Life can go on after a heart attack

Despite having a heart attack 10 years ago, Keith Bishop has continued running long distances and has some words of advice for others. 

If you rest you rust – those are the words Keith Bishop lives by.

It was nearly 30 years ago that Keith decided it was time to get in shape, after a less than positive cholesterol check-up.

“I was also somewhat overweight and unfit,” he explains.

Keith realised that if he was going to live to a ripe old age, he’d better do something about it smartly.

“So I joined our company-provided fitness centre and attended regularly. I also decided that when I got to 45 I would do the Rotorua Marathon and that when I got to 50 I would do the Coast to Coast. I told everyone about this so there was no backing down!”

Now aged 67, Keith has tackled the Rotorua Marathon and Coast to Coast four times each, not to mention a bunch of ‘smaller’ races in between.

But despite his fitness levels, Keith’s family history of heart disease eventually reared its head – he had a heart attack ten years ago.

“My father suffered from angina attacks in his 60's and died when he was 68. I used to smoke but stopped over 30 years ago. I exercised regularly, ate the right things mostly, and got fit, so it really only leaves the family history.”

Being in good shape at the time of his heart attack was a major reason he survived, which is why he tries to “keep fit and rolling on”.

Keith is now training for the Auckland Half Marathon for the 4th time and is raising money to support the Heart Foundation’s fight against New Zealand’s biggest killer, heart disease. He has set himself a fundraising target of $1500.

“By donating through my everyday hero fundraising page you will be helping the Heart Foundation continue its vital work in research, cardiac rehabilitation, education programmes and resources.”

Keith says he feels a sense of indebtedness to the Heart Foundation, because the research it funds ultimately leads to improved treatment in New Zealand hospitals.

He says life can go on after surviving a heart attack and offers the following advice to people who have experienced one:

  • Give up stress - definitely not good for you
  • Carpe diem
  • Go to rehabilitation classes
  • Follow medical advice, particularly with regard to medication. (“I would rather not have to take medication and there is lot of debate around statins but on balance I think that in my case they have done more good than harm.”)
  • Count yourself lucky to be one of the people who survived
  • Eat the right things

Keith, from all of us at the Heart Foundation, thanks for your amazing support. We couldn’t continue our work without people like you.