I play guitar. I love exercising the artistic side of my mind. But when I sit down to play I always start by tuning the six steel strings. I have found that my guitar, when tuned, makes fantastic music. Untuned, it just makes noise. Tuning makes all the difference.
This time of year, with spring around the corner, I see a lot of people wanting to get back to being more active. Maybe they want to lose some weight or get more into a sport they love. The intention is great. But many times a few weeks into their new routine a voice starts to creep up in their mind saying “Maybe I am just getting too old…” It might be because their shoulder starts hurting. Or their feet. Or low back. For others it is tendonitis that sidelines them.
What does playing guitar and fitness goals have in common? I find that many times people who have stayed on the fitness sidelines for a length of time (sometimes due to work, family commitments, life transitions, etc) set out to get back all their lost strength and fitness in a matter of weeks. And this many times turns out just like me playing my untuned guitar — horribly.
My advice for those looking to get in the best shape of their life this spring is two-fold.
1. You don’t have to get it all back at once. Actually that never works. You didn’t lose your strength, add extra inches to your waist, or get fatigued going up those couple flights of stairs overnight. Be gentle, but resolute with yourself. I believe that you can get back to feeling better than you have in years (maybe decades) but this is going to take some time. Good news: if you watch for it, you will start seeing tiny victories even after just a few days. So don’t try to make up for lost time. Instead institute one or two healthy habits, of reasonable intensity, and work on those for awhile.
2. Every athlete that gets on my table at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs is asked one question first “how can I help you today?” About 1/3 of those athletes reply “Doc, I feel great. Please just help me keep feeling that way.” The best athletes in the world know that a well-tuned body, like a well-tuned guitar, performs better AND (bonus) has less of a chance of getting injured. On your path to physical amazingness you too will probably be in need of a tune-up. Know that it is better to start your journey well-prepared than to wait until you are frustrated and in pain to get tuned up. That being said, we will be here to help you get back to feeling your best regardless.
All of us have lived a crazy rollercoaster the last 2+ years. I see a sunrise of hope were we can get back into our good and healthy habits. I know that I am humbly working that path. And that I cannot do it alone.
You are not alone. We are here to help.