Health scare motivates Fort4Fitness runner toward healthy lifestyle


FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Matthew Herald is running the full marathon at this year’s Fort4Fitness Fall Festival.  This will be his first marathon.  He planned on running the Triple Crown this year and a full marathon a few months later, but when he heard Fort4Fitness was adding a full marathon, he pushed up his training.

Three or four years ago, Matt did not exercise at all.  He says he could not keep up with his kids.  He would help them ride their bikes, but after one length down the sidewalk he would have to take a break.  A doctor discovered a lump on his gallbladder, but after testing determined it was benign.  However, the doctor finally cornered Matt about his high blood pressure.  Matt says he knew for years it was high, but did not want to go on medication to control it.  He always made up an excuse when asked about it by a doctor; he was in pain or scared about a diagnosis, so of course his blood pressure was high.  After getting the good news about being cancer-free, he had no more excuses.

The doctor simply told him to lose weight and the blood pressure would drop.  Matt started counting calories using a free app on his smartphone.  He lost 30 pounds simply by watching his portion size.  Then he decided to start exercising to lose more weight.  He followed a “Couch to 5K” program to work his way up to running 3.1 miles without stopping.  Then he did a 5K to 10K program, and eventually worked his way up to half-marathons and now a full marathon.   He has lost 65 pounds and gained muscle along the way.

Matt has lots of advice for people looking to start getting healthy or those looking to stay healthy.  First, he says, start with your doctor.  Talk about what kind of exercise or food plan would work best for you.  He also says to start slow and not worry about other people.  You will not always be the fastest and you will not always be the slowest, but you have to start somewhere.  Be patient with yourself and recognize that you will fail sometimes.  The key is to keep going and keep trying, to not become a failure.  People around you will notice how hard you are working and will see the changes in your life.  Use that to motivate you and recognize you are also motivating other people around you.

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