I write about exercise on this blog often and I study exercise in my research. I co-organize a regional Exercise is Medicine conference at my institution (our third conference is coming up next week!) and this year I became the faculty advisor for an Exercise is Medicine interdisciplinary student group. These students are future doctors, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists and researchers - and they want to practice their particular health care specialty with a focus on exercise as prevention and treatment for their patients. I love that these students share my passion for this idea and this is truly one of the most rewarding and enjoyable aspects of my job.
At home, I try to practice what I preach. I enjoy exercise and wish I could fit more of it into my day. I think better, eat better, live better when I exercise. In my 20s, I often logged over 50 miles of running a week, and racked up 9 marathons. In my 30s, I struggled with the demands of work and family and finding time for exercise was difficult. Since turning 40 I feel like I've found my happy medium. I worry less about the number of miles, and instead focus on the number of steps I get each day and what exercise does for my health (love my fitbit!). The kids sleep until 7am most mornings which allows me to once again consistently exercise in the morning. This 30 minutes in the morning is my daily quiet time, exercise, and meditation all rolled into one. Exercise makes me a happier person!
This past winter I heard Dr. Jordan Metzl on NPR's Science Friday while I was driving in my car and I had one of those driveway moments - where you stop the car and sit listening to the radio program even though you are home and could go inside. Dr. Metzl was talking about my favorite subject - exercise - and explaining why it was the ultimate prescription for anything and everything that ails us. I went out and immediately bought his new book, The Exercise Cure, A Doctor's All-Natural, No-Pill Prescription for Better Health and Longer Life. A NYC sports medicine physician, he practices what he preaches and has run 30 marathons and completed 11 Ironmans. I listened to him on the radio and I was encouraged that he is getting the Exercise is Medicine message across with a popular new book that people might actually read!
Fast forward one month and I'm meeting with my colleague to finalize our plans for our Exercise is Medicine conference in May. We had a few speakers picked out but our top choice fell through and we were searching for new ideas. I suggested Dr. Metzl almost jokingly, thinking if we were to aim high and ignore the logistics (we likely couldn't afford him and why would he come to Kansas City?), he would be a dream speaker for our conference. We were optimistic, but realistic in thinking it probably wouldn't happen.
Later that week, Ryan sees my copy of The Exercise Cure sitting on our kitchen counter and says, "Why do you have Jordan Metzl's book? He's good friends with Lisa, you know." No, I did not know. Lisa is a friend of ours who used to live in NYC and, according to Ryan, she knows Jordan well. What?! OMG! I contacted Lisa and within two days I was emailing back and forth with Jordan himself, and only 2 weeks later met him in person during a visit to Kansas City to see his family - he is from KC! Who knew?!
He is the keynote speaker at our conference next week, and he and I have become friends over the last several months of planning and scheduling his visit. I've had the pleasure of playing publicist/agent - and even arranged for the venerable Vivien Jennings at Rainy Day Books to put on an author event for him during his visit next week. I helped set up his appearance on our local Public Radio - the director of the station is also a friend from our daycare. I simply cannot imagine any other event bringing all the silos of my life together! It has been an exhilarating and fun learning experience. And the best part is that I know the activities of next week are only the beginning. This entire experience has created new alliances and friendships that I hope will carry forward into other opportunities.
So excuse me for the long post, the excess detail, the rambling. I'm just so excited about how all the stars have aligned, how my worlds have collided just so. It appears I've managed to build my life and my work around something I love.
Hear Dr. Jordan Metzl speak next week at Unity Temple on the Plaza. May 1, 7pm. You can purchase tickets here.