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Health fair promotes fitness

ABHUTCHISON, Sierra Sun

It has been said that many men take better care of their cars than their bodies.

Even Steve Sokol, M.S., who was named the “World’s Fittest Man” by Men’s Health Journal and who holds over 20 world records for fitness accomplishments in the Guinness Book of World Records, admitted, “I know I need to go to the doctor, I haven’t been in awhile.”

“Men have a tendency to do neglect a lot of things they shouldn’t,” he said.

Sokol will be the keynote speaker at Tahoe Forest Hospital’s 10th annual Men’s Sports and Health Expo at the Resort at Squaw Creek on Saturday, Oct. 2.

The event will offer sports activities and an expo as well as help promote health awareness for men, according to Janet Brady, M.S., director of health promotions for TFH.

“If we can only get men to take care of their bodies and practice preventative health care just like they do oil changes and lube jobs on their cars, we’d be in much better shape,” Brady said.

The health fair is specifically designed for men – to encourage them to take preventative action with their health, to provide an easily accessible format to complete recommended preventive care and to receive physician referrals.

“Most importantly, we have specifically designed the event to be rich with sporting activity,” Brady said.

Research over the last 20 years in men’s health habits has shown health professionals that men tend to ignore their health needs and wait until something is really wrong before they take action, she said.

“There’s a reason for this dilemma,” Brady said. “Men from birth are raised to be tough and ignore pain and buck up. This is not the way for everyone. There are certain men who are really in tuned with their health even more than women.”

The health fair will be a venue for men to get hooked up with health care. Health screenings include, skin cancer, body fat test, blood pressure and heart rate checks, foot assessment, nutrition, hearing, back health, massage/bodywork, vision/Glaucoma, lifestyle and stress assessment, diabetes information, blood tests interpretation, prostate cancer and more.

“Just the simple act of going to a doctor’s office in many men’s eyes is a submission of weakness,” Brady said. “We’re trying to get men more aware and preventative. Especially if your at high risk or an outdoor enthusiast.”

Brady cited a quote by a 52-year-old diabetic male with a history of high blood pressure, family history of heart disease at an early age, and 34 percent body fat as an example: “I haven’t been to the doctor in years.”

The health fair is not meant to take place of a full physical by a physician, an act the Brady recommends all men do after the fair, but it can provide an array of screening and get men more aware so that when they do go to their physicals, they can share with their doctors what they’ve learned.

Sokol, 43, who lives in the Bay Area, will be participating in the expo with a two-fold purpose: to help raise his own awareness and to help encourage other men to take care of their bodies by being fit and healthy.

Although his accomplishments are quite unique – he holds the world record for completing 52,003 consecutive sit-ups in 32 hours and 17 minutes, for completing 30,000 jumping jacks in 72 hours and for riding his bicycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles without sitting on the seat in 43 hours – he urges others to set their own goals.

“I want people to realize that what I’ve done is way beyond necessary,” Sokol said. “I just want people to begin to be healthy and make smart changes they can maintain.”

Moderation and consistency rather than sacrificing, deprivation and going overboard are key, he said.

Sokol recognizes his own need to be more aware of his health and family history. His father had colon cancer and a heart valve replaced.

“I have these heredity problems I need to be aware of,” he said.

He will talk about ways men can challenge themselves, meet their goals and how to achieve goals they never thought were possible.

“This is just about being the best you can be in every aspect of your life,” he said. In his own life, he said being physically fit and challenged has helped him be a better person – a better husband to his wife Leslie, and a better father to his 8-month-old son, Alexander.

Sokol’s favorite activities are biking, hiking and water sports, but said he likes “a little of everything.” He works out between two and four hours a day, eats healthy and spends the rest of his time publicly speaking, writing and helping to develop fitness programs with local emergency agencies. His book “The Fitness Formula,” is available on amazon.com.

He worked at IBM for two years as an engineer, but said of that job, “I found out what I was not cut out to do – be an engineer.”

Ironically, the best thing he said he’s ever done was at IBM, where he performed CPR on a man who was suffering from a heart attack and revived him.

Exercising has been an integral part of his life for over 35 years and he definitely doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon. In October he hopes to again make a return to record-breaking.

“It would be pretty interesting if I was able to break these records considering that I set them 15 years ago,” Sokol said. “It would be my way of showing that in some ways I’ve stopped the clock.”

Most of his record-setting events are for charities. He’s donated money to Red Cross, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Arthritis Foundation and more.

“I try to get involved with causes I feel special about,” he said.

The event begins at 7:30 a.m. with the sports expo and health fair. Sokol will speak at the expo’s keynote luncheon, from 11 a.m. to noon.

Fees for the event are $33 for the sports expo and health fair (includes lunch); Sports Expo and Health Fair preregistered group discount (four or more people), $25 each; $55 for 18 holes of golf at the Resort at Squaw Creek.

Men can select the sport event of their choice at 1 p.m. from a range of activities including fly fishing, mountain biking, hiking, golfing and more.

The sports expo will include a golf swing analysis, mountain bike demo by the Back Country, fly fishing, skis, snowboards and snowmobiles, climbing equipment, new 2000 model trucks and sport utility vehicles. There will be a free drawing for a snowboard donated by Dave’s Skis and Boards and other prizes.

For information on lab fees and screening fees for the event, call 582-3483 or (800) 733-9953, ext. 3483.


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