Welcome to Let’s Talk Fitness, a community conversation where we encourage and inspire each other to lead more active healthy lifestyles. I am your host Renee Reed, a fitness coach, personal trainer and boomer, who refuses to slow down and “act my age”.
Today’s conversation is based on an article I wrote last year when I opened my studio and how my Dad influenced my attitude about fitness and life. I hope you enjoy Breaking a Myth and the 6 Movements Mission.
This photo of myself (Renee Reed, Founder of 6 Movements), my husband Ralph Bell and my dad, Patrick Reed, was taken a few months before Dad was diagnosed with cancer and passed shortly after. Born on Valentine’s Day 1926, had he lived, my dad would be 92. He would also have been 6 Movement’s most enthusiastic member.
I owe my love of physicality to my dad, who taught me to be committed to a purpose, to believe in myself and to work for what I wanted. He instilled a love of physical accomplishment and the necessary determination to push through tough times. These traits have helped me be successful in several competitive sports and to accomplish many goals, especially those fitness related.
At 88 years’ young, my dad’s life was cut short by cancer. Until the last few months, he remained incredibly strong and physically active. He lived every day to the fullest and believed that to live long, one needed to move. He rarely stopped moving and when he did, it was usually to sit only long enough to read the paper, eat dinner or go to bed for his six hours of sleep. When not at his job, which often involved lifting heavy boxes of produce, he would be working around the house building, cleaning, upholstering furniture, mowing the lawn (or shoveling snow) and often helping neighbors. After retiring, he walked miles every day and went to the gym where he would work his way through all the machines, as fast as he could. He trained for months and on his 75th birthday, completed 75 pull-ups. I rarely saw him walk up a stair case; he preferred to jog. His vision failed in his 60s and he was legally blind, though most folk didn’t know this by the way he moved. In his 80s he helped Ralph build a two-story garage, doing a lot of physical labor. At 88, with cancer riddling his body, he would wall as often as possible, using a walker and despite great pain, walked until the last few days of his life.
Dad brought forward in life a determination and love of physical accomplishment, learned as a young ski jumper. He grew up in Iron Mountain, Upper Peninsula of Michigan. At age 14 he began jumping the largest man-made ski jump in the world. He would walk several miles through deep snow and up to the top of Pine Mountain and climb a 156-foot-high wooden scaffold, carrying skis longer than he was tall. Pointing his body down a thin snow track and rapidly gliding down, until there was nothing but air underneath his body, he would soar airborne for many feet at 60 mph, landing hard and traveling fast to a stop. What a thrill that must have been! Sadly, I never saw my Dad jump and it wasn’t until I was an adult and visited Pine Mountain in person, that I understood the immensity of the challenge the sport of ski jumping presents.
Fortunate to have had a parent who was such a great model of health and fitness, as well as simply being a wonderful person, I witnessed first-hand the breaking of the myth that growing old means becoming frail and decrepit. My dad was living proof that the number of years we live is not what limits us, but rather whether how physically active we remain. He never gave up trying to stay active and neither will I. Dad’s legacy will encourage me to keep moving, keep challenging myself, and keep learning, for as long as I live.
My dad possessed a deep passion for life and a commitment to helping others and it is in his memory that 6 Movements Fitness Studio is dedicated to helping people become stronger, healthier and happier and remain active, for as long as they live.
Happy Birthday DADDY – You continue to inspire!
Let’s Talk Fitness is sponsored by 6 Movements Fitness Studio, located in Firdale Village Shopping Plaza in Edmonds.
Call 206-546-6683 or visit 6movements.com to learn more about low impact progressive intensity training options.
Know someone with or have your own fascinating fitness story and want to join the Let’s Talk Fitness conversation? Send topic proposals, stories, comments or questions to [email protected]
— Sponsored by 6 Movements Fitness Studio