Fit for the job

Thomas McMahon
Posted on April 2, 2013

I just hope to be half as fit and active as Earl Rineer when I’m 60, let alone 90.

Earl, who marked nine decades in January, has been committed to the safe transportation of students since he began driving yellow buses in 1976.

These days, Earl works for Pennsylvania’s Sague Bus Service, training school bus drivers and getting behind the wheel himself when needed. His son Jerry Rineer told me that his father still walks or rides his bike to work.
What impressed me even more is that, as he recently demonstrated to Jerry, Earl maintains a daily regimen of push-ups, sit-ups, leg lifts and other exercises — in the morning and at night.

Hearing this also made me feel a bit guilty. I’m not even half Earl’s age, and I’ve been griping about the running pains I’ve been experiencing lately but seemed immune from in my “younger days.”

I am training for a marathon (Los Angeles), which will take a toll on just about anyone. Still, I had started to wonder whether I was getting too old for this sort of thing.

Earl’s story gives me hope of staying fit in my later years of life.

People on the move
I know that there are many people in the pupil transportation community who make a habit of exercising. We’ve written about them on occasion.

For example, John Clements, director of transportation for Kings Canyon Unified School District in California, does daily exercises and then kayaks and cycles on weekends. Molly Kirk, a school bus driver for Florida’s Brevard Public Schools, runs marathons.

At industry conferences, I’ve talked to numerous folks who get up bright and early — make that dark and early — to go for a run before the day’s activities begin. I’ve wanted to join them, but they tend to start at some wee hour when I prefer to be sleeping, not running. (For example, Patrick Willi of School Training Solutions did a running tour of Memphis, Tenn., before the sun even came up.)

On the other hand, I also know that many people in the school bus business struggle with health and weight issues. The stress, the schedule and the sedentary tendency of a lot of pupil transportation positions — whether they’re on the bus or in the office — can make it hard to stay in shape. Yet those same factors are also important reasons to exercise, which will help keep you healthy and energized to meet the demands of the job.

Go for the goal
It’s not too late to make a New Year’s resolution. Consider committing to a daily brisk walk in the morning, at lunch or after work. Or maybe try a low-impact workout like swimming or aqua-jogging.

You may feel like you can’t make time to exercise, but if you do, you just might find yourself more focused and productive while you’re working.

If you need inspiration, think about Earl Rineer, 90 years young, cranking out some push-ups and then riding his bike to work, dedicated as ever to the precious cargo riding big, yellow buses.   

Related Topics: driver wellness

Thomas McMahon Executive Editor
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