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SENIORS Our Monthly Feature

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Bernie Wlock leads the crowd of runners in the Learn to Run Clinic in 2015.

On the run with Bernie Wlock By Devin Wilger Staff Writer

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The snow is melting, the sun is out, and the runners are starting to return to Yorkton streets. For the past decade, Bernie Wlock has been helping people learn to run, with clinics to help beginning runners learn how to run and prepare to handle a 5 km run. Wlock’s early training happened in high school, when he was a student at St. Joseph’s College in the city. Wlock competed

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in cross country, one of the top three in the school, regularly competing in provincials beside students from YRHS. But Wlock didn’t train the same way as other kids. Unlike most of the runners in school, he had to get back home to work on the farm after class. Luckily, his work wound up being pretty good training for a runner. “That’s where I got my practice training, chasing cattle around, going to get cattle to the pasture, running through sommerfallow which wasn’t easy.” After high school, he

didn’t run as much, but took it up again at the first Terry Fox Run. After that, he took up the sport again, running with the Yorkton Yaks running club, and continuing on after they changed their name to the Yorkton Pacers. He has been hooked pretty much, and he said that for long-time runners, they have to admit they are hooked for life. Wlock isn’t the oldest member of the running club, but he and the older regulars agree that they don’t want to stop. “It’s an addiction, pretty much.”

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“I should have done this years ago.”

If there’s one thing that has changed in the years since he began, it’s the shoes. He started running in New Balance shoes, which were much heavier than running shoes used today. He compares them to running in army boots. Wlock has been a running coach for the past 10 years with the Learn to Run clinics, which have been running for the past 12 years. The clinics began as a way to get people ready for the Health Foundation’s Charity Road Race, which began around the same time. Wlock focuses on runners who are just starting out. “It’s wonderful because they don’t know if they can do it or not. You have to be very encouraging. I had a rough time in 2016, health wise, and now I know when I try to get people concentrating and pushing themselves, I know how badly they feel. They can’t do the run, they get

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wlock Continued from Page 14 tired... Now I know what you’re going through, because I was in the same situation.” As a running coach, he said that he can tell from shoes whether people are going to stick with the sport or stop. Bad shoes

make running more difficult, they do damage to the body, and people with bad shoes get discouraged and quit. He recommends that if someone wants to try running, they need to get good shoes because that will make a big difference.

“Anybody can try it, all they have to have is the ambition to do it.” The closest he has come to stopping was in 2016, when confronted with health problems. While he couldn’t run during that time, running helped him get through

Greg Ottenbreit and Bernie Wlock run during the Bernie’s Journey charity run in 2018.

it, because he was in excellent shape beyond the cancer diagnosis he had to deal with. “It’s probably what kept me alive. I was in good shape, my heart was in good shape, my lungs were in good shape. I had those things going for me.” He admits that getting older makes him more prone to injury, and he said that for him and people his age, the important thing is to listen to what your body is telling you. “If you feel a twinge or a little bit that you don’t feel so great, back off a bit. Go walking instead. As soon as it heals up, you can start again. If you run through it, nine times out of ten, it will hurt more and you’ll be off longer.” If you want to learn to run, Wlock will teach you. The learn to run clinics begin on the second of May. They meet at the Yorkton Regional High School on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Bernie Wlock today.

Plan regular exercise activities for health In an ideal world, people young and old exercise each day. But as men and women age, finding time to work out is not so easy. Commitments to work and family often take precedence over daily exercise. As a result, many people 50 and over might not have exercised regularly or at all in many years. But as children grow up or even move out, people facing down their golden years are often compelled to get back in the gym. That’s a wise decision that can increase a person’s chances of being healthy and happy in retirement. But before beginning a new exercise regimen, men and women over 50 should take heed of the following safety tips to ensure their efforts are not derailed by accident or injury. • Speak with your physician. The National Institute on Aging notes that even people with chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis can be physically active. However, anyone with such a condition and even those who don’t fall into those categories should consult with their physicians and receive a full physical before exercising. Such a consultation and

checkup can shed light on any unknown issues, and physicians can offer advice on how to safely manage any problems that may arise. • Begin with lowintensity exercises. Even if you feel great and have maintained a healthy weight, don’t push yourself too hard at the start. Your body needs time to adjust to physical activity, so choose low-intensity exercises like walking and light strength training so your muscles, tendons and ligaments can adjust. Initially, exercise every other day so your body has ample time to recover between workouts. • Choose the right places to exercise outdoors. Exercising outside provides the best of both worlds for many people, providing a chance to get healthy all while enjoying the great outdoors. When exercising outdoors, choose areas that are not remote and where others can see you and offer help if you suffer an injury or have an accident. Boardwalks, public parks and outdoor gyms are safer places to work out than wooded areas or other places well off the beaten path. • Stay hydrated. Many people lose their sense

of thirst as they age. But just because you aren’t thirsty does not mean you don’t need water, espe-

cially while exercising. Water regulates body temperature and lubricates the joints, thereby

decreasing your risk of injury during exercise. Exercising after 50 can help people live healthy well into retire-

ment. But caution must be exercised when aging men and women return to exercise after a long break.

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