Al Roker Opens Up About His Health Journey—and How He Holds Himself Accountable

Al Roker Opens Up About His Health Journey—and How He Holds Himself Accountable featured image
Getty Images / Barry Brecheisen

Al Roker graces the cover of Woman’s World magazine’s July 8 issue, where he gets refreshingly candid about his health journey. The Today weatherman, 69, overcame prostate cancer after his 2020 diagnosis, undergoing successful surgery. Afterward, his surgeon recommended he start walking as exercise. “I started doing that, and enjoyed it,” he told the outlet. This inspired him to create the Start TODAY program, a platform encouraging others to get out, walk, and prioritize their health in various ways, such as eating healthier and focusing on mental well-being.

Ahead, find some of the most notable takeaways from Roker’s interview with the magazine.

On learning to “reset…”

“In a journey to healing, I just think accepting what you can do and when you can do it is important. I’m one of those all-or-nothing people. If I’m not perfect on my food intake, I think, ‘Oh well, then what the heck — I’m going to go hog wild.’ But that’s not right. Something is better than nothing. So instead, I tell myself, ‘Okay, so I strayed a bit. Let’s pull back, start again and do better.’”

On giving yourself a break…

Not every day is an exercise day. “I do have to have a chat with myself every now and then to tell myself to get out there [regarding walking 10,000 steps per day.] “But you know, sometimes, you’re just not there. And you know what? Give yourself grace. Maybe this is your body and mind’s way of telling you to take a day off. If you do, that’s fine. No harm, no foul.”

On surrounding yourself with the right people…

“A year and a half ago, I had pretty serious health issues with blood clots, but the greatest gift my wife Deborah gave me was that I never knew how sick I was. I concentrated on just being positive about getting better. It speaks to two things: a positive attitude and having an advocate. Don’t be too proud to ask for help. They sweat the small stuff. I could just be free to feel better.”

On practicing gratitude…

Cancer puts things in perspective. I feel grateful to still be here. I feel grateful that my wife, daughters and my family rallied around me. I got so much positive feedback and prayer from total strangers. I was grateful to know that the people who I love and who love me all knew how each other felt. Not that I was getting ready to cash in—although Craig Melvin of NBC News said, ‘Al Roker is in Heaven’s waiting room’—but I’ve come away with an intense sense of gratitude.”

On finding your happy place…

“My happy place right now is my granddaughter. She’s about a year old now, and I just like spending time with her.” Another: “My job I’m very fortunate—I love what I do. I’m riding with some great folks and all my producers. Willard Scott once told me, ‘In a job like this, you stay on the train until they throw you off and even then, you try to get back on.’ I love being on this train.”

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