Meet Our Step Challenge Spokesperson: Jonathan Bernstein
I’m Jonathan and I’ll be representing Babb as a spokesperson and walker/runner in the SparkPittsburgh Step Challenge. When I am not in the office or out seeing clients, I enjoy spending my free time with my family, running, and working on our old Craftsman style home.
I don’t always enjoy the thought of being active until I get up and actually get started. Once I am going, there is no stopping me. My family and I live 5 minutes away from North Park, so this is a fantastic place for me to run, release stress, walk with my wife, and play with the kiddos.
Being active was not something that was a priority in my childhood. Bad habits for me were formed early and I, still to this day, have to make a conscious effort to stay on track. That is why this challenge is beneficial not just for me, but my family and others as well. This challenge gives me an opportunity to push myself, but also be held accountable to stay active.
My inactivity and bad habits led me to a very bad point in 2011. It was Christmas time and we were with family. My father in law was having heart issues and had a home blood pressure device. Each of us were passing it around and it ended up on my arm. When the final beep sounded on the machine, the numbers read 210/105. My wife started to cry. I had no idea what the numbers meant, let alone the fact that I could have had a heart attack right then and there. I saw a doctor the next week and he confirmed the bad news. The doctor told me that I may need to be on blood pressure medicine for most of my life. She also said that if I didn’t change my life, I could be dead in 5 years.
I decided at that moment that I would be off the medicine in 6 months. The doctor told me there was no way, but I proved her wrong. After starting out walking around my block, I found that I could run it. That turned into 2 blocks, then three. I signed up to do the Pittsburgh Half Marathon as a way to hold myself accountable. Six months later I was off the blood pressure medicine and ran the half marathon 8 months after that. I completed 13.1 miles in less than 3 hours.
By no means have I been consistent to lose weight or be steady in my habits, but I look forward to this challenge as a way to continue with a healthier lifestyle, being held accountable, and competing with my friends, co-workers, and other local and national companies.
I continue to push myself to be a better husband, dad, employee and friend. My goal in being a spokesperson is to inspire one person who has struggled with weight, exercise consistency, or accountability to take one more step in making their life healthier and medication free.