By Diane Kukich
“When we are free to move, anything is possible” was the tagline for a series of Toyota commercials that aired during the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
That tagline is also the story of my life.
Following an active 1960s childhood of riding my bike, swimming in the neighbors’ pool, and playing backyard softball, I started exercising regularly in college. I usually worked out 4 or 5 days a week but often found myself debating about whether or not to do it on any given day.
Eventually a simple solution came to me: eliminate days off and there would be no debate. After all, we eat, sleep, brush our teeth, and take a shower every day—why not exercise every day?
After that epiphany, I started working out every day in my late 20s and never looked back. I continued through having and raising two children, taking off just six days after my son, now 31, was born, and only four days after the birth of my daughter, now 28.
My current streak hit 10,000 days on January 27, 2017.
Many of you who read this will ask, “But what about rest days?”
I have never felt the need for them for two reasons: (1) My workouts are relatively short, taking just 30 to 40 minutes a day; and (2) they’re varied, so I’m rarely doing the same thing two days in a row.
I’ve had some minor illnesses and injuries during those 10,000+ days, but I always found something I could do. If a cold made it tough to breathe in the pool, I took a brisk walk. If a foot injury kept me from running, I added extra swim and bike days to my routine.
Some people might view my workout streak as an obsession rather than a point of pride. For me, it is neither. I have been given the gift of movement, and I treasure the joy that gift brings to my life every day. Not everyone is so lucky.
Through physical activity, I have met people I would not otherwise have met in places I would not otherwise have visited.
I also believe that age is truly just a number. I didn’t start running until I was almost 50, and just last year, at the age of 65, I set a Delaware state age-group record in the 5-mile road race and became certified as a running coach.My goals now are not only to keep running, swimming, and cycling as long as I can but also to inspire others to become active and cherish the gift of movement.
Diane is a retired science writer. She holds a senior fitness training certificate from the University of Delaware and a Level 2 Running Coach certification from Road Runners Club of America. She started running in her late 40s and has won hundreds of first and second place age-group awards in local, regional, and national races at distances from the mile to the half marathon. She swims, runs, or bikes every day and strength trains twice a week. Diane lives in Newark, Delaware, with her husband, Doug, her yellow Lab Jodie, and her orange tabby Pax.