I don’t usually blog about my radio show. But today is different. It touched a nerve. I had marathon runner, Suman, on the air and she was saying things I should have been saying to my patients and clients for years: It’s really hard work to get fit so just do it or don’t and stop telling me why you can’t. I don’t want to hear about how your day somehow whisks by faster than mine or that you are somehow busier than I am or that I am fit because I own a Pilates studio or genetics or whatever. Enough. If you want to feel great you will. If you don’t want to feel great you won’t.
I’ve been working with patients with chronic back pain for 10 years. I can count on one hand the number of people who have done their prescriptive exercise program at home every day, just like they were instructed. WHY??!! Pain is addictive? No one wants to work that hard? Not enough time in the day? What? I do not understand. And yes, I know what it is like to have horrible back pain. I’ve had it most of my life and finally had surgery two years ago. I also kayaked the Channel Islands on my 40th birthday and I am the celebrity dancer in our local version of ‘Dancing with the Stars’. All to tell say that it is possible to have back pain and to work hard to be extremely functional and able to do what you love to do.
But yes, it IS really hard work to be fit. And it’s even harder to stop being in so much pain. You are going to have to spend an hour a day to change the way you have been living. If you don’t have an hour then you will be old before your time and exhausted all the way there. Not being fit will make you tired, but being in pain is completely exhausting. You enjoy that? I mean, c’mon, really? You’d rather be slugging your butt around because you are out of shape? Immobile because you are in pain? Need to scare yourself straight? Go visit a nursing home. Scary stuff that. Fifty percent of the problems at a nursing home are out of our control but the other 50% would have been solved with lifelong good health habits (and probably more than 50%).
I attended a 9am meeting yesterday. I already had the dogs out for a 2 mile walk and I did my 30 minutes of exercise for keeping my own back pain in check. At the meeting, I would say half of the attendees had had similar mornings. The other half ‘didn’t have time’ in the morning and won’t have time later, either. Really? How is it that so many people are capable of fitting it all in but then there is the flip side of that: so many people can’t. You have no choice but to get your act together if you want to feel better. I really believe that feeling good is a habit you need to hone if feeling good is really what you want.
Is it worth it? That’s your call. I, and a thousand other fitness/health experts, can give you the tools but the hard, hard work is all your.