Now, more than ever, we’re in desperate need of some inspiring stories — feel-good stories that give us hope and leave us at least a little optimistic about the future.
Well, I give you Ed Gleason.
The Dover Township man is set to turn 76 on March 24. That puts him right in the middle of the age bracket most likely to suffer serious consequences from the coronavirus.
Gleason, however, is far from your typical septuagenarian.
In fact, there are folks half his age who are only half as fit.
Gleason recently went over the 30,000-mile mark on his Sears FXC5000 stationary bike that he purchased way back in 1971 and keeps in the spare room of his mobile home.
Most every day, Gleason hops on that bike and pedals about five miles, keeping up a rigorous 25 mph pace. That gives him approximately 150 miles on the bike per month and about 1,800 miles per year.
Every six-to-eight years, he clicks off another 10,000 miles. He hit 10,000 in 2005 and 20,000 in 2013 before just recently passing 30,000.
"I take care of myself," he said in a notable understatement.
Fitness regimen: Gleason's fitness regimen, however, doesn't stop with his stationary bike.
He also does some walking and and outdoor bike riding around the Tall Oaks Estates Mobile Home Park where he lives. He also does some light weight training with dumbbells and is a big believer in the health benefits of apple-cider vinegar. He loads up on fruits and vegetables and tries to limit his sugar intake.
"My (health) numbers are pretty good," Gleason said. "Nobody’s perfect. You have to have some of that good stuff sometimes."
You can hardly argue with Gleason's results.
"Energized Eddie": Not surprisignly, Gleason is justifiably proud of his fitness accomplishments. In fact, he likes to bill himself as "Energized Eddie." It's a nickname that seems like a perfect fit for the Connecticut native who has lived in York County for more than three decades.
"People don’t believe that I'm (going to be) 76. They say I look quite younger. I hear it every day," he said.
Gleason retired in 2006 and his wife died a couple years back, but through the good times and the bad times, he pedals on.
He said it helps that he never smoked and never drank.
He also never had children.
"They age you 10 years," joked Gleason, who can be described as a bit of a "character," but in the very best sense of the word.
Trying to pass on his lifestyle: He also tries to pass on his healthy lifestyle to others when he can.
"You’re either going to do it or not going to do it. Simple as that," he said. "I try to pass it on to people, but too many folks are just laying around ... They eat (too much) and don’t do nothing. ... It's not a good thing. ... You read the obituaries and it’s scary. I want to live as long as I can."
Gleason also appears to be blessed with good genes. His mother died just shy of her 96th birthday.
Other interests: In addition to staying fit, Gleason goes to church religiously on Sundays and enjoys going to car shows while also taking care of his prized 2001 Dodge Dakota.
One thing that Gleason has not done is join the digital age.
"I'm not into computers," he said. "Machines are taking over, but they’re not going to take over me."
Well, "Energized Eddie" may not be into computers, but he's definitely into fitness and living a healthy lifestyle.
He's also an example to all of us about what can be accomplished with a little grit and determination.
In the grand scheme of things, it's just a small story, but it's a story that's more than a little inspiring and a story we can use now more than ever.
Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.