Despite freezing rain and icy water, one man from Brooklyn, New York continues his daily running and swimming regimen.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (JANUARY 18, 2011) REUTERS -For more than three years, Gary Atlas of Brooklyn, New York has been running and swimming at the beach every day, no matter the weather outside.
Atlas, 58, lives along the Atlantic Ocean in the Brighton Beach neighborhood of New York. Atlas said for the past few years, he has been running about six miles wearing little more than shorts and shoes along the beach and swimming in the ocean everyday. Atlas said the searing summer heat nor a brutal winter blizzard will deter his routine.
"Can't beat the feeling. Everyday, it's just a great way to start the day. Some people need a cigarette and a cup of coffee, I do my run and my swim, and it keeps me charged, it keeps me ready for the day. Everybody should try it, at least once in their life," Atlas told Reuters on a particularly cold and rainy Tuesday morning (January 18). After his swim, Atlas does not grab a blanket. He simply warms up his hands with a pair of dry socks.
Atlas said that was his 1214 consecutive day of exercising outdoors. And his neighbors have taken notice.
Sebastian Mehmedov, who is originally from Bulgaria and has been living in Brooklyn for about 20 years, said Gary Atlas is an inspiration.
"It's amazing. The first time I see him I thought something was wrong, but now I think he's doing a great job. There no people like him here. He's the one who runs everyday, rain, sun, hot, cold. He runs and swims everyday," said Mehmedov.
Atlas said he began his exercise routine in September 2007 to relieve the stress of caring for his dying mother.
"My mom was dying of emphysema, and I was starting to break down myself, mentally and physically. So I needed a little time to recharge my battery, so I could deal with her illness a little bit better and keep my patience, and that's basically how it all started. From there it just grew and grew until I couldn't stop doing it. It was an obsession, a compulsion, an addiction. Now it's just part of my life. It's a lifestyle and I don't think I'll ever stop," he said.
Atlas said daily exercise has given him physical energy and mental balance, and adds, he has not gotten sick since starting his routine.