Sorry folks. Seems that the video I included didn't make it through the email system. So, click here to see it.
I'm learning how to have fun. Yep, as odd as that sounds, but for whatever reason, having fun has not been fun nor easy for me. Maybe it's my iron man work ethic or my Viking heritage. Who knows? But, I have the good fortune of being married to someone who is the princess of party; the grand fairy of fun. My wife, Ellen.
I just got back from a trip to Disney World with Ellen celebrating our 25 years together. We always enjoy ourselves but this trip was special. We went to a halloween party on Friday night. Disney shut down the Magic Kingdom at 7PM and allowed in only those who purchased tickets to this special event. I'm sure we were about the only adults dressed for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (yes - that's us - the pirates) that did not have children in tow. But, we didn't care (well, Ellen didn't and convinced me not to care either). We spent the evening wandering around the park taking in the music, the kids, the parades, the rides, we laughed, and just got lost in the one long gargantuan moment of fun. Even though the park was packed with people, fatigue set in, and the food was, well, limited, Disney is so good at crafting a memorable experience, we came away agreeing that it was one of the best evenings we've had and would gladly do it again.
I had a blast.
So, this week's View is a reminder to reserve some time in your life to enjoy the time of your life. I'll have something a bit meatier next week. Until then, just have a little fun.
I'm learning. Are you?
PS - check out this video for a lark and a laugh. Might be something you'll find in our training lab someday.
"Bill, when will you have that financial report ready?" "Oh...Someday. No doubt about it."
"Are you ready to start working on your back pain, honey?" "Oh, I guess so. Someday I will, yeah."
"Jim, how's that weight loss program coming along? Any luck with it?" "Yeah, I suppose I'll lose weight Someday."
Someday is a day that never arrives but it's the only day that we feel really confident assigning or attaching anything to it. Why is that? Why do so many of us have an issue with saying when we will do something?
By not committing to a start date, we postpone failure. Or, so we think. Rather than fail and let ourselves down, we never start. Paradoxically, never starting leads us eventually to the very place we feared we would end up: failing.
The hidden, rarely discussed side effect and worst part of never leaving the start gate is the trans-generational transference. We pass it on to our children. Children model themselves after us and it isn't just the verbal influences but all of the things we do or don't do that molds a young mind into what they will eventually become. We put things off, talk about it, argue about it, bitch and complain about it then are surprised or perhaps dismayed by a child with the same attributes.
To get past Someday, try this:
So, for example, let's assume you want to start exercising. Write down "I will walk 30 minutes three days per week" on your 3 x 5 card. When you have finished one session, place a check mark on the card. When you have done three sessions in one week, write down the date you completed it, and place the card in your integrity bank. Then, do it again the next week.
One of the best ways to take care of yourself is to keep promises to yourself. As Albert Einstein once said, "People love chopping wood. In this activity one immediately sees results." When you start and complete something, you'll feel better and as you do this, things will change in your life; you will become a great model for your children.
It's never too late. Show your child the power of commitment, the courage of starting and the satisfaction of finishing.
Someday has arrived.
PS - For those of you with back trouble, sign up for our free seminar "The Secrets to Beating Back Pain" on Tuesday, November 14th, 2006 from 12:00 - 1:00 pm at Sports Center. This talk will blast the Someday out of your week like a GhostBuster's proton pack zapping a pesky poltergeist. Don't wait - it fills up every time we give the talk. Call us at (512) 206-0433 or email Lauren at email@example.com to reserve your seat.
A few weeks ago, I invited you to suggest topics for a View and if we chose your topic, we would send you something special. Today's View was suggested by Jeanne Schedler. Thanks Jeanne for taking the time to send your ideas. You'll receive an iTunes gift card from us shortly. We hope you enjoy it!
"Please discuss the process of transition from rehab to home and ways to keep work-outs fresh at home. List pointers, tips, and motivators to
The ability to adhere or stick to an exercise program is a topic of great interest within the physical therapy and fitness professions. About 50% of the people who start a fitness program quit within six months, 65% of people who have been through a physical therapy program and have been issued a "home program" quit within twelve months and up to 80% no longer exercise after forty eight months. Why? Is there anything you can do to change this or are you just destined for failure?
Anything that you're involved with on a regular basis has the potential to become dull, stale, and boring. It doesn't matter if it's exercise, marriage, or a business relationship, there's a skill to keeping it interesting. Exercise adherence is complex and includes a number of factors but we have found seven things that help improve your "stickiness." I'll tell you about three of them today (and, I just used one of them - mystery).
Knowledge. When you know why you're doing something, you're more likely to keep doing it. One the primary motivators that helps clients adhere to a routine initially is either the presence of symptoms or the fear of their return. Neither reason works for the long term. Fear is a poor long term motivator and when your symptoms disappear, your motivation will drop like a stone. Sticking for a lifetime means changing your lifestyle. You have to have a good reason to change and the more positive it is, the more likely you will be to keep with the program. The reasons may be different between people, but you have to have a reason. It comes down to what you ultimately want to achieve and the clearer the picture is in your mind of what you want, the more likely you will do the things needed to produce the goal. For example, a common complaint from people about adding exercise to their day is a lack of time. If you know why and how exercise helps you, what the pay off is, you'll find a way to fit it in to your schedule. If the perceived benefit is too low, you won't.
Goals must be specific. If your goal is to feel better, how will you know when you have achieved the goal and how will you set another one? How you feel may change from one day to the next. What does feeling better mean? But, if your goal is to walk 45 minutes fast enough to produce a sweat, 4 days per week and have no symptoms 85% of the time, you'll know when you achieved your goal. You can measure it. You have to know why you're exercising; what will it do for you? And, be specific (check out this book about goals: Goal Mapping. Some great ideas on how to use the artistic part of your brain to help you set and achieve goals). For more information on goals, click here.
Competence. Competence comes from the latin word "competere" meaning "to be suitable." Do you have the necessary skills to carry out the exercise program properly? Do you know how to:
Do you have the required tools to get the job done? Do you need to join a health club? All of these variables come together to create your degree of competence. And, as your competence grows, so does your confidence. When you know you can carry out the routine, you will not be intimidated to alter it or experiment with it.
Mystery. Mystery is the one of the greatest tools to create "stickiness." Novels referred to as "page turners," like the Da Vinci Code, movies that rock the box office, or the magical elixir of a first date, mystery is what makes it all work. Mystery is wonder. "I wonder what happens next?" "I wonder if he'll call me tonight?" I'll bet that many of you reading this are wondering about the other four factors and, even though I've told you that I am not going to tell you, still hope that maybe you'll discover another one and that is the power of mystery.
Mystery elevates something psychologists refer to as "emotional arousal." When you're bored, you have a low emotional arousal level. When your emotional arousal is higher, you're more interested and will be stickier. How do you make something like exercising mysterious? It's all in your head and how you choose to look at it. For example, I have a goal of 100 pushups (maybe I'll tell you why some other time - yeah, there's that mystery thing again). When I start my routine, I ask myself, "I wonder how many I'll do today. My goal is 20. Can I do 21? Can I do 22?" This might sound silly, but it works. As soon as you add the element of wonder,your subconscious, serving at the pleasure of the conscious part of your brain, kicks into high gear. It starts searching for anything that resembles success. You feel intrigued, inspired; you feel better. You're in search of the answer to, "I wonder?" When you get the answer, you just create another mystery. It's being able to stay focused on the exercise and in the mystery that creates the stickiness. The idea of using a mystery to stay focused on an exercise is very similar to what athletes use to create a mental "game day." They visualize themselves in game situations and set the stage with tension. "It's the 18th hole, he has a 10 foot put to win the U.S. Open. He takes his stance....." By creating a mystery, you create focus. If you're just going through the motions, doing things out of obligation or guilt, you and your exercise routine will soon be divorced.
I'll talk about the other keys to keeping anything fresh in future Views. For now, think of knowledge, competence and mystery. Start with those and you will greatly improve your "stickiness."
Make today count.
PS - although mystery is one of the factors to elevating your stickiness, too much mystery can lead to frustration. On September 19th. 2006, we'll solve the mystery of shoulder pain in a free lecture at Sports Center. To reserve your seat, call us at 512-206-0433.
Bassett, S. The Assessment of Patient Adherence to Physiotherapy Rehabilitation. NZ Journal of Physiotherapy July 2003. Vol. 31, 2
Somedays, I just don't feel like climbing out of bed and onto an elliptical trainer for 30 or 40 minutes. I'd rather sip coffee. I'd rather read. So, I have a short dialogue with myself - just a reminder that the feeling of not wanting to to do what I need to do will pass. I focus on what I want - to be healthy, active, have a vibrant life - not on how I feel at the moment. The more I repeat the process, the more success I have in overcoming the inertia of inactivity and get off my butt, the easier it becomes. Repetition breeds success.
When I was in grade school, my math teacher stood at the front of the class, and occasionally called out my name and quizzed me on things like multiplication tables. If I missed it, she would hand me a piece of chalk, show me a chalkboard the size of Texas on which I would write, over and over, the multiplication tables starting with 1 x 1 = 1.
In music class, where I studied trumpet, I played the twelve chromatic scales until each scale was perfectly played. If I missed a note, I started over, from the beginning.
At the end of basketball practice, I shot free throws until I made 20 in a row. If missed, I started over.
See a pattern?
Repetition, of the right thing, done the right way, transforms flimsy knowledge, fragile understanding, and inconsistent performance into something dependable and solid. All teachers know that through repetition, you learn.
The same principle is at work in the body when you overcome an injury. Through repetition of training, you learn what to do and how to do it. Through repetition of movement, your body grows stronger, more flexible; you develop power and endurance. Your heart and lungs learn how to deliver the much needed oxygen. Through repetition of thought, your mind finds solutions; finds the positive alternatives to negative situations - ways to win.
I grumbled about having to go to the chalk board and write the formulas, repeat the scales on my trumpet, shoot the free throws just as you may grumble from time to time about having to change your daily routine because of an injury or surgery and work on drills until you master them. But, if you want to not just feel better but really be better, that's what you have to do. You have to show up and practice even when you don't feel like it. Your body makes you earn your health. Otherwise, everyone would be healthy.
Winning is built on repetition of the right thing done the right way. Is that what you're doing?
Make today count.
Do you worry? How often do you catch yourself thinking,"I wonder if I'll be able to do that or not? I wonder what will happen tomorrow?" We humans wonder and worry. A lot.
Some of you know my best buddy, Spencer, the most handsome and smartest Dalmatian on the planet. Spencer doesn't worry and he's always very excited to see me. If Spencer could talk, I imagine a conversation with him might be like talking to Keanu Reeves' character, Ted Logan, in the 1989 film "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure". It would go something like this:
"Hey dude, what's up?" said Spencer.
"I don't know buddy. I'm worried, I guess, about my friend, Chuck." I said.
Spencer paused, tilting his head sideways causing his right ear to flop up over his head. "What's worried mean, dude?" asked Spencer.
"Well, that means you keep thinking about something that's happened in the past or something that might happen in the future. Things keep going through your mind; like, 'Man, I should have done this' or 'What if this happens? Then what do I do?' You feel like you don't have control over certain things so you keep thinking about it." I said.
"So, you keep thinkin' about stuff that you can't do nothin' about?" asked Spencer.
"Uhh...yeah..that's right Buddy. Basically, that's right." I said.
"Dude...that's weird. What do you keep thinkin' about, dude?" asked Spencer.
"Yeah, I guess you're right. It seems weird. Chuck was sick and well....he was really sick. He could have died. And, we all thought, 'What if it happens again? Could it happen again? Could he get that sick again?' " I said.
"Whoa! Dude! Where's Chuck now?" asked Spencer.
"He's at home in Rockport. Why?" I replied.
"Well, he's here right? He's here, I mean, you know Dude, he's like okay, right?" asked Spencer.
"Yeah. He's okay." I said.
"So, you're thinkin' he might not be okay when he is okay?" asked Spencer.
"Yeah, Buddy, That's right. He's okay and I am thinking he might not be some time in the future." I said.
"Dude, I have a most totally excellent idea. How about if we get Chuck to come over and do some stair-ball? Is that cool?" asked Spencer.
"You mean where I toss the ball up the stairs and you run after it, get it and bring it back? That game?" I asked.
"Yeah dude! That game! Let's get Chuck! He's here right?" said Spencer excitedly.
"You know Buddy, that's a good idea. I'll get Chuck to come over some time soon to play some stair-ball." I said.
Spencer began to run in small circles, tail wagging, and ears flopping. "Now, Dude! Today is it, my man! Today is the day! Today is the day Chuck is here! Let's play stair-ball!" said Spencer smiling broadly.
In November 2004, our friend, Chuck, was diagnosed with throat cancer. It had spread, was on the move and we feared he might die. He lost more than I can imagine: a lot of weight, part of his neck, some of his right arm motion and all of his teeth. It was a devastating thing for him, his family and friends. He made it through, somehow, with a variety of treatments, and lived. Today, he's working and enjoying life. He's not exactly as he once was but he's alive and we're very happy to have him with us.
Roy Williams, the Wizard of Ads, has an expression "Lives, like money, are spent. How will you spend yours?" I can choose to spend my days worrying about what may happen to my friend Chuck. Or, I can choose to spend my days being thankful he's here. It's my choice. It's my emotional capitol. And, just like money, if you invest it in something that gives you more in return, your account will grow. Worrying is planned misery with a very high price tag. Worrying is a withdrawal, not an investment, so spend it carefully.
So, as my buddy Spencer might say, "Today is the day!" Make it count.
To read part one of the Doctor of Dunk - click here.
The next morning, everything was worse. I hurt to move, taking a deep breath hurt and if I coughed, a posse of pain galloped down my leg. But, as bad as I felt, I had something even more painful ahead of me. I had to pick up Ellen at the airport. Drive? I could barely walk. If I had been a woman, well, I probably wouldn't be in this situation, women seem to have more common sense than men (sorry guys - but you know it's true) and, more often than not, my intuition would have helped me. I would recognize and freely admit something was wrong and that I needed help. But, I'm a man and my intuition was easily replaced by something else. I was blinded to the obvious by Hemotion - the manly, gruff, voice that whispers,"It's just a sprain. Be tough. It's not a big deal. It'll go away. What kind of man are you anyway?" Hemotion, not to be confused with it's brother, Emotion, makes your I.Q. drop to somewhere around your pulse. I ambled, shuffled, stumbled toward my all-man Dodge truck feeling a lot more all-dumb than all-man. I somehow got into the truck, and drove to the airport shifting the manual transmission without careening off the road or passing out.
When I met Ellen, she said "What happened to you? What's wrong?"
"Wrong? Nothing's wrong. What do you mean? I'm fine. I just kind of tweaked my back is all. I'm fine really," I replied as I walked with less grace than the rusty Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz.
"You may want an x-ray. Looks to me like you
could have a fracture." Ellen had many years of practice in physical therapy and knew the signs and symptoms of fractures. I imagine she could see a big, bright, neon sign over my head blinking on and off, "FRACTURE".
"Nahh, I doubt it. Doesn't hurt that
bad. I'll be fine in a few days," I said.
"You do remember we're leaving for Disney World in a few days, right? We're going with my mother, remember? Do you think you can go?" asked Ellen.
Uh-oh. Inside my mind, I was screaming, "NO WAY! THERE IS NO WAY I CAN GO! RIDE ON A PLANE! BUSES? STAND IN LINE? FAST, BUMPY RIDES? NO WAY!!!!" But, what came out of my mouth was, "Yeah, sure. No problem. I'll be good to go."
I went to Disney World and it was a very difficult trip. When the plane landed in Orlando, I let out a yelp that would make a wolf howling at the moon jealous. The theme parks were very crowded and when someone bumped into me, I would sometimes yell, "Ohhh!" and not realize it was me. Very manly. I went on a Safari ride in a large truck with no suspension over a road with deep ruts, logs, and creeks creating the roughest ride I had ever had in my life. But, it gets better. After we returned, I succumbed, got an x-ray, and sure enough, I had a fracture. About three days later, my wife caught me jogging in the neighborhood.
It's as if there are two voices in your head. One, a rational, logical, Walter Cronkite kind of voice: The Voice of Reason. "Douglas, let's face the facts. You, my friend have a problem. A problem that needs attention. You're broken and you know it. And,that's the way it is." The other, the Voice of Hemotion - a tough, drill Sargent shouting, "Suck it up, don't be a baby, don't let others down." Sometimes you have to do things even though you're hurt; you just don't have a choice (read the View on Playing Hurt). But, many times, you listen to the Voice of Hemotion when it is the Voice of Reason that is the truth; the Voice you must heed.
Why do you ignore the Voice of Reason? Sometimes, you don't want to appear weak or incapable as
if asking for help was like standing on a street corner begging for spare change. And, sometimes it's because accepting the reality of your
condition is just too painful. You would rather complain about the pain
you feel rather than feel the pain of the truth. So, you might run even
though your foot hurts, or you play tennis with a swollen knee, or go to
Disney World with a fractured bone in your back.
Do me a favor and learn something from my poor choices. Learn to hear the Voice of Hemotion and listen to the Voice of Reason. If you hurt persistently, if your joint swells, your body aches, you feel grumpy and despondent, get some help. It doesn't mean you're weak and the only person you're letting down is yourself.
Chances are, the solution is a lot easier than you might think.
PS - Reserve your seat for our next free seminar, Runner's Knee: The Ten Mistakes Athletes Make, on July 18, 2006. This seminar fills up fast. Call 512-206-0433 to register.
PPS - A special thanks to my colleagues Christine Springer, for coining the terrm "hemotion", and Mark Tate for sharing his insights and suggestions.
I'll bet you have had something like this happen. You come home from a busy day with your mind filled with fluttering thoughts; things to do, people to call, problems to solve. You walk in the house with your arms wrapped around a load of groceries while tenuously holding your keys. You begin unloading the groceries but because your mind is not on the task at hand but still swirling with the thoughts of the day, you drop your keys in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator. You finish unpacking the groceries and then realize you forgot to return a phone call. Off you go for the phone leaving your keys stranded in the vegetable bin.
The next morning, you cannot find your keys. It feels like you have amnesia. You cannot remember anything about where they might be and you need to get going. In a panic, you rummage through every drawer, every pocket, and every place you can possibly think of but to your extreme dismay, you find nothing. No keys. And, you have no idea where they might be.
You forgot where you put your keys because you were focused on one thing while doing something else. Some might call this multi-tasking; a kind of mental gymnastics. I like to think of it as mind juggling. Whatever you want to call it and contrary to what some people think, multitasking is not a sign of superior intellect nor ability. In fact, the effect of all this mental juggling makes your brain slower, duller and your productivity drop. Scientists proved that multi-tasking reduces the activity in certain parts of your brain while trying to use another part of your brain at the same time thanks to something called a functional MRI (a machine that can determine which regions of your brain are active while performing a task). For instance, talking on your cell phone while trying to find a restaurant in a strange city. The combination of listening while looking for street signs, etc. , reduces your ability in each category (you don't listen well, you will still be lost and may even wreck).
As hard as it may be to do, try this to sharpen your mind and get more done in a day: do one thing a time and take it to completion or deliberately set it aside to begin something else. Research shows that switching between tasks repeatedly has the same effect as doing more than one thing at a time. Slow down to speed up.
So, if you'll excuse me, I have to go look for my keys. I'll bet they're in the refrigerator.
Make today count.
Chief Physical Therapist
Rubinstein, J. S., D. E. Meyer, et al. (2001). "Executive control of
cognitive processes in task switching." J Exp Psychol Hum Percept
Perform 27(4): 763-97.
Just, M. A., P. A. Carpenter, et al. (2001). "Interdependence of nonoverlapping cortical systems in dual cognitive tasks." Neuroimage 14(2): 417-26
We're pleased to announce our latest CD "Everything You Know About Strength Training Is WRONG!" is available from our online store. Get it today!
I will, but I'm told that I'm not the norm. Most people don't like to watch movies over and over. You already know the story; what happens, who wins, and how it ends. The story is predictable and therefore boring.
Generally, in life, when you know the ending, you instantly become less interested. Hence, the rise of "reality television". If you know which team will win the Super Bowl, you won't watch it (unless you're the betting type) or the Rose Bowl or The Final Four. After a month of the same dinner, every night, your appetite will certainly wane. Predictability yields boredom in every aspect of life except one.
When you have an injury, you want to know the story; the ending. Your questions are "How long will this last? When will this pain go away? What if it comes back? When can I run again?" When you have an injury, mystery is the last thing you want in your life.
One of the most rewarding experiences we have at Sports Center is when our clients know their stories so well they can tell us what will happen next. They know what it means when their back feels tight or aching re-appears in their knee. They know what to do and how to do it to get back in control.
The antidote for the mystery of an injury is knowledge. Some clients learn from our free lectures, others from one of our Cd's or DVDs, special publications available only to clients, this weekly email and, of course, from training with us in our lab.
If your injury feels a little mysterious, it means you do not have enough information. You may need to make a list of your questions and take it with you to your provider. If your provider either does not or will not answer your questions, find someone else. Great clinicians are out there. Keep looking.
Remove the mystery from your injury and you will, oddly enough, be energized; not bored. Life should be mysterious and magical; not injuries.
Make today count.
Chief Physical Therapist
Our latest CD, "Everything You Know About Strength Training Is WRONG!", is now available from our online store. Get your copy today!
It's still not too late to put the final touches on your New Year's Resolutions (which, number one should be that you resolve to keep your resolutions). Here is a list for you to ponder. If you do all seven this year, you'll feel better, be physiologically younger and live longer. Why not?
Eat real food. Fresh food is the best for you while processed, fast-food is the worst. Of course, fast food is cheap and easy but a steady diet of it will pile on the pounds, harden your arteries and raise your cholesterol. Check out the Mediterranean Diet from Harvard University for more information.
Move. Your body was built for movement so move it or lose it. A sedentary lifestyle is now defined as one that includes fewer than 5000 steps per day (and if you don't know how many steps you take in a day, read this article). If you want to enjoy youthful aging, get involved in a regular form of exercise at least 5 days per week. You need aerobic exercise for your heart and lungs, strength training for muscles, tendons, bones and joints and some form of balance exercise like yoga or Pilates. If you're just starting, go slow. Two days a week for a month then add one day. This is a lifestyle change and changes will stick if they are done in small increments.
Chill out. Life is hectic and rushes by unless you deliberately slow down. Meditation has been shown to be very effective at combating emotional stress but if you feel like your life is just too busy to add meditation, then use our 2 x 4 program: two minutes of slow, deep breathing done four times per day. This is especially helpful when you are stuck in traffic or if you encounter the deadly blue screen of an unexpected MS Windows crash right in the middle of a major presentation. Breathe.
Drink. Water, that is. You need roughly half your body weight in ounces per day. Water keeps your joints lubricated, helps your body burn fat and boosts your energy.
Sleep. Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Sleep is the great restorer. It's the only time your brain really gets a chance to re-charge (well, except for the times when you doze off during a meeting or class during the day). A re-charged brain makes you more productive, creative and a lot less grumpy. Get some sleep.
Be Positive. Avoid the glum, dim views of negative people. Negativity is like a virus spreading silently into every aspect of your life. Spend time around people who inspire you and fill your head with the better things in life. You become what you think about each day. Think positively.
Party. By definition, a party is "a social gathering especially for pleasure or amusement." In other words, people get together, talk, laugh, and generally just enjoy themselves. They have fun. Plan to have some fun at least once a month.
So there you have it. Seven things to do for 2006. They're on my list. How about you?
Party on, Wayne.
Chief Physical Therapist