Touch the Sign: Brian Miller’s Fit After Fifty Story

by Alison McIrvin
A man holding his backpack while hiking through rocks and a pond

As a competitive high school athlete, Brian Miller can’t remember a time in his past when activities and sports were not a part of his life. However, a knee blowout during high school basketball changed his life, not only in his youth, but for many years going forward. Surgeries to repair the ACL and MCL allowed him to return to a competitive and active lifestyle well into his 30s.

After high school, playing competitive men’s basketball, softball, racquetball, and tennis kept him fit. However, his old knee injury caused him to favor his bad knee and to force play and stress onto his good leg. Eventually, this took its toll on his knee and ankle; and his 40s and 50s saw Brian slowing down due to the pain in his good leg.

Although he enjoyed hiking and mountain biking at that time, it came at a cost. For every activity he performed, he would spend the next 10 days icing and elevating to reduce swelling and pain. Just getting up from a chair and walking downstairs was painful.

The pain over the next few years became unbearable, until Brian was finally convinced to have both knees completely replaced at age 58. Motivated by his love to hike and be active, Brian had his right knee replaced in June 2018 and his left in the following September. Eight weeks to the day after his last surgery, he completed a moderate 5.26-mile climb! No issues, no pain! Next up: more workouts to regain his fitness levels lost over the last 10 years or so.

When asked what kept him motivated during those last few years of declining health and post-surgery, Brian shared his “touch the sign” approach. He has always been goal-oriented, so in his early days of hiking, he noticed the trail signs and would tell himself to make it to the next (or last) one before turning around and heading back home. Brian learned to apply this to his business and personal life, touching “signs” as incremental checks along the way to a larger goal. He prints his goals and posts them where he is reminded daily of the next sign to be touched. Clearly, this approach has worked, and Brian always has another sign to strive for.

As with all of us, Brian’s fitness and nutrition are closely linked. During the years of his declining fitness, he also developed Type 2 diabetes. Switching to a modified Atkins diet of no sugars, low carbs, and high fats that also included low-glycemic fruits and lots of vegetables has been successful for Brian.

Additionally, he found a Pruvit® powdered drink product that successfully lowers his glucose to under 100 and keeps it that way without any medications. Brian is stoked about that!

Now that Brian has successfully undergone two knee replacements, he is thankful to have pain-free knees for the first time in decades. This absence of pain is Brian’s motivation to keep touching those signs that take him toward better fitness and a wonderfully active life. What more direction could he need?

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