A New Lease On Life

When I was a kid I was quite active. I played the usual sports at home with my siblings and friends during my grade school years. I didn’t play organized sports until I started ninth grade, and then I was introduced to the rigors of basketball practice. That was the first time I was really challenged physically. I played basketball and baseball throughout high school, and even though I never really excelled playing those sports I still had fun. I took pride in being physically fit – at least I thought I was fit at the time. I turns out that I was just young and could run a little longer before getting tired.

Little did I know that I really hadn’t prepared myself well enough for adulthood when it came to being a fit person.     I married my wife in 1992, and over the years my weight increased by over 40 pounds. It’s not an excuse, but having a desk job didn’t help. Year after year I would think “I need to exercise more, eat right and lose weight.” Pretty soon, 20 years rolled by and nothing really changed. In fact, things got worse. My back started hurting on a regular basis and my knees would hurt whenever I tried to run long distances. I was 45 years old and feeling every one of those years.

Then one day a man who would become a good friend mentioned he and his wife were running a fitness program and converting a building near my home into a gym. My wife and I decided to try it out one Friday afternoon back in early June of 2014. We found the  workout to be challenging yet invigorating. These workouts were described as total body fitness, where you focus on strengthening your core muscles while doing these exercises at a pace where you’re working on your cardio as well. My heart rate was up, that’s for sure!

My son and daughter worked out all summer as well, becoming stronger and more fit than ever. Most importantly, I was happy to finally be setting a good example when it came to health and fitness. I can’t stress enough how important a part that plays in my life now.

Now, after almost six months of sticking with this routine of core strengthening, weight lifting and running, I feel like a new man, like I have a new lease on life. It’s a rare day when my back aches now, and because I strengthened my knees, I can now run without pain. When I look back, I see that six months ago I was at a crossroads – I could continue down the same road that I had been following for years and continue to decline physically, or I could finally do something positive for myself that would result in me feeling better physically, which translates to feeling better emotionally as well.

To me, this healthy lifestyle is like a new beginning. I believe that Life in the Finger Lakes is also undergoing a transformation, a new beginning of sorts. This magazine has been a huge part of my life since it was launched in 2001 – truly a labor of love. As with anything that is a part of you, change can be difficult to deal with. The magazine was at a crossroads as well, and it needed an infusion of positive energy. The magazine now has a new lease on life. It’s being transformed into a brand that is getting closer to realizing its own potential.

As I mentioned in my editorial in the Holiday/Winter 2014 Issue, this January/February Issue is the first of six for 2015 – a bimonthly magazine. The look is a little different now too, with a spine that helps protect the text pages better, plus it looks great and collectors can better organize their magazines by the issue numbers and information on the spine.

The website is in the process of being updated as well, and it will be launched when we are totally happy with its performance and ability to enhance the magazine. Down the road, keep your eyes open for other improvements and enhancements that Life in the Finger Lakes will be offering its many loyal readers.


by Mark Stash