One of the reasons I work out regularly has to do with sports.

Of course, I want to stay healthy, feel better and move better, live as long and independent a life as possible, all that good stuff.

But one of my motivations is also to be able to compete in USA Track and Field Masters pole vault.

Yes, pole vault.

Five years ago, I was a bit of a mess, physically and mentally.

I was 45-50 pounds overweight, terribly out of shape, depressed, not doing much of anything but going to a job I hated and then drinking too much to try and forget about it all.

Then, long story short, I discovered a thing called Masters track and field.

A friend from childhood was a championship pole vaulter in high school and college, then went on to a career in business before also discovering Masters athletics, getting back into vaulting and becoming a world champion.

He introduced me to it, and now I’ve jumped in competitions all across Texas and in a few other states. Even won some medals and qualified for the National Senior Games in Albuquerque, N.M.

Staying fit enough to do something like pole vault ain’t easy, but I love being athletic and being a member of the Masters pole vault community — I’ve made friends all over the world from pole vaulting — and I know I have to keep getting better physically to be able to keep doing this somewhat crazy thing.

If you’re having trouble keeping yourself motivated to exercise, maybe finding a new sport or recreational activity can be your big “Why?”, too.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Hiking (walking is one of the best forms of exercise for anybody, and long walks in nature are great for body and soul)
  • Golf (take a few lessons or have an experienced friend show you a few things and off you go. Here’s a little secret: golf is one of those things you don’t have to be really good at to enjoy.)
  • Kayaking (a great form of exercise, and who can argue with paddling around on a beautiful lake for a while)
  • Bicycling (remember how much fun riding a bike was back in the day?)
  • Pickleball (a combined version of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. Played indoors or outdoors with a paddle and plastic ball with holes in it on a small court with modified tennis net. This is even a competitive sport with leagues!)

Think about it.

Might just be a helluva lotta fun!!!

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