Your Personal Prescription for Exercise: JUST MOVE!
I absolutely get it. Exercise can be intimidating for some of us. And even when it’s not, we all have our favorite forms. I am a Runner. That is how I identify myself. Please believe me, I am not a NOT a fast runner, nor do I have a wall of participation race numbers. I have never run for anyone but myself. I set a goal in my mid 30’s that one day I would finish a marathon. I never planned to finish first or 50th or even 500th. I set a goal to simply finish. It was a personal goal I chose just for me. I didn’t even tell anyone about it. When I turned 40, I decided to tackle my goal. I started training and was on mark to achieve my goal, I felt so accomplished. When I was up to12mile training runs I was saddled with a crippling attack of my inflammatory arthritis. So, I tabled my goal. I was crushed, but not defeated. I had read about people in their 60’s or 70’s completing their first marathons. I figured I wasn’t giving up, just waiting for my next opportunity.
Fast forward eight years, current day. I still identify myself as a runner. NOTHING brings me the mental satisfaction that pushing myself another mile does. It has been over a year since I have gone for a run. In December of 2018, I had a sudden onset of hip pain. It was debilitating at first. I needed crutches for 6 weeks. I discovered that I had a recent labral tear and congenital hip dysplasia that I was born with, but had not caused problems thus far. Still, I wasn’t deterred. However, the cure for my particular condition (with which the pain increases greatly after impact activity such as running) is a hip replacement. Even that, I was willing to accept. However, to preserve a hip replacement you MUST NOT run, ever again. Yikes! What about my goal?
We are all faced with big disappointments and challenges in our lives. Like you, I have had some giant ones. I have usually picked myself up and dusted myself off and kept going. This one threw me a little. Likely because it was solely my goal and I wasn’t responsible for anyone else. I felt like I should just endure the pain and meet my goal regardless of the harm I would bring to my body.
I try very hard to make my challenges and experiences mean something. I want to find long term value in them. I learned a BIG lesson with this situation. I assumed I would need to replace running with something ultra-cardio or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or some formal program. Don't get me wrong, these are excellent practices, but I just couldn’t get motivated to find my next thing. Guess what? It has been over one year since I have taken a run or done any formal exercise regimen. And even more shocking, my weight and personal health have NEVER been better, truly in 48 years. This is a long story to illustrate to you that MOVEMENT is the key. It is truly a secret to health. It can come in various forms unique to your abilities and preferences. A healthy lifestyle is of course important, but honestly movement is what you need to complete this picture.
You do not have to follow some formal regimen, join a gym, cross-fit program or run a race.
I have set my personal daily goal for 10,000 steps. I am a firm believer in step counting. If you do not have a device to monitor your activity, then invest in one. It is the key to your success.
I certainly don’t reach it every day, but about 85% of the time. A solid "B". But, when I do, I do a victory dance in my mind. And, something fun, your device has a little celebration with you! I am competitive only with myself. And this is truly a fun contest. I am planning to get an "A" and then up my goal.
Seriously, JUST MOVE! Steps count. Make them count by setting a goal for yourself. Mine is 10,000 steps a day. Maybe you set yours for 6,000 for the first month and then move it up 1,000 each month. You will reap the benefits. Don’t be intimidated by what your friends are accomplishing or what they are posting. Be true to yourself and discover the best you! And, as I discovered, it may be that I am no longer a runner…….and that is absolutely okay!
Steps count! Here's to your health!!
Dr. Anne Morgan