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Movement is Medicine. Consistency is the Prescription

Meters Projected: 224,000

Meters Rowed: 201,872

My Journey

At the turn of the new year, I decided to not make a new year’s resolution. I didn’t want to make a laundry list of goals. Instead, I chose a theme – Consistency. Consistency in thought and in practice. With lots of changes happening around me, I have not practiced proper preparation and poor planning has made for inefficient use of my time each day. My thoughts, my practice, my actions have been inconsistent. I fell behind in my training. But a moment of morning reflection brought me back to the light. My approach has been wrong. I’ve been confusing consistency with perfection. I have been teaching the “80/20” Rule, but not following it (Coaches are the worst!). I now see this as a journey, not a task. I’m taking on an adventure where there will be many other lessons. If there was one goal to be said, it would state “1% better every day.” Small wins, over time, add up to big victories. Just enjoy the ride.

Movement is Medicine

The same can be said for exercise: Small doses, performed consistently throughout the week, will help you live a long, healthy life. It’s free medicine! The American College of Sports Medicine “prescribes” 150 minutes of exercise per week for everyone. For those living with Parkinson’s Disease, exercise is the best medicine. Some of my athletes refer to it as their “magic” pill. They take it regularly, at least sixty minutes a day, 3-4 times per week. We like to think of it as building our body of armor against Parkinson’s. Most imagine our classes to look like a typical Physical Therapy session. I highly recommend you come in for a visit. Your jaw will drop. A healthy blend of compassion, toughness, and hard work. It’s a fun social outlet that my athletes don’t typically experience outside of the gym. Music blasting in a room of 55-80 year-old men and women – yelling (cursing at me), punching, running, performing push-ups or squats to the now infamous sound of “Bring Sally Up, Bring Sally Down!” Again, open invitation. Just be prepared to participate. You might get called out. My squad LOVES to show off!

Exercise is the most powerful, inexpensive readily available drug in the world! Unfortunately, the medical field has not yet fully embraced #movementismedicine. PWPs (People with Parkinson’s) are prescribed various types of medicine (most notable is Sinemet – a dopamine promoter used to treat symptoms like tremors, stiffness and difficult moving). On average, PWPs will spend $2,500 a year on medicine alone (! That’s enough for a yearly gym membership with your very own personal trainer. With no sign of a cure, you can live a very long life with Parkinson’s. Can you imagine the savings each year if at diagnosis a prescription for exercise was written?

While PWPs view exercise as a way to slow the progression of PD, its time we all embrace exercise as preventative medicine. Over the past 60 years (give or take) so much evidence has been presented to help us understand the value and importance of exercise. We have more power than we think to take control and manage our health. A little bit, done consistently over time, will lead to a healthy, happy life.

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