Gotta Run: We always think there is plenty of time, until there isn’t!

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 18, 2023

I read with much interest the obituary of Cora Shinn this week. Cora had a physical fitness degree from college, and she knew the importance of staying active. Cora put herself through intense workouts in her 70s, and then decided to take up running and racing in her late 70s. Always meticulous in her workouts, she knew exactly what she was doing and why. I have lots of racing memories, but watching Cora was part of some of the best. She was a very popular local winner in her age group.

Here is what Cora knew. “Use It or Lose It!” We’ve all heard that term. For general health and movement wellness, you want to avoid getting weaker or losing muscle mass. Our muscles, joints, connective tissues and bones require some form of consistency and daily movement. Calisthenics, cardiovascular activity, stretching and moving progressively heavier objects are all ways to exercise the body.

We need the necessary foundation of strength, durability, stability and mental and physical conditioning that make us more capable humans. These principles are particularly important when it comes to fitness performance, overall health and wellness.

Why should you exercise? You need a reason as to why you are working hard if you want to be consistent. Is it to look good? Feel good? Live longer? All are great reasons to train yourself. For many, becoming stronger and remaining agile into their later years will be motivation enough to keep moving while remaining independent.

If we don’t use our bodies, we get rusty, stiff and things do not work as they once did. I constantly hear about balance failing. As we age, our body’s natural ability to recover, rebuild and repair from stress decreases. If you don’t continuously challenge yourself, we will start to lose our physical fitness level. This can lead to a decrease in overall health and wellness, and you may reach a point where chronic illnesses start to creep into your daily life.

It is never too late to start exercising and it doesn’t have to be boring or hard in the beginning. Just moving will feel good. Maybe you can listen to music or watch a movie for a distraction while riding a stationary bike. Start small and gradually increase your frequency, intensity and duration (another fitness principle). This will help you to stay motivated and ultimately build good habits and discipline, making your fitness easier to maintain so you never have to worry about losing it.

There are many life-saving reasons why maintaining physical activity for the rest of your life is needed, but here are the main health reasons. Keeping a waist circumference limit of 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men will help to reduce the risk for high blood pressure, high triglycerides, stroke, heart disease, diabetes and many types of cancer. Regular exercise has been proven to reduce the need for medications to treat the above ailments.

I had a potential personal training client ask me about what exercise she should be doing the other day. The options are endless. I, in turn, asked her what types had she been doing? In her mid-thirties, she couldn’t give me one. A short walk and stretching day today would be a great start for anyone in that situation. Don’t wait!

Our spring Beginning Runners Class is just ahead. It begins on Tuesday, March 14, at 6 p.m. at the Salisbury Police Department. Eight weeks of pertinent classes, your own training schedule, a training T-shirt and entry into your graduation 5K are the perks by joining in. And you’ll be a member of the Salisbury Rowan Runners for a year, all for $65.

The “Will Run for Food 5K” is set for Saturday, Feb. 25 at 10 a.m. It is a low-pressure, fun event for runners/walkers provided by Centenary Methodist Church. Proceeds go to Rowan Helping Ministries.

For information on these events, go to