A week ago, my father underwent a risky surgery. The doctors weren’t sure if they should do it, given his old age, but we all agreed that letting the disease take its course was not an option.

After a week, he seems to be recovering well. He was in the ICU for three days, but that seems to be a normal procedure in these cases. He may be home early next week. The doctors are impressed.

He was healthy his entire life (this was his first serious surgery). Genetics play a major role here for sure, but there is something else: he likes to walk.

He walked his entire life, never bought a car, never took a bus to/from work. It’s easy to estimate how much he walked over a 27-year period, when we were living in the same house and he was working in the same factory: around 52,000 kilometers (32,000 miles)! That’s more than five round trips from New York to San Francisco. Walking. And he kept walking after retiring.

In an era of instant gratification and no-time-to-exercise, my father is reaping the rewards of a lifestyle he chose many, many years ago.

Funny thing: he was unaware of this, and neither did I. I was just trying to cheer him up before surgery and came up with this estimate. Now we are playing with the data, converting 52,000 km to a more manageable unit (130 round trips to his home town), finding his longest walk… This is something that he’s proud of and likes to talk about.

And you know what? I didn’t have to make a chart, I didn’t have to add junk, I didn’t have to sell my findings. Just a perfect match between data and audience. I will never have that smile from my audience again.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to follow my father’s steps (literally). I’m already 49,000 kilometers behind him.