Run for Your Life

No one expects a stroke at 31; especially not a highly active person who enjoys daily runs and sports like tennis and softball. But, that was exactly what happened to Wes Varga, who had a stroke in 2008.

The stroke inhibited his mobility to the point where, months later, he needed a gait belt to keep from falling. On an unsteady walk in the park with a friend, he decided to try something different: he wanted to run.

The first run lasted about 10 feet. But, he kept getting out daily and his body remembered the moves. Each day, he pushed farther. Eleven months after his stroke, he completed a half marathon.

While most of us will never experience such a devastating set-back, there is still a lot for all of us to learn from Wes Varga’s accomplishment. Running doesn’t just build our strength and fitness today. It gives us a tool to push through and find new capabilities. It gives us structure and continuity when we struggle in other areas of our lives.

When people are under stress or things are going badly, it can be tempting to give up regular exercise. But, do your best to keep going. Never underestimate the healing power of tying your laces, heading out the front door, and getting in a few miles of the rhythm of your feet hitting the ground.