Because I was beyond hopeless, with anything athletic growing up, it is not much of a mental stretch to imagine how elated I was, when I got to grade 12 and physical education was no longer a mandatory part of the curriculum, Hallelujah !!! I graduated at 16, so my structured physical activity stopped at 15 and I was just fine with that.
if you think about it though, we all get 11 years of physical fitness up to our graduation from high school. Then nothing, if we live into our 80’s or beyond, that means 60 years of being sedentary, unless we move because we want to. No wonder so many of us are in a mess.
When we are small, all we want to do is run around and play. Through play, we discover and develop movement. It’s all a natural part of growing up. In school there is structured physical activity. Wether we are naturally gifted or not, each sport season is cycled through each year, in the hopes that we learn a little about almost every sport under the sun.
I have said before, that the only reason I passed any physical education class, was for one of two reasons, rewarding my genuine effort, or the teacher didn’t want to deal with me again for another year, because clearly no one could get through to me when it involved moving my body.
When you aren’t athletic, spare time is taken up, not by team mates, practices and games, but by studying or hanging out with the family. At home, I was just me. It didn’t matter, that I couldn’t do gymnastics or balls slipped through my hands rather than me catching them.
I embraced work life, I enjoyed it all, even the shift work. This, to me, was what being an adult was all about. I had a sedentary job, sitting at a desk, moving only to get to the lunchroom for my break. It was a very, rule oriented job at the beginning. You had to put up a flag, to be relieved for breaks or for a call of nature, and wait for someone to give you the OK to leave. It seems barbaric now. As a teenager though, I didn’t question authority. I thought even calling adults by their first name was a big deal. Challenging them was not something I would do.
As the years progressed, I got different jobs within the company. As my husband would put it though, I drove a desk, and did so proudly, for almost 30 years. This might seem crazy to be saying this only now, but…… was I destined to have my nightmare neurological pain all along, because of my lack of movement? I am not saying, that it was the only cause. I have MRI’s that would back that fact up, but it certainly didn’t help.
Somehow I had slipped through the cracks. I was never shown how to move properly. So when the pains began to invade my existence, I did the only thing I knew. I stopped moving, because it hurt. Heck it wasn’t hard, because it wasn’t as though I did tons of stuff. I began to watch a program today called Forever Painless, with Miranda Edmonds-White. In it, she said, that not moving was just as bad for you as smoking is.
I have never seen a sign, or television ad telling me of the need to move. For smoking, the government regulates the age we can legally purchase cigarettes,. Cigarette brands are obstructed from view so that minors aren’t tempted. There are multiple taxes on each package as a deterrent. Governement supported programs to help you quit. You won’t see ads recommending any cigarette brand, that is illegal. Only when I watch very old programs on the television, do I ever see anyone smoking. Now E cigarettes are all the rage. Yes things are being done ,both good and bad, to tackle the problems associated with smoking.
When it comes to moving though,or lack of it, there isn’t anything like those things available, that I am aware of. You don’t find tax breaks to cover gym memberships or fees for sports teams waived. If I owned even a fair size business, I would provide access to a good gym for the employees. It could really cut done costs of sick time, and lower stress levels. Things got continually worse, when I did nothing, and that choice stole my health. Monthly passes to a local rec centre so that people could remain active, has to be a better use of money, than the huge cost associated with dealing with a medical condition that has been made worse by not moving.
The cost to the medical health system for me, was in the thousands, no, likely more like hundreds of thousands of dollars. When you factor in the surgeries. I am just one person. I didn’t compound things by smoking or drinking, but just like the smoker or alcoholic I ended up in the same place, filtering through our medical system.
Even a small amount of movement is beneficial, that benefit compounds over time. The more that you do, the more that you can do. No, I am not suddenly running marathons, or triathlons, but I most certainly am moving.
I hear you, “how can I move if it hurts” ? I asked the same question, then I sat down. How well did that work out for me? I would be on the verge of some even more horrific medical nightmare by now if I hadn’t moved.
There is that voice again…. ” my pain is my pain, you just don’t get it”. Well I think I might have a good idea. Let’s say, you are right, I haven’t had your pain, you are quite right there, and you haven’t had mine. It isn’t a contest.
What I will say though is this, if we are even remotely similar, you want the pain to stop. It doesn’t even matter what the cause of the pain is. Unless you physically are immobile, move what you can. If you are able bodied enough, simply don’t ask someone else to do something you are capable of doing. Take your own dishes to the sink. Carry the bags of groceries, weight training has great benefits. Under proper supervision, weight training can increase bone density. That means less risk of breaking our bones. Who doesn’t want that.
Park your car a block or two from your destination and walk. Make the effort to take the stairs rather than an elevator or escalator. Even housework, is exercise. Just like brushing your teeth is a daily ritual, make your own movement magic a daily thing.
I don’t care if my medical plan paid for my surgeries, or if my pain medication was partially reimbursed by insurance. No matter what the cost…. The personal price is just too high . Don’t let your quality of life became diminished, beyond recognition. Life is too short, no matter how long we live, to agree to let that happen. Each day matters.
If what I am suggesting, is beyond you today, make time at every opportunity to visualize your success. Visualize the movement. Make yourself battle ready when the day comes that you can commit to moving.
This might be considered a rant, when actually that’s not it at all really. This is nothing short of a battle cry. My personal battle cry is the song
FIGHT SONG by Rachel Platten .
The chorus sums things up perfectly.
This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My powers turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.
Be that warrior that is inside you, and get a move on.
If you are blessed to be pain free, but know someone that isn’t, take a moment and send this to them, or direct them to this blog post. That one small action could change everything for that person. What do they have nothing to loose and everything to gain.