged when I asked if I could take his picture and use it in my presentations, said “Sure” and then proceeded to strike this wonderful pose! We waved goodbye and he continued on, unhurried, steady, disciplined.
Truth: If Mr. Z’s doc had suggested he try Zumba or yoga for his heart he probably wouldn’t have lasted more than one go round. Instead, he has created this hill climbing routine, rocks and all, which suits his style.
The secret to sticking with a fitness routine is to find a type of movement or exercise that you don’t hate. One that you’ll be more apt to do again and again that will add up to better fitness and health for you.
What do you like? What’s your fitness style? Seek it out, experiment, try different things until you find what fits your personality, your body or your time and then DO IT CONSISTANTLY and you’ll be on the path towards a healthier, happier you. Just like Mr. Z. J