I still remember the day. I was in a new job and had just moved into my new apartment. My mom was in town helping me move. As I drove home, she called to tell me my brother had died.
Just a few days earlier, I had called him just to say hi and woke him up. He wasn’t feeling well - he had a cold and was taking a nap. I told him that I would call him back in a few days. That was the last time I would ever talk to him.
That’s the day I changed my life. I cleaned up my eating, drank less alcohol and became a spin instructor shortly after. It was also the day I set a new rule for my life:
I WILL SEE A CARDIOLOGIST BEFORE MY 35TH BIRTHDAY.
Before that, I was healthy in my mid-20s, living my best life. I never had to see a doctor. Now I’m “middle-aged.” According to Men’s Health, 37 years old is the median age for men in America. My big middle-aged birthday is at the end of this month.
I’ve since gone through a gauntlet of tests with a cardiologist for a clean bill of health for the next five years. Most recently, I went through another round of tests with a urologist thanks in part to a little rough housing with our little guy. Let’s just say it was a real kick to the pride. But another clean bill of health. I also make sure I get annual physicals where I probably get a little too competitive to lower my resting heart rate and improve a bunch of healthy numbers.
Now that I’m married and a dad, my goal is functional fitness or “Dad strength.” The days of just heavy sets on the bench press and bicep curls are behind me - in part to tendonitis, but so that I focus on what matters most: the endurance and strength to wrestle, go on hikes, carry far too many grocery bags at once, and eventually coach soccer (pray for me). I’ve lined up specialists to help me stay on track, so I don’t have to wait to see someone when something goes wrong. They have my health records.
I see a chiropractor and massage therapist almost regularly. I never thought a torn pec and ruptured bicep at 20 would literally be crippling me now, but being a sherpa for a three-year-old will do that.
The point of all of this is we as men must talk about this, AND WE DON’T. Maybe we do one time a year at a physical or during Movember and you have an excuse to grow facial hair at work. We should talk about it more.
I still teach spin for an area gym. Since the pandemic, I’ve seen an increase of male riders. That is shocking because my earlier classes were predominately female riders. Maybe there’s a shift, but if we’re going to rise up as dads and husbands, WE NEED TO DO MORE.
I can’t call my brother to tell him about my life or check on him. Our son will sadly only know one of his two uncles. But what I can do, is ensure that I continue to take care of myself to be the healthiest man I can be. I owe it to my wife and son.
-Matt Lofy, The Dadass
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CBUS Dads is a community of central Ohio area dads balancing an active lifestyle with being an involved parent. A Saturday for us may involve enjoying morning t-ball, lunch at a new local spot and an evening at a summer festival with our families. We may live downtown, in the suburbs or somewhere between, but our common thread is that we continue to experience the community we love - now as parents.