Exercise – the instant magic lever

By ePatient, Clinician No Comments
Seems like a no brainer. Exercise, the instant magic lever for best health. Profoundly affects spiritual, mental, and physical health. One of the ways I discovered that I had multiple sclerosis was my inability to stay on a bicycle. I kept falling off when I stopped. Receiving the diagnosis was sobering at best! Sometimes very sad and depressing. Six months after my diagnosis I bought a Recumbent tricycle. I cried with relief that I could still get my favorite exercise. Can’t fall off a trike. Good for my soul, good for my heart, good for my quads. The direct connection between activity and recovery is so well documented.

How have we redesigned healthcare to include more activity? In that last 20 years patients walk right away after surgery and recover much more quickly. When I was an ICU manager we incorporated more activity into our standard operating procedure. We needed to use the families and caregivers to increase activity. We struggled with reluctant patients. But more activity for patients led to fewer complications, shorter stays, and better outcomes. Good for staff as well.  Have we taken this far enough? Do we build our organizational systems to maximize activity for staff?  I wonder if the magic levers of best health are obvious but fundamentally challenging-like the golden rule. Obvious and tough. 


What have you done to include physical activity in the routine of care giving?

Best Health: Different lens, Different point of view

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This first blog begins to set the stage. “Best health”. How will we recognize best health? For individuals, could it be love, peace of mind, a cure, ability to complete activities of daily living, or freedom from dis-ease? For organizations, could it be making a profit, growing volume, high overall satisfaction or NetPromoter score? 

Just like anything with the human condition, best health isn’t static. Best health has constant variation. At one point in my life working for a landscaping company, I had the task of completing the final hand raking of top soil for a brand new 2 acre rolling lawn. Took 20 hours. With the lens of that solitary monotonous gig I learned that there is no up without a down. Every depression had a corresponding rise. Zen for the 20 year old! Best implies less than best, always together.

While in nursing school, as a rehab aide, I was going down the hall with a 18 year old quadriplegic from a gunshot wound to the neck learning to maneuver his wheelchair with his mouth. Coming the other way was a 50 year old man suffering from a debilitating stroke, learning to locomote his wheelchair with his left hand and foot. Behind the drooling, slouching, struggling man was his beautiful 20 something wife dressed to the hilt looking completely disgusted. Out of the corner of his mouth my young patient muttered, “glad I’m not him.” It’s all relative. 

Different lens, different point of view. Attaining best health means figuring out the unique goal of the person or organization and working toward that goal collaboratively.

I invite you tell your story.