The whole concept of your world shrinking or growing around you was something that came to me as I was out on a hike during a recent vacation.
Growing up as a child in rural Nova Scotia, we didn’t have much. There was no money for much more than what we needed. There were no fancy vacations. An hour long car ride to visit my grandparents was a big, day long or weekend long event. I never flew anywhere until I was in my 20’s and in university. At that time, my world was limited to anything within an hour or two radius from our home by car, or a few kilometres from home on foot or by bike.
In medical school, my weight had increased dramatically and I didn’t really feel as good as I knew I could. I was still limited by finances, but my physical body was now causing me to limit myself as well. I’d get invited to do things and I would decline. I’d find the usual excuses…I have to study, I have to work, I really don’t want to do that…the list goes on. The reality of it however, was the fact that, in my mind, I knew I couldn’t keep up on hikes, I hadn’t ridden a bike in years and didn’t want to embarrass myself. I was scared to try anything involving water because I hadn’t actually done any swimming since I was “forced” (thanks mom for making sure I don’t die in the water ) into swimming lessons on chilly summer mornings.
Fast forward 20+ years and I am more active than I have ever been. I’m always up for a challenge and I know that my physical body can be pushed in ways I never dreamed possible. MY WORLD HAS GROWN SO VERY BIG!
Sadly, I see the opposite all the time. I work with people who have gotten to the point where they can barely leave their home. I have worked with a lady who had been housebound for the past 3 years because of pain from her hips and knees. Most of the day was spent in a chair, walking as much as necessary to walk to the bathroom or kitchen.
This doesn’t happen overnight…it creeps up on you until you get to the point of really starting to notice the limitations you now have on you because your body just can’t do what it was built to do for you.
We have recently been running a walking group for patients. One of the ladies told another member not to be ashamed of the fact that she couldn’t keep up and had to rest. She reminded me of a conversation we had one day in the office when she started to lose weight and exercise (she has lost close to 200 lb since the beginning of this process!) We had been talking about exercise and the fact that she had such a hard time with any movement due to her weight. I told her “walk out your front door, go to the end of the driveway, walk back in your front door. Then, when you can do this, go an extra few steps…when you can, keep adding in a few more steps”. She is now walking every day, has gone back to work and is using what she has learned to help encourage others! HER WORLD HAS GROWN SO MUCH IN THE PAST TWO YEARS!
What I want you to think about this month is the concept of the size of your world…is it expanding or shrinking in front of your eyes? Are there things you have always wanted to do but have never even attempted? Personally, I want to keep exploring, keep pushing myself to try new things, keep encouraging others to do the same. This last picture reminds me of another lovely lady I worked with who, at 78, lost 50 pounds and declared she “felt like a new woman” and was excited about being fit enough again to head out to the mountains for some 3-4 hour hikes. That’s what I push for…to be the 78 year old, on a mountain, living life to the fullest!
It’s NEVER too late to start! If you need help improving your health, check out the website and get yourself set up to see one of our amazing team of physicians.