Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Heal Thyself

In the twelve or so years I have worked in physical therapy and sports medicine, I have had the opportunity to help a lot of people.  I fixed a few, but mostly, I helped people manage their conditions.  That realization has formed my approach to therapy--educate and empower my patients.  Give them the knowledge and tools necessary to take responsibility for their own condition and health.  This is generally the same approach I take with personal training and coaching and why my work in fitness is so important to me: if I succeed in helping people take responsibility for their fitness, they will develop a healthy lifestyle and hopefully need the health care system less.

Now, this is not a rant about the state of American health care.  This is not the outlet and it won't help--complaining about a situation accomplishes nothing.  I propose a solution.

The problem is the high incidence of obesity, depression, diabetes, heart disease, preventable cancers, and other chronic diseases.  These conditions are greatly treatable, preventable, and reversible.  One of the challenges to solving this is that our society has become reliant on technology and medicine to "fix" us.  I propose that each of us should choose a healthy lifestyle.  If we opt for a nutritious diet and regular physical activity, we would no longer need "fixing."  Countless research studies prove this and it's not a new idea.  Hippocrates said "walking is man's best medicine" and "let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food."

Doctors are constantly recommending diet and exercise.  The challenge is figuring out what "diet and exercise" means.  Of course, everyone has at least some idea.  However, most people are better off consulting an expert of some type--trainer, coach, therapist, dietitian--at least to get started.  Then, educate yourself.  Seek out good information.  Learn.  Education is power.  As I said in a recent blog post: mainstream media--GMA, Dr Oz, Runners' World, Men's Health, Yahoo news, etc--should serve only as a starting point.  Talk to friends and colleagues too, but remember: what works for one person won't work for everyone.

So, take responsibility for your own health.  Choose to take action.  Consult an expert and educate yourself. Implement a plan and reap the benefits of feeling better and being healthy.  You can do it.  In fact, you are the only one who can.


  1. I love your last line, Brian. So true! As with so many other things in life, many of us look for someone else to provide motivation or a solution. We can - and should - seek out support. At the same time, we have to realize that it's our own choices and actions that will make the difference. That's not a bad thing; take pride in knowing you control your health!

  2. You are so right. My fitness level has been up and down. I've even been saying the right stuff to others. Right now, I'm down. My mom has diabetes, strokes, and heart disease in her mid-70's. I started last week on the intake part of it. I feel better, my fingers don't feel stiff in the morning, my clothes fit better, I've lost 4 pounds. This week I will start on the exercise part of it, adding it in slowly. Thanks for your posts. You are so very kind, gentle, and unwavering on what one needs to do. You are a great example. So, thanks again, I'm out here reading it and you've encouraged me.