Active! It’s a very involved word. It has been used to describe many things of life. People ask the question in my office all the time about being active and what that means. Over the years in practice I have seen a variety of levels of activity and what it ultimately does for a person. One thing that has been for certain is the fact that the slower you choose to go in life, the faster you age. Now I’m not talking about driving or running, but the mere getting off the couch and doing something versus choosing to sit on the couch and do nothing. Steve Miller said it best in his song Dance, Dance, Dance, “You never slow down, you never get old.” The benefit of being in practice as long as I have is that I have been able to watch my patients grow older. The patients that are already “experienced”, and choose to sit down regularly for extended periods of time, are the ones that have not aged gracefully. In fact, they are the ones that complain of the most problems. I’m sure that there are many out there that are saying, “But Dr. Andersen, if I hurt, then I can’t get out there and be active!”
What Does It Mean to Be Active?
While the point has merit, I argue the side that part of the reason why you hurt is because you choose to not be active. There are varying degrees of activity, and the blanket statement that you have to be running, or biking, or anything aggressive to be considered active is inaccurate at best. A great definition of active is: (of a person) engaging or ready to engage in physically energetic pursuits. Getting off the couch and moving is, by definition, being active. Walking up the stairs instead of the elevator, water aerobics, recumbent bikes at the gym, strolls in the park are all examples of low impact, “Active”, ways of living life. For those that are under the misguided understanding that you hurt so therefore you sit, may want to try this little experiment. Instead of sitting on the couch or chair for hours in a day, you do different activities such as Assisted Wall Squats, or standing and performing Standing Arm Rotations.
Choose to be active, or choose not to be. Viktor Frankl stated it best in Man’s Search for Meaning, and I try my hardest to live this every day. “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” We have the ability to choose. We can choose to be healthy or we can choose to not be. Ultimately, we must live by this thought: “There is no way that we can avoid being held accountable to our bodies”. You either pay for the decisions early or late, but regardless, we will still pay the price for our decisions.
For those that are having a challenge finding the proper balance in life, or are struggling in getting out of the accelerated aging process because they are choosing to be inactive, I invite you to call our office. We will be your coach, cheerleader, and friend through this process. It doesn’t have to be a sedentary life when so much of the world is out there to explore. Our office number is 435-674-7515.