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Staying active and healthy for the rest of your life

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If the start of the new year has you thinking about health and wellness we'll introduce you to a man who has been active his whole life. After facing an almost fatal heart problem he's now spreading the message of staying mentally and physically active more than ever.

If the start of the new year has you thinking about health and wellness we'll introduce you to a man who has been active his whole life. After facing an almost fatal heart problem he's now spreading the message of staying mentally and physically active more than ever.

"Get your body strong, your mind strong. Take time, make some time," says health and wellness enthusiast, Mike Jackson.

You'd never know Mike Jackson is 80! He's lived and worked around the world and always incorporates physical activity.

"I enjoy downhill skiing. I've been fortunate enough to have skied in Europe and Japan. I have a son who lives in Denver. I also play pickle ball once a week," says Jackson.

After traveling the globe for his career, Jackson and his wife decided to settle down and retire in Traverse City about 15 years ago.

"I was active and retired here. I felt really good about retiring," says Jackson.

It wasn't until one day back in 2002 while out running when something changed.

"One day I came home and was really tired. I explained to my wife and she said I should go to the doctor," says Jackson.

A series of tests later revealed something eye opening.

"They found a severe blockage in my left main artery which is known a lot of times as the 'widow maker' because it doesn't have symptoms other than being tired. I needed a quadruple bypass," says Jackson.

Heart disease runs in Jackson's family. He's lost his dad, his mom and his brother to heart problems. So, catching the blockage was critical. No sooner than he had his open heart surgery, Jackson was in cardiac rehab for a few months building his body back up.

"When you go through that they say 'what are you goals?' I said, 'I run in the Cherry Festival race every year and this year I want a medal' I did it! I got a third place medal that year," says Jackson.

Part of the idea to keep moving has a regional initiative called Shape Up North helping people find ways to stay active and healthy.

"It was created to help keep reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. So, that includes being physically active, connecting people to local nutritious fruits and vegetables. Then we're working with our healthcare providers, community, local business and schools," says Munson Medical Center community health manager, Christie Nowak.

The website provides people of all ages and physical activity levels with local information.

"We talked to community members when developing Shape Up North. We really wanted to make shape up north's website a one stop shop where people can get connected," say Nowak.

Nowak's biggest message is for people to simply start where you are.

"We are all on a different journey to a healthy life. I think we start the new year think about what small things you can change in your everyday life that will create long lasting behavioral changes," says Nowak.

"Remember things are always brighter if you stay healthy. You can think of all the negative things in the world but if your mind and body are strong and you stay active it just helps you feel better. When you feel better you're going to have a better outlook on life," says Jackson.

Besides staying physically active Jackson's also involved with several boards and organizations in the Traverse City area. He's most recently starting taking art classes to keep his mind sharp he said.

For a direct link to Shape Up North click here.

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