The University Record, October 16, 2000

Desire for healthy lifestyle leads to marathons, cycling

By Rebecca A. Doyle

David Stowe (foreground), a patient representative at M-CARE, and Lisa Stowe, who works for the Department of Occupational Safety and Envronmental Health, have adopted a healthy lifestyle that includes running, cycling and yoga. Photo courtesy David Stowe
Four years ago David and Lisa Stowe made a decision that changed the way they live their lives.

“We were working too many hours, eating out too much and eating heavy meals,” David says. “We just had a bad year, and one day we both decided to change the way we live.”

David is an M-CARE representative and Lisa works for the Department of Occupational Safety and Environmental Health. Together, they decided to stop going out to eat, began to change their diet to gradually become vegetarian, and started exercise programs.

“We started to walk, then to run and then I got into cycling,” David says. He also has joined a yoga group and does a half hour of that exercise before work every day.

But for David, the personal exercise has become more involved and more physical. In the last year, he cycled to Mackinaw City and back, did the Big Century Ride of 100 miles in July and, also in July, rode 300 miles to benefit a child through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He brought in $500 to help Samantha, who was battling Hodgkin’s disease, realize her wish. His plans next year include the New York marathon and several more cycle rides.

If it weren’t for a hip injury, he would be running in a marathon race at the end of this month. Even while in physical therapy, he continues to bicycle and practice yoga.

David also has begun to talk to coworkers about fitness and has persuaded two of them to join him in an evening yoga class sponsored by M-Fit.

“I don’t preach fitness to people,” he says. “If someone has a stiff neck or seems to be really tense, though, I’ll show them exercises that would help or tell them how relaxing it is to do yoga.”

Working for M-CARE, David has some insight into what preventive measures like diet and exercise mean to one’s health. In addition, he says, most people are much more productive after they step out and get some fresh air or take a walk and get some exercise. But the best reason to exercise, he says, is that it makes you feel better, not that it makes you produce more.

In April, he helped organize a fitness walk at M-CARE for Employee Appreciation Week.

“It was a good team-building thing to do,” he says. “I see lots of people who are stressed out, not taking the time to be healthy. People look at me and see me leave every day at 5 p.m. But it’s hard for them to let go of work and do something for themselves.”

Because he leaves the office for lunch hour and leaves promptly at 5 p.m., he gets a little “flak” from some people, David notes. But he doesn’t mind and hopes that someday they, too, will be ready to change to a healthier lifestyle.

The Stowes’ commitment to a new lifestyle has changed their daily routine to one of early rising and early bedtimes. Yoga is the first order of the day, followed by healthy foods and work. During lunchtime, walking or other exercise gives them a boost of energy that keeps going through the afternoon.

Promptly at 5 p.m., they leave and meet for a workout. Then, it’s home for a vegetarian dinner and time to relax a little before bedtime.

While the Stowes admit that it would be more difficult to maintain their schedule if they had other obligations, they still recommend that others give some thought to a commitment to exercise and healthy eating.

With such programs as M-Fit, which make it easy to gradually get into healthier eating and living, the Stowes say there is no reason that members of the University community can’t become healthier if they can make even a small time commitment.