Robert and I attended a recent health and wellness fair to get our name out there, reach the masses with our amazing product (life changing activity to benefit every level of fitness), and hopefully snag a few more members before the holidays (a.k.a. when everyone trashes their bodies). Looking around to all of the booths featured in health and wellness and hearing some of the conversations that took place, I noticed a few trends in our society's opinion of what encompasses health and wellness.
First off, I was VERY impressed with the amount of bodyworkers in the room. Now, quantity doesn't mean quality, but the mass of massage therapists means more people are starting to accept massage as a therapy instead of a special treat for women after facials.
It was also nice to see more than one health food/nutrition booth, lots of water to go around, an edible gardening booth, fun activities to entice movement, and booths dedicated to the welfare of senior citizen independent living.
There were a few people I really enjoyed talking to because I learned from their experiences:
- the man who, after having a stent put in, started taking his health seriously and works out every day on his own - that's great self-motivation.
- the woman who realized that sitting made her feel tired and brought out pain in her back and hips so she wouldn't let herself use her couch - ummm, genius!
- the woman who made sure we did weightlifting because she wants to prevent osteoporosis and researched what the best natural prevention is - absolutely we weightlift.
- the man who asked if we have air conditioning...because he doesn't want to work out in an air conditioned facility because he likes his body warm during workouts - that's refreshing.
A little of what I heard and saw that made me cringe:
- An ad for some kind of bulky, squishy shoe insole:
"Running on Earth is punishing. Running on the moon, not so much."
Ok, running on the moon isn't even an option, so why make that comparison? And, no, running on Earth is NOT punishing if you do it correctly...treat the source of the problem, not the symptom. That's what we do in our gym and it works.
- "Oh, no, I don't lift anything, ever."
Correction, you lift yourself out of bed every morning, you lift your coffee cup to your face every day, you lift your groceries into the car and then into the house, you lift dishes to put them away, you lift your cat (I'm sure you have many), etc. Everyone lifts everyday. We teach you how to do so and not hurt yourself.
- "I love it [working out] but I'm not going to do it."
What? ... I mean, ... what?
- "I can't do that." after looking at our slideshow of pictures from around the gym.
We argued (nicely) with and pointed out specific people from the pictures, told them how far they've come, where they were when they started, and a few opened their minds about it. But most of them had their minds made up: they are incapable of some of the most basic movements we do in the gym. How sad. I've seen some ordinary people do extraordinary skills in the walls of our gym and it was all because they took the first step and tried.
- In response to our sign that read "Learn to move properly for pain free living:"
"Pain free living is an unrealistic goal."
Us - "It's realistic, you just have to work a little for it."
"See, there's always a catch."
This, to me, was the most heartbreaking. People are OK with living in pain and instead of putting a little effort forward (going to a gym three times a week for an hour a day to learn how to move and stretch to rid the pain), they'd rather just wallow in it or take a pill for temporary relief. You work for money, you work for a good marriage, you work for decent kids, you work to up-keep your house...why can't you work for your health and body?
In my opinion (keep that in mind as you read on), people have a misguided view on what it really means to be healthy and well. From dictionary.reference.com:
health: the state of being free from illness or injury
wellness: 1. the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as theresult of deliberate effort.
2. an approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating diseases.
If you're on several prescriptions, or constantly getting sick or in pain, you are not in a state of health. To achieve a state of health, you must use a wellness approach - "deliberate effort" used to "emphasize preventing illness and prolonging life" a.k.a. preventative health care, as opposed to reactive health care - oh, now something's wrong, let's fix the symptom.
Exposure & Education. It won't get through to everyone, but everyone should at least be exposed to what we do and what we can do for them.
Here's a simple equation:
In constant pain --> try something out to fix & rid the pain (like our free Saturday 9am class) --> if it doesn't work, you gave it a shot; if it works, awesome life!
Why can we can guarantee getting rid of your current chronic pains? Because we've done it dozens of times with dozens of people with dozens of different health and body issues. Yes, you will be sore the first few times. But let me tell you, my body ached more the day after sitting at the health fair for 7 hours than it ever does after even the most brutal workouts. Movement is pain prevention. Soreness is a refreshing feeling, aching pain is not.