Finding it hard to commit to an exercise schedule? Let these stories inspire you.
Catch a wave
When you spend all day dancing around a dentist’s chair, investigating crooked incisors or misaligned molars, flexibility becomes necessity. “As dentists, we have to contort our bodies into weird positions,” Angela Lueck, general dentist and owner of Riverwalk Dentistry, laughs. To keep herself properly conditioned, the 45-year-old Marquette alum runs almost every day, swims when she can and, if the waves allow it, surfs at Atwater Beach. “I was a bit of a tomboy as a kid,” she says. “My parents didn’t encourage us to watch TV.” Twice a week, she meets with her personal trainer, Anthony Reeves, at Gold’s Gym. “As a result, I have strengthened my core and other muscles, which helps me get through a day at the office relatively pain free.”
Live to Bowl
In 2012, Tyrone Morris was given a death sentence: congestive heart failure, six months to live. By listening to doctors’ orders — no more smoking, cut back on sodium — the former college athlete earned four years of overtime. In 2016, a battery-powered Abbott Labs heart pump was implanted. Since then, Morris has bowled 10 perfect 300 games. When planning the initial surgery, the 42-year-old father of three had one request: “Make the wire come out of the left side of my stomach,” the righty demanded, “because I want to keep on bowling.”
Emmanouel Maheras, 91, drives to the Shorewood Fitness Center every morning except Sunday, and he works out for more than 90 minutes, using 17 different machines and lifting 30 pounds of weight. His dedication to exercise began when he retired from his job at Western Metal Products in 1990 and started walking two hours a day. Now, he’s become a bit of a celebrity at his gym. What motivates him? “I feel working out makes for good health and lets you live longer without problems.”
Onward and Upward
Four years ago, Don Nadar, 62, retired from his practice as a primary care physician ready to embark on his next chapter. “I wanted to challenge myself with new outdoor adventures.” Recently, he and his daughter Devin, 28, hiked in the Pyrenees. “We hiked six days in remote areas, sometimes 15 miles a day, with the highest peak reaching 5,000 feet. It felt good to accomplish that,” Nadar says. “My ultimate goal is to gain physical strength so I can continue backpacking adventures into my 80s.”
Going for Gold
Christine Cherne learned about the Special Olympics after missing the cut for her high school basketball team. “It’s the same as the regular Olympics, but it’s for us,” says the 46-year-old Brown Deer native. For more than two decades, she has competed in tennis, softball, swimming, you name it. One of Cherne’s favorite Olympics moments came on her 28th birthday, when she took the gold in a snowshoeing race in Alaska. As she stood on the podium, the crowd broke out in song. “All of a sudden, they started singing ‘Happy Birthday’ in their own languages.”
Seeing Beyond Obstacles
According to Neil Young, 64, “obstacles can become opportunities.” With the aid of sighted navigators, Young, who is legally blind, has raced stock cars for a dozen years, skied both cross country and downhill, golfed, ridden tandem bikes, kayaked, ice skated, done archery and hunted, even bagging a buck. Oh, and he also loves to hike. But the most dangerous activity he partakes in is crossing a busy avenue multiple times a week to get to the gym. He proceeds unfazed. “I walk by faith, and not by sight,” he says.
At age 15, after U.K. native Alex Bradley got cut from his soccer team for being too small, he begged his older brother: “Take me to the gym, please.” Six years and thousands of protein shakes later, Bradley was co-captain of the Loras College squad that played in the Division III NCAA National Championship. Now 25, the Milwaukee Wave midfielder lifts two to three times a week to stay in “soccer shape.” But it also helps him mentally. “I was feeling so down the other day. And I put a workout in and felt 100 times better immediately,” he says.