Tom played football at the University of Minnesota and was the MVP of the 1959 team. He also was a three-year starter for the Gophers baseball team, which won the National Championship in 1960. Physical contact and injuries during his college years led to problems:
Both shoulders replaced with artificial parts; left hip replacement; right big toe fusion; elbow and knee surgeries, plus two back surgeries; and a heart condition that required a stent in a serious place, called the “Widow Maker” artery. None of this is obvious when you look at him today. He’s trim, the picture of fitness. But, you say, he needs to restrict his physical activity, given his history? Not a chance.
Tom does serious strength training three days a week. By serious I mean he is lifting the heaviest weights he can for three sets of eight to ten reps. He works a lot on his shoulders in order to build up the muscles around the artificial joints. He also does five days per week of cardio work, primarily on the treadmill — as much as he can as long as he can. This doesn’t count four days of golf each week. Don’t ask me how he does all of this — I have no idea.
After the stent was installed he asked his cardiologist whether he should continue his regimen. His doctor said, “Tom, when you get off the treadmill I want you to be crawling. The more you can do the better.” He also supported his strength-training program.
Tom’s physical problems are due to his strenuous, competitive activities as a young man. The fact that he is alive, healthy, physically active and fit is a direct result of his exercise regimen today.