As you sit down to this year’s Thanksgiving feast, take some time to reminisce. Look back at how much this year has brought you. Maybe you are finally sober after years of drug abuse. You took the steps to change, and have accomplished something you didn’t know was possible. If you faltered, experienced troubling times, and are still standing, be thankful for your perseverance. Look around the table you are seated at and be thankful for the view. Some years you may have sat alone, without food on the table, without a roof, and felt you had nothing to be thankful for. If that has changed in any way, be thankful for what you have, because others may not have it.
Here at the Lakeview Health Wellness Center, we have so much to be thankful for. We have the opportunities as trainers to work in a well-designed fitness center with new equipment and for a company that understands the importance of incorporating physical health into treatment. One thing, in particular, we do not always show appreciation for is you, the people we train. The patients we see on a daily basis come from a variety of walks of life, with tragic histories, and life lessons we may never have to learn on our own. We are thankful to be able to help some of them find a new passion in life. A healthy lifestyle is not a guarantee, so if you are struggling to be grateful this year, here are some things our patients become thankful for after starting on this journey.
When our patients start working out, their bodies adapt quickly and effectively to the new stresses placed on it. In the fitness field, we refer to this as the SAID (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand) Principle. Whether you begin training for endurance, strength, hypertrophy, or something else, your body is going to change to rise to the challenge. In the beginning, you will become stronger, have better endurance, and increase your lean body mass. If you have exercised consistently for an extended period of time and have stopped noticing positive changes, switch up your training style. The change will revamp your body to adjust to a new style of training. These new adaptations will equal new gains in size, strength or endurance, and most importantly, something to be thankful for.
With new gains from exercise, comes new confidence. We have patients entering the wellness center with depression, low self-worth, anxiety, and a generally negative attitude about themselves. Some patients feel like failures for being in treatment, or maybe they have never done anything worth being proud of. They feel incapable of handling stressful situations in a healthy way, and self-harm because of it. The great thing about exercise is the immediate success one can have. If our patients think they are unable to lift 20 pounds, then they do, the excitement exhibited is contagious. The instantaneous moment of success changes their opinion of themselves. As time goes by, body fat lowers, muscles grow and tone, our patients feel accomplished for the visual change in their bodies. No longer can a negative self-image be portrayed because of the positive change presented for all. Whether or not the awe-inspiring six-pack shows in the mirror, any patient or person should be proud of every accomplishment they achieve in the gym.
This is two-part. Not only are patients able to literally breathe easier because of an improved cardiovascular system, but also because of the choice made to give up smoking cigarettes. Our bodies are hardwired to breathe even if we are trying not to. A system will kick in automatically after a certain time to make us breathe. This is important to understand because breathing is often overlooked until it is either strained or made easier. Exercise improves the cardiorespiratory system by strengthening the heart to pump oxygenated blood more adequately. Combine this with quitting smoking and now the lungs function better without the literal chokehold of inhaling toxins. Even something this small is important to remember when counting your blessings this season.
The number of people who experience pain on a day to day basis is astonishing. The fact some cases do not have a direct cause is also boggling. Our patients are no different, and we see issues every day. In the same breath, we see multiple cases of long-term pain vanishing after being consistent with exercise. This goes along with proper technique, and movements designed to stabilize, mobilize, and strengthen key areas that cause the problem. At Lakeview Health, our patients struggling with pain also have access to pain recovery services that are designed to treat chronic pain with non-habit forming methods. If you have ever experienced chronic pain, and it is gone, you certainly have something to be thankful for.
It is funny to think how often we see patients that do not exercise for fear of being judged. The dread a person feels about being seen as weak or inexperienced to others is staggering and presents a great excuse to avoid exercise. However, after some time being in the gym, anyone including our patients, can tell you this is the complete opposite. As trainers, we love seeing “older” patients motivating “new” patients to work hard, listen to staff on form and technique, and complimenting them on new goals. Working out becomes less of an individualized focus and more of a team effort with the goal of helping everyone achieve more. Having a positive community surrounding you is an easy thing to be thankful for.
So there you have it. The reasons for being healthy are great and every one of us should be thankful for the benefits we receive by eating well and exercising. Hopefully, you as our readers experience all of these things because you are dedicated to this lifestyle. If not and you want to make the change, come back next month for our article in regards to Giving the Gift of Fitness to yourself and others.
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