I have a physical exam every six months. When you reach your 60s you always think the next exam will show something dreadful or serious.
A family doctor told me 20 years ago that I d probably need a bypass or artery clean-out one day, so each semiannual physical I have come to anticipate hearing that the time has come.
Instead, I come through the physicals with virtually a clean bill of health. Amazing. Considering my sedentary type of work and my paunch, you d think I d be ready for some kind of procedure. Not yet at least.
My Knoxville physician, Courtney George, reports to me within days of the physical on my blood work and her conclusions and recommendations, and aside from an LDL cholesterol issue and a slightly-higher-than-she d-like blood sugar level, I am fit.
How can this be? Hereditary? Maybe. My father lived to be 85. But his father died at 70 of a heart attack. Luck? I like that idea.
Actually, I attribute my good health to one key factor: a treadmill. I have been a user of home treadmills for a decade or more and am on it six days a week.
The first one I bought came from Kmart. My son helped me put it together. That treadmill worked like a charm for at least eight years. It was not very versatile, but it was durable.
I had it in a spare bedroom until we moved to Sevierville in 2005. The configuration of the house forced us to put it the den, where I could watch TV while I used it.
Now I have a treadmill in the spare bedroom, where we keep the computer and an extra TV. In the morning I climb aboard and, while watching a program, walk with purpose for at least 30 minutes, six days a week. I take one day off, which I read was a good idea.
Last year I decided it was time for a new one, even though there essentially was nothing wrong with the one I used. I wanted one that would be quieter, have more bells and whistles, be programmable so I could press a button and have it go to my settings: 2 levels of incline and 32 speed. Since I could never put the thing together, I decided to buy it from a store that would deliver it and assemble it. We chose Dick s Sporting Goods in Knoxville. I picked it out and two guys delivered it and assembled it.
And now it sits in a back room, waiting for me every day. I placed a Roku box on the TV so I could see Netflix shows, and watch as I walk. I enjoy the Ken Burns documentaries, such as his works on the West, baseball, the Civil War and, now, World War II. I m not sure I d be as faithful to the treadmill and my workout if I didn t have something to do while I walk. What better to do than watch a Ken Burns masterpiece?
The treadmill I bought even has a fan, and this summer that feature has come in handy. Having a nice breeze hit your face at the 20-minute mark is a delight.
The treadmill is so quiet I can easily hear the TV program, and the room is on the opposite side of the house from our bedroom, so Bonnie is not disturbed as she sleeps. At my age I ve become an 11-to-6 guy, and I do find that a brisk half-hour walk on the treadmill at my settings gets me ready for the day.
I managed to move my old treadmill to the basement, where it sits today. It works, and I don t want to toss it away. So I make this offer: If you need to start exercising, if you feel that your advanced age is creating fear of medical issues, if you realize that you d better get off the couch and out of the chair and start moving, but don t want to join a club or use an outdoor track, I ll give it to you. Same offer to a Boys & Girls Club branch. Call me and arrange to pick it up.
It s heavy so you ll need some assistance, but it will be worth it.
Now you ll have to excuse me. I have to start training for the 2016 Olympics. Don t they have a walking competition?
Stan Voit is editor of The Mountain Press. He can be reached at 428-0748, ext. 217,. or email to email@example.com.