Still Running at 83: Personal Health Is Our Individual Responsibility
Vince Obsitnik is an 83-year-old marathoner who didn’t let heart surgery keep him from running.
And Vince, a former US Ambassador to his native Slovenia, has a message: You are the ultimate arbiter of your personal health.
“It’s a mental frame of mind on how you want to live and how you believe in living,” Vince says. “No. 1, you have to make sure that you are getting good medical attention for whatever problems you have. And if you get the right medical attention, you also stay active on it yourself, mentally, to get that medical result.”
This is no tough-guy talk, just a simple creed we should all follow: “Help yourself stay healthy.”
He Stays Highly Aware
Vince was born in the Slovak Republic, which was part of Czechoslovakia. His family fled the Nazis in 1938, and Vince eventually attended the US Naval Academy. He served on a submarine for five years, and then became an executive at corporations like IBM and Unisys.
He’s always been fascinated by the body and learning more about it to help his running. So when doctors advised a hip replacement in 2012, Vince did his own research and then advocated instead for a “resurfacing.” He’s still running today.
“I’m pretty cognizant about everything,” he says in an understatement.
Developing A Passion for Marathons
At 55, Vince decided to start long-distance running, and he completed the Boston Marathon in less than four hours in 1996. Three years later, his doctor said he needed to have a heart valve replaced. Vince asked if he could still run in the New York Marathon as planned, the doctor said yes, and he did.
Vince also ran the 5k in the National Senior Games in June 2019. Two days later he ran a 10k. A few months later he had the mitral valve repaired.
He rehabilitated, trained and ran another marathon in 2001. In 2008, Vince ran a marathon in Slovakia, where he was serving as the US ambassador (with a bodyguard on each side).
He’s run seven marathons and has a goal of 10. Age doesn’t slow him down.
“People need to be more active and involved in their medical situations,” Vince said. “We have doctors and they are supposed to know what they are doing and many of them do, but we as patients need to know what is wrong and be satisfied in our own mind: ‘Are we doing the right thing, are we doing enough?’
“Not enough people take that approach. People say, ‘The doctor said this’ and they do it. Inquire more. Ask what’s possible and take steps yourself to improve it.
We don’t all need to become marathoners to stay healthy, as I like to say do what you like, like what you do! But the point of caring for our selves is definitely one I agree with. Check out our schedule to help you find the best way for you to get moving and see you in class!
Celebrate September As Healthy Aging Month
If you think January is the most important month for personal fitness, then think again.
It’s actually September, especially for people over 50, since it’s annually promoted as Healthy Aging Month.
And it’s easy to see why the first month of autumn is ideal. Think about. The weather is cooler, but we still have plenty of daylight in the morning and evening. We’ve recovered from hectic summer schedules, but we’re not yet caught up in the hectic holiday, and there’s less pressure than we typically experience with New Year’s Resolutions.
Organizers say they’re trying to shine a spotlight on the positive aspects of moving through life – and the mission is to help us all take personal responsibility for our health.
The month was created more than 25 years ago by Carolyn Worthington, publisher of the Healthy Aging® multi-media platform. “Our goal was to draw attention to the positive sides of growing older,” she says. “September was chosen because so many people feel they can ‘get started’ more easily then. Maybe the back-to-school routine never really goes away.”
The campaign this year focuses on staying fit, adventurous, healthy and connected. Be sure to exercise regularly, including strength training to prevent falls and frailty. Tweak your diet, and keep up with regular medical checkups.
Check out our Youtube page to find movement breaks to help you move, no matter the season. Let’s get you moving with healthy, safe and effective exercise to carry you through the fall and beyond.
Healthy Recipe, Chicken Kabobs
The Asian-inspired marinade delivers flavor, with lower fat, cholesterol, and sodium. From Stay Young At Heart.
8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 32 cubes
Ground black pepper, to taste
8 whole white onions, parboiled
2 oranges, quartered
8 canned pineapple chunks
8 cherry tomatoes
1 can (6 oz) frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 C dry white wine
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
Dash ground ginger
2 Tbsp vinegar
1/4 C vegetable oil
8 wooden or metal skewers
Sprinkle chicken cubes with pepper.
Thread 8 skewers as follows: chicken, mushroom, chicken, onion, chicken, orange quarter, chicken, pineapple chunk, cherry tomato.
Place kabobs in a shallow pan.
Combine the remaining ingredients; spoon over kabobs. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Drain. Broil kabobs 6 inches from heat, for 15 minutes on each side, brushing with marinade every 5 minutes. Discard any leftover marinade.
359 calories, 11g fat, 2g sat fat, 66mg cholesterol, 226mg sodium