Since then, his credentials and experiences have continued to pile up. He serves as the pediatric rheumatology fellowship director at UMN, chairs the Scientific Advisory Council of the Rheumatology Research Foundation and is a member of the ACR’s Committee on Research.
‘Physicians need to have something other than work to do that’s a fun hobby.’ —Dr. Binstadt
Dr. Binstadt says waterskiing helps him relax, is fun and helps clear his mind. But it has another benefit, too. Since he cares for pediatric patients, he says talking about the sport helps him better relate to them.
“It’s important for kids to be active,” he says. “If they ask me what things I do, I give them a list of activities that includes waterskiing. This is what motivates me to stay in shape.”
Waterskiing is physically demanding, and at age 48, Dr. Binstadt feels the stress and strain on his body. To help stay fit year-round, he runs almost five miles, up to five times each week, occasionally competes in 5K races, lifts weights and plays tennis with his two daughters—13-year-old Kensi and 10-year-old Annika. Dr. Binstadt says he played Division III college tennis and is still “pretty good.”
His wife, Emily, an emergency medicine physician, and daughters also water ski. Since his family belongs to a club off a lake that rents motorboats, waterskiing on weekends has become a family priority. Even the family dog, a 4-year-old Vizsla named Penny, enjoys her own water sport—floating on an inner tube.
Over the years, Dr. Binstadt has learned a few ski tricks. He can slalom, jump over the wake of the boat and ski backward. He’s now teaching himself wakeboarding, which is a relatively new sport. People strap their feet onto a short, wide board that resembles a surfboard, are pulled behind a motorboat and—if gutsy—perform acrobatic maneuvers.
His advice to novice water-skiers is to keep at it. “I’ve never seen anyone get up on the first try,” he says. “It takes repetition. You have to bend your knees and let the boat do the work to pull you up.”
One downside, at least in Stillwater, Minn., where he and his family live: The season for the sport is too short. Unless you wear a wetsuit, people can only water ski from June through mid-September.
“Physicians need to have something other than work to do that’s a fun hobby,” says Dr. Binstadt. “There’s the physical thrill of waterskiing, an adrenaline rush that no other sport or activity gives me. It keeps me focused.”