Safe and Healthy Me — Stories from Alaskans

David's Story

David was in his early 20s in graduate school when he injured his back. He was helping several students move a heavy table. He had not suffered a serious injury before and didn’t give it much thought, so didn’t properly take care of his back.

Instead of resting, he returned to work after only a couple of days off. His back still hurt. Every few months, his lower back would go into painful spasms and it would take up to six weeks for the pain to go away. He did receive medical care, but wanted to find other ways to feel better, too.

“I loved hiking and biking and was very active,” David said. “But these were not things I did on a schedule as exercise, so I decided I would try doing an exercise program.”

At the time, David lived in Honolulu, so he decided to start jogging.
“Honolulu was one of the most beautiful places I have ever lived, and I really enjoyed jogging outside.”

After starting his jogging program, he started noticing that his back spasms were not as frequent. The pain wasn’t as intense and it didn’t last as long as in the past. But he also noticed that on those occasions that he fell off the “exercise bandwagon”, he would experience a back spasm after about two months. That provided the motivation to continue jogging.

David finally figured out a way to get motivated to make exercise a part of his daily routine. And now, at age 50, he is still doing it.

When David was about 30, he moved to Anchorage and continued an exercise program there.

“I love Alaska,” he said. “It is a beautiful place and I am fortunate that I live near a trailhead where I can go jogging in the woods. My office building is located across the street from a great park with a walking trail, and I often go there and walk during my lunch hour. But it is a bit more challenging to go jogging outside in the winter.”

David found another idea that worked for him. He purchased a treadmill, set it up in front of his TV, attached a DVD player to the TV, and purchased various sets of movies and old TV shows. He wears headphones with a long extension cable so he can hear the programs over the noise of the treadmill, and also turns on the subtitles. Now he jogs every morning during the week on a regular basis.

“I get to watch TV for 30 minutes every morning before I go to work and jog for 3 miles at the same time. Thirty minutes is usually not long enough to see an entire program or movie, so I am motivated to come back the next day and exercise so I can see the rest of the show.”

David finally figured out a way to get motivated to make exercise a part of his daily routine. And now, at age 52, he is still doing it. He believes it will keep his back, and the rest of him, in good shape for many years to come.