A Regular Exercise Routine May Have Saved Dan Phelan’s Life

Published on June 28, 2018


Five years ago, Dan Phelan nearly lost his life to a stroke. At the age of 50, he was admitted to San Francisco General Hospital with a droopy face, paralyzed right arm, and a lack of balance.

“It was unexpected and frightening,” he said. “Luckily, I recovered quickly and the doctors attributed my recovery to being young and in good shape.”

The doctors told Phelan they couldn’t determine the cause of his stroke but emphasized that his excellent physical health and the fact that he wasn’t a smoker aided in his recovery. “I learned that you can’t take your health for granted. You need to find some type of exercise you like and stick with it. It’s never too late or too early and it sure made a difference for me!”

Phelan’s exercise routine includes trips to the UC San Francisco Bakar Fitness & Recreation Center at Mission Bay at 5:30 in the morning three times a week for a swim. “It’s something I do and I enjoy,” he said. “It’s how I start my day. I sleep better, I’m more relaxed, and I get antsy and irritable if I’m not working out.”

Phelan occasionally takes advantage of the fitness center’s yoga classes and rents the paddle boards for a trip down Mission Creek but his primary goal is to maintain his health and energy by swimming. “I’m trying to ensure my health as I age so I can be active and enjoy retirement aquatics.”