Busting the Top 3 Health Myths
Our health IS our wealth.
Unfortunately we start paying attention to our health when we start losing it.
Even more unfortunate are the myths we hold dear about our physical health that keep us from taking positive action before it’s too late.
It was a hot day in Pennsylvania, 2 weeks after my father passed away in 2014. I got a phone call telling me one of my former patients also passed away. He was 70 and had recently retired after 30 years of running his own business. The caller’s father had become a close friend – a father figure in a lot of ways.
My own Father passed away from a heart attack (according to the Coroner) while on a 100 mile bicycle Honor Ride through the Endless Mountains in Pennsylvania. He was found 20 minutes after he had fallen off his bike and was already dead.
Both of these men appeared visibly healthy. They both lived a very FULL life, they both had dreams of ‘what’s next’ after their careers were over.
Yet they never got to experience their ‘what’s next’.
The real kicker is this: My Fathers’ doctor told him he was exceptionally healthy. I don’t blame the doctor, as my Dad was quite healthy relative to others. But my father slept very little, took care of everyone else around him first before himself, and had little to no downtime. He was a Catholic priest. I ached for this to change. I found out later that he had, too.
My friend and former patient who passed had suffered from anxiety and high blood pressure for most of his adult life, especially while running his business. He was hoping it would get better once he retired.
He never got the chance to see if it did.
I share this story to make a couple of key distinctions.
- Our ‘what’s next’ is RIGHT NOW
- Our health IS our wealth.
As a doctor of physical therapy, I cannot predict when someone will pass (truthfully no one can), however I can share with you some deep rooted ways of thinking that are holding you back from living right now and getting healthy.
Myth #1: My ________(insert pain, injury, issue) stops me from doing what I want.
Pain is common but not normal. Injuries or issues that stay with us for a long time are COMMON but not NORMAL.
We are designed to live pain free. We are designed to live long, run, play, be active and mobile. Pain may be part of our life, but it should not DEFINE our life. Injuries may have happened and or completely changed your life, however you are NOT your injury.
What we see, read, ‘know’, and feel can get in the way of us truly taking action to help ourselves heal.
When we improve our movement function, we improve our ability to manage and eliminate aches & pains. When we improve our mindset, the same thing happens. How is this possible?
Long story short, the brain sends a pain signal when it perceives a threat. When you move well, accept yourself, and build happiness in your life your brain no longer perceives your daily actions as a threat.
If you want to learn more about pain in 5 minutes or less, click here.
Myth #2: I USED to be athletic, but not anymore.
Everyone has an athlete inside them.
That athlete may have been hidden for a long, long time. But it’s there. Once an athlete, always an athlete. Like being a Marine. Once a Marine, always a Marine.
This is a mindset shift for many, and it is a very powerful thing. Remember, Rome was not built in a day. So give yourself some grace while getting back to being active.
You may need some help progressing your body back to being fit enough to play, but it is possible. Plus it’s totally worth it.
(PS Forget about trying to be like you were…and be the best you can be now. As a mom of 2 little boys with a business- my body, my time, my movements have shifted. I am embracing this new normal right now. To help learn how others embrace their new normal check out this season of my podcast.)
Myth #3: I can’t control my own health.
You have more control than you think. In my world of musculoskeletal health, between 82- 96% of all injuries ARE preventable (depending on what research you read). Injuries like plantar fasciitis, low back pain, carpal tunnel, tension headaches, mid back stiffness, rotator cuff tears or weakness, patella-femoral pain, sciatica, etc, etc are all issues that stem from lifestyle, poor movement patterns, and asking your body to perform at a certain capacity that you do not have…yet.
You can control the above by addressing HOW you move, HOW OFTEN you move, and your default way of thinking that has determined how you exist in the world.
Check out these resources:
If I had a wand to help people understand what is possible, it would be that they can be the active athlete they want to be, that their injury is NOT who they are, and that they have so much power over their own health if they just took action.
“You can lead a human to health, but cannot make them take action. They gotta want it.”
Semper Fidelis in Health,
Dr. Theresa Larson DPT CSCS USMC