Think you’re too old for exercise?
Alan Comfort, a local dad, grandfather and former Algoma Steel employee, seems to be reversing the hands of time by celebrating each birthday with a long bike ride: he bikes one mile for each year he has been alive. This year, that meant a 77-mile bike ride to Bar River.
“On the actual date of my birthday, I wasn’t feeling well – so the ride had to be postponed for a few days later,” Comfort said.
Whereas others might have viewed illness as incentive to skip a year, Comfort waited it out. But once he recovered, he hopped back on the bike and pushed through to the end.
“I think it began on my 66th birthday when I decided to take on this challenge,” Comfort said. “I had already been an active runner – but once I hit my 50s I started to feel a hip issue – and I just didn’t want it to develop into anything serious – so I stuck to the cycling.” Comfort, who is sometimes joined by his teenage grandson, says that exercise is what keeps him young.
He’s also a big hiker and will often go to Crystal Falls for a five hour hike one way to reach the falls. That means another five hours to get back to his car. “Hiking, walking, biking – it’s invigorating to the human spirit,” he said enthusiastically.
So how many more birthday rides does Comfort foresee in the future? Ever the ultimate optimist, he says he doesn’t see an end in sight.
“Maybe when I am 100,” he said laughing. “That’s what I tell my kids anyways. But maybe then it would just be a 100-mile walk.”
Despite his physical capacity, Comfort encourages all people to take the first step – even if they aren’t able to reach the duration and output of a well-trained athlete.
“Anyone can begin exactly where they are and at any age,” he said. “I would recommend people begin with a half hour walk every day rain or shine. You’d be amazed how much your life will change if you begin just doing that. And yes – even if you walk with a walker! That’s okay too.”
Looks like none of us are left with any viable excuses to just sit around anymore. If the 77-year-old can do it, then surely we all can.