How often has someone said to you:
“Oh, that’s common – don’t worry about it” ?
Almost justifying that it’s okay? Remember – just because something is common does not make it ‘ok’ and ‘normal’.
Something like arthritis may be chalked up to old age.
But, in reality it’s a ‘lack of movement’ problem. What do we typically do when we’re sore and have arthritis (osteoarthritis)? ‘Slow down and take it easy.’
In fact the lack of motion (slowing down) can make things worse and cause further joint degeneration. You see the motion in the joint is a good thing. It provides nourishment to the joint and surrounding tissues. Our body’s look for motion to help stimulate and say “hey, keep going I need you”.
And don’t ever believe “I’m getting old” is an excuse. If something such as arthritis were just an old age problem then when you get pain and challenges in one joint it should be the same across all joints. Shouldn’t it be? Since all the joints are all the same age in your body.
What about something like osteoporosis?
Often we’re told to swim more. But, your bones actually need weight bearing activity with gravity to help stimulate the ‘need for bone maintenance’. Our body’s lay down more bone tissue keeping the bones healthier and stronger.
By doing more weight bearing activities in gravity we give our body’s the stimulus they need for more bone.
So, by taking it easy and doing less we are actually doing more harm than good when it comes to our bone mass and challenges such as osteopenia. This may be common amongst our friends – but not normal.
Now what about a headache? [Common, but not normal].
A headache is your body’s way of letting you know it’s reached some sort of limit. Whether it’s pressure changes, different life stresses, diet related and/or hydration related.
The headache is not the problem. The cause of the headache is the problem. And yes, headaches may be common amongst people you talk to but a large majority of people are at their limit. Their body is letting them know by producing a headache to alert them. (Again, common — but not normal).
Many of these ‘common, but not normal’ situations begin with lack of movement.
We move less because of the psychological factors associated with age, we get more tense, we get more uncomfortable and slow down even more… Our perceptions of age actually shape how active we live and what we should expect as “normal”.
The neat thing is many of these things are modifiable and within your control to change.
Stay tuned for the second half of this article where I discuss possible solutions (next week).