I've been working on writing up my next "Hiking to Health" article for my local paper. It starts off by exploring how to meet fitness goals when your health takes a dip. If only writing about health could make it happen. Here are some thoughts on getting through health challenges and returning to health.
The advertisers at Nike tell us to “just do it.” While getting out and moving can actually help make one feel better, I object to the models that Nike uses in its commercials. It’s not surprising to see young, fit men and women out running and sweating. Real people struggling and overcoming real health issues motivate me to keep going. Instead of looking to Nike’s brand of motivational models, I’ve found a few of my own – friends and neighbors whose courage and persistence set an example that says, “If I can do it, you can too.”
I have a neighbor who suffers from degenerative bone loss that leaves her in near-constant pain, but you’d never know it from looking at her. A smile and cheery outlook are her trademarks. The closest I’ve heard her come to complaining was when she expressed a desire to be of more service and help to others. Those who cheerfully persevere through unremitting pain and challenges can never know the extent that their examples help to lift and encourage others.
No doubt you have similar friends. I also admire a mother of six children who goes swimming in the wee hours of the morning. She goes because she has found that she’s more patient with her family on the days she goes swimming. Another woman in her 90s goes swimming three times a week and has been doing so for over three years! Pretty much I admire anyone who enjoys swimming -- anyone who will 1) put on a swimming suit and 2) get in chlorinated water. (You can see that I’ll never be known for not complaining.)
Pretty much I found that during the past few months of sluggish health I had to focus on climbing hills and not mountains. Mountains overwhelmed me, but hills seemed doable. I lightened up on my expectations for myself but didn't let myself quit entirely.
I like the quote that says, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." When you're facing health challenges, focusing on single steps keeps you moving forward on your journey.