When I was first approached about writing a health and fitness column, I have to admit I hedged a bit. It is an overwhelming broad category….where to begin? Then I realized that is how most people feel about starting a fitness program –where do you start? The best answer for that is sitting right on top of your shoulders. If you don’t prepare the strongest force in your body – your mind– for a change, the pieces located below it will not succeed.
Start by focusing on positives instead of negatives. Eliminate “I can’t” from your thoughts. Think in terms of “I can” because some day you may not be able to _____________. (Fill in your own blank).
Years ago, I gained a new appreciation for being able “to do” things. It started during rehabilitation from a low back injury in which I lost the ability to easily get out of bed. As I regained my health, I learned to acknowledge many things that I previously took for granted.
These began with simple tasks, like putting my feet on the floor and standing up without wincing in pain and holding my toddler on my lap while he moved around. Little by little, I regained privileges and I did what I could to keep them. I began walking every chance I could, even sometimes just a walk around the yard with toddler in tow stopping to admire some of the flowers popping up among the weeds in my unkempt garden. Learning how to appreciate the walk and the flowers and not dwell on the weeds was an exercise all its own. I looked forward to the day that I would be able to pull those weeds.
A decade later, I am stronger then I have ever been but never take it for granted. I continue to appreciate my ability to move and take care to nurture it with fun activities like skiing with the family and even the not-so-fun stuff like bending over and picking up the laundry. Of course, I also integrate a weekly regimen of appropriate exercise, which for me was found in the discipline of pilates.
The old adage, “Use it or lose it,” is very true. I encourage you to appreciate the movement you have today and use it. Start where you are in this moment and acknowledge it, nurture it and enjoy it. Use it as much as possible. If you can walk, then park your car at the far end of the parking lot instead of the closest spot available. If there are stairs available, take them over the elevator. If you are in a walker, take another lap around the room before sitting down.
When people question you, give them the same answer I give my kids when we park in the Target parking lot and walk across the street to the Alderwood Mall during the Christmas season. “Because I can.”
Cheree Brodrick is the owner of Pilates Edmonds, located at 307 Bell Street #103. A long-time Edmonds resident, Cheree and her husband, Curtis, have three children in the Edmonds School District. You can learn more at www.PilatesEdmonds.com or on Facebook at Pilates Edmonds and Mind Body Studio.