After 177 Marathons and Two Heart Attacks, 77-year Old Jose Keeps Moving Thanks to Cardiac Rehab Experts at Galter LifeCenter


Stefan Avoids Serious Risks of AFib

Long-time runner Jose from the Forest Glen area is back to his active ways at age 77 following a heart attack thanks to the expert support and guidance of his cardiac rehab team at Galter LifeCenter, Chicago’s only certified medical fitness center.  

Jose was not always a fitness fanatic. He credits his mentor, a principle at a local school he worked at, for inspiring him to give up smoking and drinking and begin waking up at 4:30 a.m. to walk just one block. This later increased to several blocks, then running one mile, then three miles and then signing up for a 10K followed by a half marathon. Soon he began running marathons—and running them often! 

Despite being an avid runner, Jose had a heart attack in 2002. Following open heart surgery and a valve-repair procedure, Jose joined the cardiac rehab program at Galter LifeCenter, hoping to return to running with help from the dedicated team of nurses and exercise physiologists.  After completing his initial cardiac rehab and receiving support, guided exercise and diet changes, Jose remained in the program to continue reaping its benefits. During this time he returned to run 29 marathons.  

“The GLC team makes sure I am taking care of myself and encourages me to eat healthy,” said Jose. “I walk around the track with other people and I enjoy exercising. The staff has taught me that exercise is medicine and I am very grateful to them for the knowledge they share and for the support and love they provide.”  

“Working with Jose is wonderful,” said Kayla McCall, a clinical exercise physiologist at Galter LifeCenter. “He is optimistic and positive. Everyone lights up when he comes to rehab I love working with him. Studies show that cardiac rehab increases functional capacity, makes everyday activities easier, decreases mortality and hospital readmissions. Plus, meeting other participants can make a positive difference.”

Jose looks forward to a busy and active future with an open and  positive attitude. Today, Jose has run 177 marathons in three continents. When he’s not running, he enjoys spending much of his time with his wife, Elizabeth who is his biggest fan. “My wife has given me a lot of support which helps keep me young at heart and encourages me to maintain my health,” he said.  “And I take one day at a time, when I wake up it’s always a gift.” 

Learn more about our cardiac rehab program.

By Bill Ligas | Published May 16, 2019.

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