Man avoids needing knee replacement thanks to his dedication at the gym

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Heart disease, knee replacements and eye surgery, those are just some of the things one North Platte man has been able to fight against due to his dedication to the gym.

80 year old Sam Bedke works out several times a week in North Platte at the Nebraska Athletic Club. (Source: Holly Barraclough, KNOP TV)

Sam Bedke is 80-years-old. He moved to North Platte from Omaha in 1989 to work for the railroad.

Bedke said he suffered a major knee injury while at work. He did physical therapy on it and joined a gym. He said he toured all the ones in North Platte and ended on the Nebraska Athletic Club. He has now been going to the NAC for over 20 years.

Bedke said after his knee injury he was told he would need a knee replacement. He said going to the gym helped him avoid that surgery. "It helped build the muscle around it to protect it because they had to take out all my meniscus tissue and it was bone on bone for a while and it’s not that way anymore," said Bedke.

Bedke attributes the consistent exercise for his health. "I want freedom. Staying well, it’s such freedom. I can still do stuff and this is the only thing that keeps a person going really when you get this age."

He said another reason that continually motivates him to continue coming to the gym is his hereditary pre-disposition.

"My dad and my grandpa Bedke both died when they were 69 and they looked like they were in good shape," said Bedke, "They were farmers, but they died at 69 with heart issues so that keeps me coming here too. I’m 80 so it’s paying off."

He said through working out, he has obtained freedom. "I want my freedom so I go, that’ll keep me free."

Beyond his gene concerns and knee injury, Bedke said his eyes have stayed healthy as well. "My eye doctor, Jeff O’Connor, told me a few years ago when he did the complete test of them, he said keep working out, that really helps your eyes and it has, my eyes are great."

Gym owner, Tommy Vieyra, said it's never too late to start. "Change your mindset," said Vieyra, "Don’t think just because I’m up in the years it’s too late to get started, it’s not."

Vieyra said regular exercises can treat many ailments. "A lot of studies have been done to show that fitness and training, not just walking the dog, but fitness and training, is kind like the new medicine. They’re finding out there’s so many more benefits that can help anybody physically, mentally, emotionally."

Bedke wanted to invite everyone of all ages to join him. "Come on in, it’s more fun in here than the coffee shop."