September 10, 2014 – Frank Toth is the epitome of an active older adult. This Mississauga resident is committed to keeping fit and spreading the word about active transportation in the city, especially among seniors. Frank is the 2013 winner of the Phil Green Recognition Award, presented at today’s City Council meeting.
The Phil Green Recognition Award is presented annually by the Mississauga Cycling Advisory Committee (MCAC) to a person or persons who have demonstrated exemplary effort in promoting or furthering cycling or other forms of sustainable active transportation in the City of Mississauga.
Frank Toth is a remarkable example of someone who is determined to keep seniors active through cycling and walking in Mississauga. Frank cycled as child but stopped after an accident when he was 10 years-old. He got back on a bike when he was 71 and hasn’t looked back since. He founded the GTA West Outdoors Group, who meet regularly for rides and walks throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Through this group he encourages other seniors to keep healthy and fit by maintaining an active lifestyle.
Frank is a great supporter of the MCAC Community Rides that occur throughout the city and is an enthusiastic and reliable volunteer at these events. PHOTO: Frank is pictured with Phil Green during the Clarkson Community Ride in July 2014.
Here is how Frank feels about bicycles and cycling...in his own inspiring words!
"When I was about ten, I stopped riding my bicycle due to a fall that required twelve stitches. I didn't get back on a bike until I was 70. I started riding again because I had difficulty walking due to a sprained ankle. I was despondent because the pain in my ankle and lower leg lasted for several months, and I had to use a cane in order to get around. I was badly in need of exercise and I was becoming overweight. A friend suggested that I get a bicycle, but I wondered how I could manage that due to the pain. But at his urging, I went to Canadian Tire and purchased a small bicycle with 16-inch wheels. I was delighted that this worked out for me. In the beginning I pedaled with only one foot, but eventually the pain went away, and I moved up to a larger bike. I then found and joined a local group of walkers and cyclists. That marked the beginning of a new life for me. In my 70s I began to feel like I was in my early 50s again. My health improved, and so did my disposition. I even took up roller skating again.
"Walking and riding with others broadened my interest in many subjects, and I do believe it turned me into a better person. Instead of dwelling on my own problems in life, I became more focused on helping others. I've taken much more interest in community affairs, and I've grown to have greater admiration for our civic and political leaders and for the hard work they do toward making our city a better place to live and work.
"I can't say enough about how walking and especially cycling every day have brought about big improvements in my life. I became less dependent on my car, and even sold it about two years ago. Due to the many trails and bicycle lanes in Mississauga, I can ride almost anywhere. Neighbouring communities are also doing nicely at improving the cycling environment. So I've cycled with friends to the other side of Hamilton and to the east of Toronto. And it's really wonderful nowadays that, if we want to, we can put our bike at the front of a bus or bring it aboard a train.
"I still am a bit overweight, but not nearly as much as I was before taking up cycling. Some of my friends and I often encourage each other with the phrase "energy begets energy." We've found that even though cycling is tiring at times, by sticking with it our overall energy and stamina seem to continually improve. We sleep deeper and better and we hardly ever have those awful drowsy feelings in the afternoon that plagued us in our less active past. We're more conscious now of watching what we eat and of leading healthier lives. Another favourite phrase we have is, "Feel tired? Go for a walk or ride!" Our legs and our bicycles seem to remind us that life can almost always be better. I'm almost 80 now, and many folks my age need to carefully watch their blood pressure. I check my pressure often, and I'm happy to say that walking and cycling have done wonders for me in that area.
"Still, older folks need to consult their doctor when thinking about including a bicycle in their overall fitness efforts. A doctor can advise us regarding our limits and capabilities and what we should avoid doing.
"None of us can know how long we will live with good health and energy. We all hope for the best, but heredity, accidents, past mistakes and other factors can interfere with our goals. But, all things considered, I think we do ourselves a great favour by giving walking and cycling a try and sticking with them as long as we can."
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2014 Community Rides series
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