I had a patient today. I thought about him long after our visit.
He is very intelligent. But conflicted.
He is in his early 60s and, well, he’s looking for answers.
He was, in his words, feeling “mortal” and wanting to know what to do about it. I’m in my 50s so I got it.
In feeling mortal, he means that he hurts in the morning, he bruises more readily, if he does the most mundane tasks like vacuuming, painting, or God forbid, cleaning the gutters, he hurts for two days afterwards.
He doesn’t sleep as well as he once did. He wakes exhausted. He’s tired most of the time and simply doesn’t feel as positive as he once used to.
He has gained weight, which is unusual for him and states he just does not feel well overall, most of the time.
So, we went through the checklist.
“OK. Tell me what you eat in a day and how often,”I said.
Mostly, his diet was good, but not excellent.
Next, I asked him what he does for fun, enjoyment, what I called “decompression time.”
And there it was. He looked at me with that 1,000 yard stare, deer in the headlights kind of genre.
Cutting through the uncomfortable silence, I asked: “What kinds of exercise do you like most?”
You guessed it, more silence. He felt that his work was physical enough and contributed to his version of exercise.
Translated: I don’t exercise. Not at all. Haven’t for a long time. No plans in the future of doing it,either.
Problem solved, I thought. There is much we need to do here but first and foremost, we needed to define exercise.
Exercise is a nasty word, it’s like the word should, and it infers something we know we should do but aren’t doing.
That equals shame. So let’s change the way we see the activity. Let’s call it dynamic elevation. Simply, it’s about movement.
First rule: It’s not exercise if you do not change your shoes for the activity.
But I will make it very simple for us all, it’s called “The 7 hour rule.”
This rule states that you need to be outdoors for at least, but no less than seven hours every week.
This includes walking, hiking, cycling, swimming, or the like.
Just get outdoors with intention. It does not include gardening, taking out the garbage, cutting the lawn, picking up dog poop, or similar ‘have to do’ things.
Exercise—sorry, dynamic elevation, is something we do to elevate our state. It’s something deliberate and intentional that emphasizes movement.
It does not have to necessarily happen in a gym or a studio. It’s about movement.
Jerod Kintz has said: “A stationary bike is a device that epitomizes the phrase hurry up and wait.”
Hundreds of studies have supported and demonstrated the importance of this.
I’m by no means original in this ideology.
Our bodies, minds and physiology are set up for this.
It is hard wired into our central nervous system.
We are made to move and movement is movement. So move.
The physiological and emotional benefits are profound.
Take your children for a bike ride. Walk your dog.
Hold hands with your wife on a walk after dinner. Go geocaching.
Snowshoe. Have an adventure. No growth takes place within your comfort zone.
Just move. It is that simple.