Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Magic Pill

My family used to make fun of runners as we went about our days. I didn't grow up amongst fitness folks and have had, until recent years, no understanding of the benefits of regular exercise in my life. Neither did the rest of my family, so we made fun of what we did not know…runners. We made fun of them from our car, of course. As we sat strapped into seat belts, we'd say, "That lady is hardly moving! What's the point?" or we'd comment, "Did you see the look on that guy's face? He looks to be in pain! Why would you put yourself through that?"

These days, I am that woman running so slowly it might seem pointless to those in cars passing by and I'm sure the look on my face is not one of happiness and joy but one of determination. I don't necessarily love to get out there and go, but I do love having run. When I can check that box off first thing on a cool morning, my day is automatically going to be 50% better than it otherwise would have.

Nikki Knepper a mental health professional said the following in an interview recently:
"As a mental health professional, I know from what I do, I am a licensed clinical professional counselor, I always tell people your first line of defense against anything that you are struggling with is going to be taking care of your physicality, your body. You need to be on a regular sleep/wake schedule, you need to eat healthy, you need to eat regularly, you need to exercise. It's [exercise] the answer to everything, it's the medicine for everything. Now, not everyone can do the same exercise, but everyone should move, period. It is unquestionable. Even people who have severe arthritis are still told, "move". 

I'm a believer.

I was running the other morning and I saw another woman walking in the distance. She was taller than I and nearly as round. She was struggling in the heat just like me.  I wanted to say something to her to encourage her, to cheer her on for being out there and putting in the steps but I didn't want to sound condescending. I didn't want her to think I thought I was all that.

There's no way she could know that I struggled all winter to get moving once every week or TWO. She couldn't know that on the run just before this one I'd called my Man to meet me at the bottom of the last hill in his TRUCK and take me home. I wanted her to know that a few short years ago I would have struggled to be out there walking any distance at all and that she should count it a win in her day to be out and to be moving. But there was no time and no extra breath in my lungs as our paths crossed to tell her any of it.  I smiled and raised my hand in greeting and continued my slow shuffle toward home and when I arrived, I checked the box and counted it a win and reaped the happy benefits for the rest of the day…I hope she did too.

"If exercise could be packed in a pill, 
it would be the single most widely prescribed and 
beneficial medicine in the nation." 
~ Dr. Robert Butler, specialist in geriatric medicine

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