Into my 15th year of practice now, and over 30 years since I started playing sport, I have seen a wide range of pros and cons to exercise. I’ve been able to see what happens to the body when it is overloaded, underloaded, inappropriately loaded and any variation of these.
I now spend a large amount of my clinical practice with late stage pain management, whereby folks have been through all manner of management options for their pain, unsuccessfully. This is an unfortunate observation and a challenging space to work in.
Despite the known limitations of western medicine and any modern medicine of wellness therapy for that matter, we will tend to come back to basics in these situations. We have an opportunity to compare in retrospect what has been helpful and what has not been helpful for people.
My challenge everyday is to compete against people’s beliefs and experience regarding exercise and physical activity. I am often half the age of the patients, I present like someone who is physically active and that is a turn off for some patients, and let’s face it, heaps of people live a long life without engaging in exercise, thanks to genetics, medicine, good luck, many things.
So, I choose wisely where I spend my energy with patients, because often times, these beliefs are not able to be overcome.
So, I’ll put it simply. When I ask a person, how active are you? They will often respond “Oh, very active”. Knitting, sweeping, tending to their small patch of garden. This is what a large proportion of people consider active to be. Or, “Oh, I used to be very active”. Unfortunately, it doesn’t carry over from 20 years ago.
So, the choice is yours in the end, what you do with your body. Fortunately for us in the western world, there are lots of back stops. Health insurance, government support, therapies, medications. You can get on with your life pretty well.
Can I suggest though, that you do keep yourself moving and strong, and stronger than you need to be for the things that you do each day. Because when you can no longer get yourself up from a chair, or out of bed, you might wish that you had have done, when you had the chance.