Exercise helps find medical problems
Lets say you buy a Jeep, it’s all shiny and new, your first 4X4. At first you take care of it every day, you wash it, check the oil regularly and take it out for drives.
You never take it off-road though and rarely drive it during the winter. You love your baby so much you rarely even get it above 25mph.
Slowly over time your infatuation wears off and you find another object to fawn over. Then before you know it, your 4x4 sits in the garage neglected. Sure you take it out occasionally but only to the corner store. You might even take it to get the mail now and then, but that’s about it.
One day, out of nowhere, a freak snowstorm pops up and all the roads are iced over. You have to be somewhere in a hurry but there’s no way your daily driver will make it. Luckily you have your trusty 4X4.
You go out to the garage and it won’t start. You finally get it started and realize a tire is flat. You fix the tire and take off down the road only to realize that the jeep pulls horribly to the right at any speed over 30mph. You continue on your way but soon it starts to sputter, shake and eventually dies, leaving you stranded, stuck in a snowstorm.
So what does this have to do with fitness?
A lot, just imagine your body is the 4X4. When we’re young we’re very active, as we grow older our activity level generally falls year by year. We don’t get our check ups as regularly as we used to, and we use inferior fuel (Junk Food) to give us energy. We don’t use our body for anything but sitting around and being lazy. In essence we are the just like the old neglected 4X4.
Over time the neglect takes it’s toll and eventually when you need to rely on your body, it just might not work as expected.
This is why I believe exercise can be used for more than just getting fit; it can also be used to let you know if something is wrong.
Lets face it, just like the car analogy above, most people never know they have a problem until it’s to late.
To illustrate my point, I’ll tell you about my recent health scare.
I was performing a WOD and noticed that I was getting extremely light headed. I stopped, re-started, and felt the same way. I stopped the workout, walked into the house, sat down, got light headed again and then felt my hands and feet go numb.
I was pretty scared at first but the feeling eventually wore off, the only lasting problem was that the rest of the day I felt pretty worn out.
Prior to this WOD I had noticed that my workouts had become lack luster. In fact some weird things had crept up months before. I was having shortness of breath issues during most of my workouts and many times I was completely worn out before I began.
After the last incident, I made an appointment to see a doctor, one thing led to another and they began narrowing down what was wrong. As of now I don’t know the final prognosis because I’m still in the process of being tested. I have a CT scan in the near future, which should tell me more.
The point of all this is to illustrate the fact that if I didn’t exercise I doubt I would have known if something was wrong. I’m sure eventually, maybe years later, something else would have caused the same symptoms, but by then whatever it was causing these symptoms could have caused permanent, irreversible damage.
I don’t know what I’ll find out, but if it’s something serious, I’m confident that I caught it early enough to take care of it.
I believe exercise saves lives by making you healthy, but also by letting you know when you're not.
Get off your butt and test out the 4X4 (Your Body) every once in awhile.
You don’t want to find out it’s broke the day you need it, by that time it might be to late.
See you in the hills.