When I am trying to decide on what I want to blog about, I recall conversations that I have had with my clients. Firstly, I have the privilege of working with some amazing people, and every one of them has provided me with motivation, inspiration and support, and for that I thank them. Currently, I am hearing an increasing trend of complaints regarding aches and pains, past injuries that have left behind emotional and physical damage and an overall sense of decreased wellness.
When I converse with my clients, the common motto is “I wish I would have started this earlier”. They wish they would have listened to their bodies and engaged in activities and therapies at an early age that prevented the breakdown of their physical and emotional being.
I am here to pass on this message: it is never too late to start, and the earlier you do, the greater the benefit you will receive. With that being said, here are some options and reasons why you should start now!
- Physical independence – Time is a fickle thing. As we age we gain knowledge and experience, we work hard so we may enjoy the fruits of our labour later in life. My clients remind me daily that they wish they would have taken the time earlier in their life to move more and stay strong. When they lift weights they feel and get stronger, when they run / hike / bike / walk they feel energized and healthy. I try and explain to people that the body, not unlike a car, needs times of maintenance, because if you don’t change the oil or the brakes and you don’t restore (replace) those burnt out fuses, slowly but surely that car is going to develop more serious issues and breakdown that much quicker. Your body is the same! Don’t wait till your hip is screaming, or your back is sore, I encourage you to deal with those nagging aches and pains now. Start and move more, and seek out professionals that can help you self-heal.
- Mental independence – Current research is consistently showing the positive relationship between physical fitness and the benefits of mental health (if you’re curious about the research, please reach out to me). We live in a world that is becoming more aware and accepting of mental illness, and if I have learned anything during my time studying kinesiology and osteopathy is that everything is interconnected and constantly adapting to the environment surrounding it. I have had the pleasure of working with some remarkable, inspiring individuals who live with multiple sclerosis, parkinsons, major depression disorder, and muscular dystrophy, to name a few. They constantly tell me how movement gives them a renewed sense of confidence and an overall sense of well-being. Inducing positive hormonal releases through fitness can be reciprocated throughout the entirety of the body. I am also an advocate of dealing with emotional traumas/stress. Having a professional outlet like a psychologist, that you feel comfortable with, is an incredible way to allow the mind to help heal the physical.
- Financial benefits – For me, the financial stressors placed on our aging population has become more prevalent. I speak with many of my clients who have the support of extended coverage and exceptional insurance plans but I am also aware of the costs associated with chronic illness. It amazes me the prices of medications that regulate optimal blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, thin blood, promote optimal brain function or support healthy immune function following chemotherapy (just to name a FEW that I have been made aware of). I know genetically we are all individually predisposed to a different chance of disease and illness, but I also know that there are many external factors that we can control that impact genetic predisposition. Smoking, diet, fitness and mental health are just a few of the factors that you have control over, and if you feel you don’t, there are professionals who can help. Keeping yourself happy and active will keep more money in your pockets!
Basically, to paraphrase Dr. Dean Ornish, eat less, move more, eliminate stress and love yourself and others and you are on the right track. I don’t have all the answers but I will continue to search and my door is always open if you want to talk!
Mike is an Osteopathic Manual Therapy student at the Canadian School of Osteopathy in Vancouver. In addition to his osteopathic training, Mike has an extensive background in athletics and holds a Bachelors of Kinesiology from University of Calgary. Mike has trained with clients ranging from elite athletes to post-surgery rehabilitation. His true passion lies in aligning his osteopathic treatments with each individual’s goal for the betterment of functional movement and fitness in their day to day life.