Some of you may have noticed the number of blogs has greatly diminished. Well, I thought it might be time to let everyone in on the primary reason for the decrease. I've had some health issues and have had to make some serious adjustments to my daily life.
Back in '10, I developed problem with heart not beating in the property rhythm. I'm sure many of you have seen some commercials lately for drugs treating a condition known as AFIB, or Atrial Fibrillation. That event in '10 resulted in a few days in the hospital and the stopping of my heart for a brief six seconds. At the time, the cardiologist simply told me that my problems were not with plumbing, but electrical. He went on to say that AFIB happens and that stress and caffeine are primary drivers. As a result, I quit drinking soft drinks and worked on controlling stress. In regards to heeding his advice, I didn't shine in the area of stress management. No medication was prescribed and after a short stent, life seemed to be back to normal.
In '12, I developed another arrhythmia known as Ventricular Tachycardia. This time I couldn't escape the medication and take a 25 mg pill each night before bed. Again, things seemed to be back to normal. Then in February of this year, another bought with AFIB. This time, I spent 4 days in the hospital and frankly it scared the piss out of me. Here I was, a 43 year old man having heart problems, weighing 198 lbs. with cholesterol levels not in the dangerous range, but borderline.
This time the cardiologist added another pill taken twice a day. There is no generic form of this medication and the cost is like having another car payment. My frustration was reaching an all time high and the only advice from the cardiologist was to make some major changes in my health and fitness.
I've always found it difficult to find time to exercise, but clearly this was no longer an option. I couldn't afford it health wise or financially. For those of you who don't know, a 4 day stent in the hospital costs slightly over $10,000. After the health insurance through my job covered this, my bill was still over $4,000.
As a result, I joined the hospital fitness center ($30 / month). Where better to work out than at the place that could take care of me if I collapsed on the treadmill? I started in early March and have been working out at least 45 minutes 2-3 times a week. I also won a "Fitbit" device that is the recent electronic craze for tracking your health and fitness. I have to say I am impressed with this device that straps to your wrist and tracks every step, calorie burn, sleep, water intake, food intake, miles, and very active minutes. It only costs around $100 and is well worth it.
Every year, my employer holds a health fair and a group comes in to evaluate our cholesterol and other blood related metrics (e.g., Triglycerides). A week ago today, we had the '14 health fair and I had my blood drawn to determine the level of improvement over the last year. I was shocked! My numbers improved to a level I would have never dreamed. My initial thought was that this must be from the medication. Then I inquired and was informed by the health care professional at the fair that the medications I was taking were simply focused on controlling the arrhythmia's, not the other metrics. As a result, the physical exercise was obviously the driving factor in the improved numbers detailed below.
My improvements were as follows:
Wow, and after only 3 full months. What would the results be after a full 12 months? I hope to share a follow-up blog that details even more improvement. For the HDL Cholesterol, I've started taking 1200 mg of Fish Oil each morning. I have also added walnuts to my diet and eat these sprinkler on my salad each night.
What does all of this have to do with Whitetails? Well not much, except for the fact I now feel much healthier, have better cardio to hunt this fall, and may have extended the number of hunting seasons dramatically. Bottom line.....I urge everyone to know thier numbers and make sure you are staying healthy and in shape to live the longest life possible. You deserve it and so does your family and friends. Not to mention, we need everyone who hunts living and sharing knowledge on how to manage my most precious game animal.
I will say it has been a struggle to fit this into my schedule, but I have no choice. The alternative is much more difficult to face. If you do not have a routine, you need to get one. My numbers speak volumes.....it is working out!
Feel free to share similar stories or struggles you are having. I hope this story helps you take a step towards a healthier life. Also, get a fit bit and add me as a friend. We should push each other to better fitness!
One other thing....I ran a mile in 8 min 40 seconds. My oldest daughter bet me I could not run faster than an 8 min mile. She has no idea who she is messing with....I will run faster.
Andy Hayes is a devoted husband and father of 4 kids living in West Central Indiana. Outside of his family, his passion is hunting whitetails. He does not claim to be a professional hunter, but simply wants to share what he learns during his quest to improve whitetail habitat and hunt mature bucks.