In honor of Father's Day I would like to introduce you to my incredible father-in-law, An. In order to write this piece I set aside time this morning to interview him. We are very close but in many was it was a reintroduction. It was special. I look forward interviewing others on my journey.
An is a man who embodies the essence of honoring the body he has. He's 83 years old and if you let him, he will talk your ear off about his younger years. He was an athletic young man. Very active. In his 20's he earned his black belt in Aikido. His focus on exercise waned throughout his 30's as he focused on opening up a restaurant and starting a family. As a matter of fact, he opened the 1st Vietnamese restaurant in Washington D.C. In his early 40's he made the decision to make a serious investment in his health. He began running long distances with the goal of running a marathon (26 miles and 385 yards). This goal turned into 12 consecutive years of completing the following marathons: New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and 9 Marine Corp marathons. (Interesting fact: Marathons in the 1990's used to have higher expectations for your finish time. NY marathon required you finish within 4 hours. Marine Corp required you finish in 5.) That means that between the ages of 44 and 56 he maintained healthy eating and exercise habits. He estimates that he was running about 1,100 miles every year. His lifestyle has changed a lot with age but the intent has remained the same. His WOD's (Workout of the Day) every day includes stretching, calisthenics, 35 squats, 3 to 4 mile walk and then the 5 Tibetan Energy Rejuvenation Exercises. He is a role model to me and a daily reminder that it's never too late. The changes I make now can positively impact my quality of life as I age. He sometimes wishes he was 20 again, but he cherishes the life he has now. Loving the body he's in - even if it's not the body he wants.
Below are some pictures I took today as he was showing off his squat skills with my 7 year old. Owens's look of shock is captured as he is in awe of how low Ong Noi (Vietnamese for paternal grandfather) could go.
An's Book Recommendations:
1. Andrew Weil, M.D. - Natural Health, Natural Medicine. The complete guide to wellness and self-care for optimum health.
2. Joel Furman, M.D. - Super Immunity