USE IT OR LOSE IT - Maintaining Mobility Even When It Hurts.
Granddaddy Born 1912 / Great Great Grandson Born 2012
When ‘Granddaddy’passed away, his was the happiest funeral I’d ever attended as he died happy, healthy and ready to go home! Until months before his passing, my 100 year old Granddaddy cooked his own meals and raised most of his food, gardening over an acre in size. When Granddaddy wasn’t plowing, hoeing, planting or harvesting, he was cutting trees and splitting wood. At about ninety years old, he got a little careless and flipped his riding lawnmower while on the steep angle of the dam by his home. Knowing that trying to jump with the blade still turning could end up badly, he hung on to the steering wheel and let the mower roll over him. He was still sitting on the seat when the mower stopped upright in about a foot of water. He had no broken bones or injury whatsoever, but, told my mom “it made him sore for a few days.” I guess you could say that Granddaddy maintained his mobility.
So, did Granddaddy stay healthy because he maintained his mobility; or, did he stay mobile because he was healthy? The answer most probably is both! Our bodies were made to move and our health is optimized when we move on a regular basis. The challenge is: How do we keep moving when it hurts to move? A lot has to do with attitude. According to this recent article by Jane Brody, “Osteoarthritis is something nearly all of us can expect to face if we live long enough.” She gives an example of how one lady switched to walking regularly when she could no longer play tennis. She also says that giving into the pain and becoming sedentary results in a cascade of other health problems.
We’ve all seen abandoned old tractors left out in the field to slowly rust back into the landscape.Most likely, one day it quit working and got left in the field with good intentions by its owner to repair it someday, which never came. To get one of these ‘piles of rust’ moving again, the frozen joints and bearings would have to be reworked or replaced. If the repairs needed when it first stopped working had been done quickly, the whole tractor would have remained in better shape continuing to run.
Our bodies are the same way. Failure to repair a major broken part or system often results in complete system disarray and failure. Like the broken tractor, repairing a bad hip or knee, a leaky heart valve, removing cataracts, correcting bad hearing, etc., will help keep the whole system in better shape avoiding systemic ‘rusting’. It is a fact that the more active a lifestyle one has, the lower chances one has of suffering from conditions related to osteoporosis, diabetes, cardio vascular disorders, in addition to improved quality of life. Granddaddy had both knees replaced and cataract surgery in the last fifteen years of his life.
My happy feelings at Granddaddy’s funeral dissolved in an instant as my Aunt Adrienne handed me her smart phone as I read the news of the Boston Marathon bombing a short time earlier that day. As my cousin Kellie, Adrienne’s daughter, is a marathon runner, and a former winner of the Atlanta Marathon, this news hit especially hard. We learned later the extent of the mayhem inflicted that day. But recently, the tears of that day were recently replaced by tears of joy when bombing survivor, Rebekah Gregory, ran the last 3.3 miles of this year’s Boston Marathon running on her prosthetic leg, replacing her leg lost in the bombing. Rebekah exclaimed as she crossed the finish line, “I took my life back today.”
– that is what made the difference for Rebekah. People who keep going regardless of their circumstances make a choice to not give up in the face of difficulties or to allow their past to dictate their future. The FlexSTICK
was created because we believe that our bodies were created to move
about our world, but, we know that eventually life gets in the way and we need help to keep moving and to move safely. That’s why we designed a tool to help keep people moving. Read more of Rebekah's inspiring story here.
Rebekah Gregory - Moving On!
Sometimes people give in to other circumstances, often withdrawing from the world around them because of emotional pain. People were also made for community – to share life with one another. We are designed to be relational creatures. Relationships, like our bodies, require attention and exercise; and, like our joints, they need lubrication. Sometimes our relationships seem too painful, too difficult to ‘move anymore’ and we just give up on them. This is not a solution for good emotional or physical health and when we allow resentment, bitterness, and anger to sever our relationships, emotionally we turn into that rusty, old abandoned tractor.
Do you have a race you need to finish?