Try Re-inventing yourself
Article by: Dr Darrell Menard
Some of the most compelling sports stories are of athletes who because of injury could no longer do their sport of choice and go on to become great champions in another sporting discipline. These people were faced with 3 choices: continuing to hurt themselves in their current sport, quitting all together or re-inventing themselves. They choose to re-invent themselves
This decision making process doesn’t just happen to elite athletes. Every week in my clinical practice I meet someone who because of injury or illness is faced with the same choices. A good example of this would be an ageing infantry soldier who wants to continue in this trade but finds the osteoarthritis in his right knee bothers him a great deal if he does longer unit runs. If he limits his runs to 5k, cross trains more and runs on softer surfaces he experiences very few symptoms. His biggest concern is that he is employed in a leadership role and he feels that to lead by example he needs to participate in every unit run regardless of the distance.
Regardless of how talented you are, every active person at some point in their life is faced with the need to change what they are doing. Some hang on longer than others but eventually absolutely everybody reaches this point. The trick here is not to give up but rather to re-invent yourself. Find something else to physically challenge yourself with. If running long distances bothers you too much, try running shorter distances. You might be surprised how demanding training to run a fast 5k can be. If running “any distance” is no longer good for you try cycling – it’s a lot like running but you get to your destination much faster. If your shoulders hurt too much when you swim why not try power walking. Thanks to advances in technology, you currently have an incredible variety of fitness/sporting opportunities to choose from.
It is extremely important that each and every one of us stays active throughout our entire life and in order to achieve this goal the chances are we are going to have to re-invent ourselves many times. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself enjoying your new fitness activities as much or more than the ones you had to leave behind. Exercise is medicine!
|Re-inventing yourself isn’t quitting – it’s smart!|
Dr. Darrell Menard OMM MD, Dip Sport Med
Dr. Menard is a former Physical Education Officer at RMC; the Surgeon General’s specialist advisor in sports medicine and has worked extensively with athletes from multiple sports. As part of the Strengthening the Forces team he works on injury prevention and promoting active living.
Strengthening the Forces is CAF/DND’s healthy lifestyles promotion program providing expert information, skills and tools for promoting and improving CAF members’ health and well-being.