When he talks about his childhood and growing up, Harry doesn’t describe himself as an athlete. In fact, Harry never stepped foot into a gym during the first 56 years of his life.
But that would all change, and so would Harry’s life.
“I was the geek pushing the audio-visual cart in high school, and look at me now” Harry said. “My endurance is up, my posture is better, I don’t have the aches I used to have and my wife thinks I look good!”
There is a seemingly endless amount of benefits that Harry can describe from working out and conditioning.
So what led to Harry’s decision to finally go to a gym?
“When I was 57 years old I decided to join a group of kayakers on a 157 mile paddle down Florida’s Suwannee River, but after 15 years of working in front of a computer screen I was in no shape to make this trip” Harry said. “So I went to LA Fitness in August of 2011 and said to them ‘you have three months to build me into a stronger paddler.’ I had never been in a gym before, but my trainer, Dave, got me ready for the trip.”
Harry had actually started kayaking as a leisurely recreation a couple of years earlier. Living in Florida he enjoyed going to the beach, and he would frequently notice the rows of multifarious colored kayaks lazily leaning to one side or the other as they sat parked along the shoreline. But Harry wasn’t quite into the idea of kayaking as a vigorous form of exercise when he first began.
“I was out of shape with a bad back, stiff neck and creaky knees” Harry said. “But it didn’t take a lot to sit on a kayak and float in the sun with an occasional paddle-stroke.”
His assumption was correct; floating around on a kayak wasn’t too difficult. As a matter of fact, it was quite nice, and so Harry enjoyed several laidback mornings and afternoons lounging in the sun on his kayak. Without even realizing it though, Harry had become more active, and he was becoming a stronger paddler too.
“One day I joined a half-day kayak trip on the Hillsborough River in the Tampa Bay area,” Harry said. “The guide was a lot of fun and he showed me different strokes to use to better maneuver my kayak. He invited me on another trip on another river, and then another and another…Before I knew it I was paddling a kayak three Sundays a month, and seeing the best of Florida wildlife while learning to be a better paddler.”
His days of simply using his kayak as an offshore sun lounger were over. Harry was officially hooked on the sport of kayaking.
That is when he decided to really challenge himself and accept the invitation that was extended to him to kayak the 157 mile trek down the Suwannee River. His training in the water, combined with his physical conditioning in the gym paid-off. Harry conquered the 157 mile Suwannee River and any doubts that he had about his physical abilities.
Harry found something active that he enjoyed and he built upon it. Not only did Harry prove something to himself by completing a 157 mile kayaking trip, he now enjoys an ocean of benefits that come with living a healthy and active lifestyle.
We have more inspiring results and new goals to share with you in Harry’s next segment of REAL STORIES. So be sure to come back!
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