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Lessons in Life:

Staying Active + Healthy

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Photography by Paul Versluis

Originally published in Leawood Lifestyle

Marc Erickson

Marc Erickson is a busy father of three kids, lawyer and managing partner at Wagstaff  & Cartmell, LLP, and an avid lover of running and staying active. Marc and his family enjoy running, camping, hiking, skiing and watersports.

What do you do to stay active and healthy?

In my 30s, I was having a hard time finding a fitness regimen that I could stick to. Then, some friends invited my wife and I to run a marathon with them. We were not runners, but we thought it would be a fun one-time challenge. I limped to the finish of my first marathon but wasn’t happy with my time, so I decided to run another marathon. I then learned about the Paul Black Running Club, a group of men and women who run together three days a week in Kansas City. Even though nobody is taking attendance, I find that it is easier for me to get up early in the morning to run if I know other people are also going to be there. We refer to that as the power of the group.

How have your fitness goals and philosophies morphed over the years?

When my wife and I were training for our first marathon in 2007, we couldn’t do our training runs together because one of us needed to be home with our young kids. Twelve years later, our kids are now running with us! In the last two years, we have run two half marathons as a family. Additionally, my son is now getting up early in the morning to run with me, so that provides a great opportunity for us to connect. The kids’ schedules are often busier than mine, so it is great to see them taking the time to be active and healthy.

How do you balance your busy home and work life with your fitness regimen?

I run early in the morning before work or occasionally over lunch.  Our law firm recently converted an old file room into a workout facility. I’m hoping that the workout facility will give other people in the office an opportunity to be more active. For several years, Wagstaff & Cartmell has been a sponsor of the Lawyer’s Association of Kansas City Law Day 5K. Even though we are a mid-size firm, we often have the most participants in the race. I’m really proud of that.

Do you have any advice for our readers that you have learned through your fitness journey? 

Ditch the ear buds and find a friend to share the experience of working out.  Technology that was supposed to bring us together is making us increasingly more isolated. Combine your workout with some social interaction, and you will find the time more fulfilling, and you will find it easier to stay committed. 

Joel Ackerman

Joel Ackerman, a lifelong resident of Leawood and area physician, believes in the importance of staying healthy and active but also maintaining a balance. Joel and his wife, who is an area physician as well, have four kids and enjoy traveling, athletics and exploring new areas in their field of medicine.

What do you do to stay healthy?

My definition of health continues to evolve as I get older. I've tried everything from water aerobics to racing in IronMan Triathlons. I view health now as a balance of mental, physical and spiritual practice. I try to do some type of physical activity most days of the week. I try to also participate in volunteer activities, attend church on a regular basis, eat somewhat healthy and get proper amounts of sleep.

How have your goals and philosophy on fitness morphed over the years?

My philosophies have definitely evolved over the years. I used to think that an hour of exercise each day was the goal. I paid no attention to recovery, diet, mental health or doing a variety of types of physical activity. My goals have transformed over the years to injury prevention and longevity so that I can continue to enjoy activities with friends and family and to live a long, healthy life. 

Do you have any advice for our readers that you have learned through your fitness journey? 

Don't be afraid to try new activities. Being active does not mean that you have to show up in a gym for an hour every day. Walking with friends, carrying golf clubs and playing nine holes of golf, raking leaves, kicking a soccer ball with a child—these are all great examples of being active.  Moderation is key, and this is something that I did not appreciate early in my adult life. The other aspect of being active is being able to recover so that you can continue to participate in life activities. Pay attention to your diet, sleep and desire to help others. Try to be grateful for the blessings in your life and have fun. 

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