One of the most amazing records held in our day is by Irv Gordon. This 74 year-old retired science teacher from East Patchogue, NY has been driving the same car for the past 47 years. Although unusual, that fact does not earn him a spot in the Guinness World Book of Records. Irv bought his new 1966 Volvo P1800 when he was 27 years old. What is his record? By late 2012 Irv had put over 2,970,000 miles on his car (the world record for distance by a non-commercial vehicle), averaging nearly 64,000 miles a year. The average American only drives 16,500 during a typical year. Recently Irv was asked what he would do with the car once he reached the seemingly impossible 3,000,000 mile mark. Irv said, “So, maybe I'll sell it. Maybe I'll donate it to a museum. Who knows? Maybe I'll keep driving it. I think it should go in a nice, cozy museum where people will get to enjoy seeing the car that beat the odds -- all with the same engine, same radio, same axles, same transmission and of course the same driver.”
Let’s image for a moment that you could own just one car for the rest of your life. If price was no object and you knew that you could never have another, what make and model car would you chose? I would do a lot of research to find which cars have proven to be the most reliable on the road. If you only had one car for life, what would you do to take care of it? Would you:
• Put sugar in the car gas tank to improve performance?
• Never check the oil levels or change the oil?
• Drive 90 miles per hour on a gravel road?
• Always park as close as possible to other cars in parking lots?
• Leave your car outside everyday even though you have a garage?
• Let kids eat and drink in your car?
• Never wash the outside or clean the interior?
I have a feeling that if we knew we would only have one car the rest of our lives, we would be a little more like Irv and take very good care of it. He spoke about the time and effort he spent maintaining his classic car in a recent interview. In fact he said that he took better care of his car than he took care of himself. I thought of how incredibly foolish that any of us would take better care of our cars than our own physical health!
We can all obtain another car when the one we have is ready for the auto graveyard. However, none of us will be given a new body in this life. Our bodies are a onetime gift and must last a lifetime. What are we doing to take of our physical health? Are we careful what food and drink we put into our body? Do we have a regular exercise program? Cicero, a Roman philosopher, statesman and lawyer recognized over 2,000 years ago that exercise is important to not only physical health but mental also. He said, “It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor.”
On the first weekend in January my wife and I went walking around Town Lake in Austin, Texas. There were hundreds of people out exercising, which you’d expect at a time when people make New Year’s resolutions. While on our several mile trek, we decided to conduct a little research. We counted 335 individuals that day but only 12 were considered being overweight. I was a little shocked that there were not more out since it was the beginning of the year. Then it hit me that what we were observing that day was not the general population but mostly those who have realized that they only get one body and they need to take care of it. The point is that vigorous exercise is obviously associated with health. I’m sure we would have gotten far different results if we had gone to an “all you can eat buffet” and did a similar count.
It takes time and effort to take care of our cars and the same applies to our bodies. As Charles Buxton said: “You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.”
- People don’t find time to exercise--they make time to exercise
- We should take better care of our bodies than our cars
- There are multiple health benefits to having a regular exercise program
- It takes self-discipline to take good care of yourself but it is worth the price
Start eating better today and have a regular exercise program to enjoy better physical and mental health.