Be strong for the “Regular Life”

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“If you’re not strong, you can’t do regular life”–How a patient’s words inspired me . . .
by Olivia C. Rossi, RN, MSN, ACSM
Your Personal Trainer

“If you’re not strong, you can’t do regular life.”  Those were the words spoken by one of our patients who came to visit us last week.  She stopped in to thank us for helping her when she was in our Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program a few years ago.  She told us that she still walks everyday and uses her hand weights and resistance bands for strength training.  Just before she left, she stopped and said:  “If you’re not strong, you can’t do regular life.”  I asked if I could quote her.  She said yes—and so I am.

Her words led me to think.  What is “regular life?”  For her it became and remains the ability to walk, free of her oxygen tank, free of her medications.  Free.

Regular life.  It means getting around.  Doing what you have to do.  Doing what you like to do.  Being strong.  Being able—being able-bodied.  It means being fit “to do” your regular life.  What is that regular life—for you?

Let me tell you what it is for me.  I love being able to walk everywhere in town, to hike at Timberline, to ice skate.  To hold myself in good posture so I can demonstrate exercises to my patients at work, to run along the river or around the lake.  It’s part of my job. It’s part of my life.  It’s how I stay healthy.

What is your “regular life?”  What is a firefighter’s “regular life,” a soldier’s, a nurse’s, a mother’s?  What about a person whose legs are paralyzed who relies on a wheelchair for mobility?  What do they need to do to be strong enough to do their regular life?

What each of us needs is to keep fit to the best of our ability, to do what our regular life requires.  Fit to go—fit to be able to carry our bodies through what we need to do and like to do each day.  When our hearts and lungs, our arms and legs are strong, it is easier to do our daily activities.  Our core muscles—our abdominal and back support system—enable us to stand up or sit in a wheelchair, to be strong enough to carry ourselves through the day more easily and efficiently whether we are carrying or running after a 35-pound toddler as a mom, running into a fire carrying a 75 pound pack as a firefighter, or maneuvering a wheelchair in and out of doors or along corridors at work or perhaps on the basketball court after work.

What does your regular life require?  Whatever it is, plan for it.  Do what you need to do to prepare for and live it every day.  “If you are not strong, you can’t do regular life.” Truer words were never spoken.  That patient really gets it.  It’s what being fit and exercising is about.  Now, go out and get ready to “. . . do your regular life!”

Yours in fitness,
Olivia C. Rossi, RN, MSN, ACSM
Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, ACSM
Certified Personal Trainer, ACSM