Archive for July 6th, 2012

July 6th, 2012

The Motivation to Move: Be Your Own Athlete

by Amanda

Here’s a post written by Community Coordination Intern Michelle on a healthy living topic that is especially apt due to the lovely weather and summertime activities many people are engaging in. Enjoy! –Amanda


The Motivation to Move: Be Your Own Athlete

by Michelle Totino

Well everyone, here it goes… my first blog post!  I’m a little nervous.  But first, I should introduce myself.  My name is Michelle, and I’m a new intern at WEGO Health.  I’m not only thrilled to be working with such an empowering company, but the chance to hopefully  interact with the passionate people who lead their health communities – that’s you, Health Activists! – excites and inspires me so much.  What I hope to bring to the table is the opportunity to engage and to motivate you in staying physically active despite your compromising health conditions.  This “staying active” bit could be through sports, which I love, or anything else that gets you up and moving.

 

I have played sports my whole life, from soccer and basketball to softball and ice hockey.  I still play field hockey competitively with the Boston College club field hockey team, and I’m really into cycling, too.  I’m about to start my senior year at BC in the fall, so that means I’m sadly realizing that organized team sports must end at some point.  With that said, cycling is an activity that I can hopefully do for decades to come (Is anyone excited for the Tour de France?)… Plus I think that riding a bike is more fun than running!

 

Alright, enough about me.  What gets you moving?

 

Everyone knows that the keys to a healthy lifestyle are eating right and staying active… blah, blah, blah.  My message to you is a mere reminder that fitness is essential for your physical, mental, and emotional health regardless of your age or health condition.  But what if you suffer from a condition that limits your physical ability or makes it extremely painful to exercise?

 

You simply don’t have to be a triathlete, Ironman champ, or Olympian to strengthen your body, mind, and spirit.  All that matters is exercising regularly at some level.  The motivation to move your ailing body is sometimes the biggest hurdle, though, which is even the case for people who don’t have a serious health condition or chronic illness!  Take it from some encouraging Health Activists in this video who suffer from joint pain.

 

Another example is Peter Waite whose fibromyalgia poses a challenge to his exercise regimen.  He shares his fitness experiences and provides hope for other chronically ill patients on his blog:

 

“There’s nothing like exercise to tell your body who is in charge,” Peter says. “Sure there are still days when I’m flaring and don’t feel well enough to exercise.  On those days I don’t give myself a hard time about it.  You have to accept that there will be valleys between the mountain highs.”

 

In a recent article, Steven B. Abramson, MD and other medical experts at NYU Langone Medical Center offer tips for managing arthritis.  In terms of physical activity, they advise patients:

  • To stay informed with arthritis management strategies
  • To stay active because physical activity “decreases pain, improves function, and delays disability”
  • That moderate exercise (with breaks) about 5 days a week can be beneficial
  • That  weight matters because less weight means less joint pain and increased function
  • To protect your joints because correctly strengthening your muscles and tendons decrease potential injury

Also, feel free to check out DavidHBlattMD’s YouTube channel.  Despite his Parkinson’s disease, David will show you how to get a great workout in the gym and on the slopes.

Those diagnosed with joint pain are not the only ones who find it difficult to move around.  What do you do to motivate yourself and/or others in your community to get up, get out, and get on living?