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An Editor’s Invitation: Exercise

Dear Pulse readers,

I often encourage my patients to get some exercise. And I offer the same advice to myself. In fact, just this morning I planned to go out for a run.

And then I didn’t.

I’ll take that run tomorrow, I told myself. And yes, I expect that it will actually happen.

I’d like to boast that I get out for vigorous exercise every day–or most days of the week, as is recommended.

But that would be a fib.

I believe (and the evidence backs me up) that everything helps, even leisurely exercise. I get out for a run maybe once a week. Today, instead of getting in the car, I’ll walk the mile to the train station for my ride into work.

I’ll take it.

But of course, there are days when the only exercise I seem to get is sitting down and standing up. That’s modern life as we know it.

I believe that exercise should be fun. I also think that most of us have a tendency to overdo. Rather than giving 110 percent, I say it’s better to stop at 95. Rest before it hurts. Save a little for tomorrow. Keep it light.

My very favorite form of exercise is swimming–for two reasons: first, it’s the one form of exercise where you don’t get hot and sweaty; and second, I find it hard to worry about other things when my head is underwater.

At one time I used to swim a couple of times a week at our local Y, but then my right shoulder got sore and the window of time for that activity got taken up with something else. (Does playing music count as exercise? It’s definitely therapeutic, and I do play the guitar standing up. I hope you’ll agree that it counts for something.)

What about you? Are you getting exercise these days–or spending more time berating yourself for the exercise you’re not getting? Are you counseling others to get exercise–and, if so, how’s that going?

July’s More Voices theme is Exercise. Send us your lived experience. And while you’re at it, take a look at last month’s theme, Cancer.

For more details, visit More Voices FAQs–or go directly to the More Voices Submission Form. Remember, your healthcare-related story should be 40-400 words. And no poetry, please.

Take care, please get vaccinated if you haven’t already, and stay cool.

With best regards,

Paul Gross


1 thought on “An Editor’s Invitation: Exercise”

  1. Paul,

    Thanks for your exercise call and your own honesty on this subject. Enjoyable exercise is the key. I was told to swim after a back injury in my thirties. I joined the Y and swam until my hair turned green. I exercised to their videos. I came to hate looking at a pool. After a chiropractor helped I got a bike and was soon on it every day. It exercised my back and my cardio and I LOVED it. Here in South Florida there were few days I couldn’t bike. Once a week my neighbor and I made the 26 mile round trip over by the ocean, past Mar A Lago into downtown Palm Beach. ME/CFS hit like a sledge hammer 31 years ago and gone were the bike rides and the sailing. A walk into my bathroom clinging to the walls for balance felt like a marathon. I miss what I had before and so encourage people to find something they love, even dancing in the middle of the day.

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