I was driving to work a few days ago when I heard a car commercial on the radio. It went something like this: “Do you take better care of your car or your body?” The commercial went on, interviewing several car owners who admitted to taking better care of their cars than their bodies, with the ultimate message: since you’re more concerned about your car’s health than your own, doesn’t it make sense to have its regular maintenance done at “X Motor Company?” What???? I was taken aback by the commercial, but then I realized that many of us would never consider missing an oil change, although we’d skip a workout in a heartbeat. Why? Isn’t your body more important than your car? Let’s examine a few beliefs you might have about the “regular maintenance” necessary to keep your body in good working condition, and the truths about how you can take care of it—at least as well as you take care of your car.
Belief #1: Exercise takes too much time.
Truth: We all have the same 24 hours a day to get as much done as possible. Therefore, the notion that you have to “make time to exercise” just doesn’t make sense. But you can find ways to work exercise in to your day. Just like you always manage to find the time to get an oil change when you need to, you can squeeze exercise into your busy day by making it a priority. Whether you’re trying to fit in a walk, your physical therapy exercises, or a home program from your trainer, try breaking your exercise up into smaller segments. A 30-minute program could become 3, 10-minute segments or 2, 15-minute segments. The bottom line is, you have 23 ½ hours to get the rest of your to-do list done. Make the commitment to give 30 minutes to exercise.
Belief #2: Exercise is too expensive!
Truth: It is true that working with a qualified fitness professional does cost money, but just as you would pay a little more for maintenance on your beloved classic car, you may find that you need to invest a little more in the maintenance of your body as you get older. The reasons are identical; even normal wear and tear will start to take its toll on the body over time. Failure to keep the body in good working order can lead to serious expense when parts begin to fail. At the very least, consult a good “mechanic” about your specific situation. A qualified professional can give you options in various price ranges, depending on your needs. The right exercise program is an investment that can keep you out of the doctor’s office and spending your money on exotic vacations rather than joint replacement surgery.
Belief #3: It’s too late for exercise to help me; I already have a bad back/ bad knees/ a bad hip…
Truth: It may seem counterintuitive that exercise can help with chronic joint pain, but much like a good coat of grease can keep engine parts working in your car, the right kind of exercise helps to keep the joints mobile and less painful. A good physical therapist or medical exercise professional can give you a targeted series of exercises to keep you moving and help you manage arthritis pain. Even if you are already considering joint replacement, a good exercise program gets your body ready for surgery so you recover more quickly and can get back to doing what you love in short order.
Without a doubt, your car is important; it insures your independence and gets you where you want to go. Your body is very similar in that sense. Both need good care and regular maintenance. The difference is, you can always buy a new car; you can’t buy a new body. So prioritize its care, invest in it, and start now; it’s never too late!