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  • Writer's pictureDr. Loïse

A Fitness Love Story: Making Health No. 1

Rick and Mary Allen met on a ski slope, fell in love, and got married some four decades ago. And from that sporty start, they deliberately made fitness the cornerstone of their relationship.

“We both committed to ourselves and to each other that health was going to be at the top of our list of what we wanted to do,” Rick recalls. “It wasn’t going to be all about having the biggest house and the most money. It was about being healthy and enjoying life and being able to keep moving.”

Now, all these years later, those values are stronger than ever for the pair, both retired and in their 60s. They work out several times a week, go hiking and biking, and have always maintained an active, healthy lifestyle.

“We want to take good stewardship of our bodies, and movement is the key to that," Mary explains.

Rick adds, “Motion is the lotion.”

A Health ‘Setback’ Overcome

Just a couple of years ago, Rick and Mary were on another ski trip when Rick suffered a stroke – which led doctors to discover a congenital heart issue. 

He had to lay off his exercise during the recovery period, which was a “setback” and frustrating.

“It drove him nuts,” Mary says. “He’s got a natural wiring to move and be active. Some people we know go to play bingo and have happy hour, but we’re not going to sit around and play bingo.”

He was in his 60s and “on the older side” for having the issue repaired. But since he was in good shape, doctors went ahead with the procedure, and he recovered fully.

This winter, they’ve traveled to Florida and are planning a trip to Europe soon, plus national track and field meets across the country where Rick competes in the high jump and the pentathlon.

Remaining Grateful

When they retired, Rick and Mary took advice from an older couple to “front load” their retirement and enjoy this next chapter of their fitness love story as much as possible.

“You have to be thankful for each day because you do not know what the future holds,” Mary says. “We have friends who are not active, and they can’t hike, can’t go up the steps in a lighthouse, can’t go to a state park.

“And we don't want to be like that. So, we want to be able to see and do and live life fully, knowing that maybe we won't always be able to.”

Rick says they have friends whose spouses are not active, which can bring both partners down.

“And we are not that way,” he says. “We are equally yoked on the deal, and both try very hard to do our best to be healthy for each other.”

Let us show you how to bake fitness into your life, too. Contact me at

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And remember, be kind to yourself and others, especially during the holidays! See you next time,

Dr. Loïse


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