By Jonathan Tait, D.O.
Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness. Our interpretation of physical fitness is the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily, and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure.
To achieve the highest accomplishments within the scope of our capabilities in all walks of life we must constantly strive to acquire strong, healthy bodies and develop our minds to the limit of our ability. This very rapidly progressing world with its ever-increasing faster tempo of living demands that we be physically fit and alert in order that we may succeed in the unceasing race with keen competition which rewards the “go-getter” but by-passes the “no-getter”.
Physical fitness can neither be acquired by wishful thinking nor by outright purchase. However, it can be gained through daily practice.
In the Stone Age and onward man lived mostly outdoors with practically little shelter from the elements. He has not yet lived long enough indoors with protection against the elements to be able to successfully withstand the daily strains and stresses imposed upon him by our present mode of “fast living”.
This explains why both you and I and all the rest of us are compelled in our own interest to give constant thought to the improvement of our bodies and to spend more time in acquiring and maintaining that all-important goal of physical fitness.
All in all, we do not give our bodies the care that our well-being deserves. True, we do stroll in the fresh air whenever our whimsical spirit moves us, or whenever necessity compels us to do so. The result however is that on these occasions we do, in spite of ourselves, exercise our legs to this limited extent, it is done at the sacrifice of the rest of our body which after all is much more important to us from the viewpoint of our general health.
Is it any wonder then that the haphazard and wholly inadequate body-building technique of the average person fails so miserably in the acquirement of physical fitness?
Admittedly, it is rather difficult to gain ideal physical fitness under the handicap of daily breathing the soot-saturated air of our crowded and noisy cities. On the other hand, we can more quickly realize this ambition if we are privileged to breathe the pure fresh air of the country and forests without the accompaniment of the traffic roar of the city which constantly tends to keep our nerves strung taught.
Even those of us who work in the city and are fortunate enough to live in the country must counteract the unnatural physical fatigue and mental strain experienced in our daily activities. Telephones, automobiles, and economic pressure all combine to create physical letdown and mental stress so great that today practically no home is entirely free from sufferers of some form of nervous tension.
Because of the intense concentration demanded by our work and despite the real enjoyment of our work may bring some of us we, nevertheless, gladly welcome any additional relief in the form of diversified and pleasant recreational activities, preferably outdoors, in our constant attempts to offset the effects of increasing cares and burdens so common today.
To ease mental strain and relieve physical fatigue we must acquire a reserve stockpile of nervous energy in order that we may really be able to enjoy ourselves at night. Hobbies and all forms of play tend materially to renew our vitality with accompanying moral uplift. Play is not necessarily only confined to indulging in conventional games. Rather the term “play” as we use it here, embraces every possible form of pleasurable living.
For example, spending a quiet and pleasant evening at home with our family chatting with congenial friends is, according to our interpretation, a form of play that is delightful, pleasant social entertainment as distinguished as our daily work. This finds us cheerful, contented, and relaxed.
However, many of us at the end of our daily work lack sufficient energy at night for recreation. How many of us simply spend the night routinely reading the newspaper? How many of us are entirely too exhausted to read, even occasionally, an interesting book, visit our friends, or see one of the latest motion pictures?
When some of us occasionally spend a weekend away from our usual haunts and environments, instead of receiving the immediate benefits of that desirable change in the way of complete revitalization (without fatigue) as the result of our experience outdoors in bright sunshine, we are more often than not likely to find ourselves only recovering from the shock of our disappointment about the middle of the following week.
Why? Because our previous mode of living and the consequent neglect of our bodies has not prepared us for reaping the beneficial results of this diversion. We lacked the necessary reserve energy to draw upon for this purpose and the fault lies only with us and not with nature as most of us like to think. All that any normal body should require is a change from whatever it has previously been subjected to.
Accordingly, since we are living in this Modern Age we must of necessity devote more time and more thought to the important matter of acquiring physical fitness. This does not necessarily imply that we must devote ourselves only to the mere development of any particular set of muscles, but rather more rationally to the uniform development of our bodies as a whole – keeping all of our organs as nearly as possible in their naturally normal condition so that we many not only be in a better position to earn our daily bread but also so that we many have sufficient vitality in reserve at night for the enjoyment of compensating pleasure and relaxation.
Perhaps with some feeling of doubt you ask, “How can I realize such a utopian condition? At night I am much too tired to go to a gymnasium”. Or, “Isn’t it too costly to enroll for a conditioning course in some good gymnasium or club?
[The passage above was taken directly from the introduction to Return to Life Through Contrology, by Joseph Pilates, published in 1945.]
It is quite amazing that nearly seven decades later these words still ring true. His philosophies on health and fitness were certainly years ahead of their time.
Telephones, rather now smart phones, stimulate our brain to be “always on”, information pours at us with unprecedented pace via the internet and social media, and financial pressures remain heavy on most of us today. The ever-increasing physical and mental strain of this load, coupled with a de-emphasis on physical fitness and proper nutrition has taken the country to a point where many people are sicker than those living in 1945 when Joseph Pilates wrote those words.
He coined the term Contrology to represent a complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit accomplished through deliberate repetition of specific exercises he developed over more 43 years of studying the form, function, and movement of the body. After purposefully acquiring control of the muscular system, and in turn ideal posture, movement and function of the body, he believed that the natural rhythm and coordination associated with subconscious activities, as well as revitalization of one’s health would occur. The aim of his philosophies were to develop the body uniformly, correct posture, restore physical vitality, invigorate the mind, and elevate the spirit.
As we mature in age we can find our bodies seemingly at odds with our ego. Joint and back pain is an every day occurrence, as is the accumulation of more medications to “treat” various ailments. Much of this I believe is completely related to decreased activity and our overall level of physical fitness. It is further compounded by a modern diet that can inflame the body, and busy lifestyles that can continually wear upon the body rather than building it up.
What I also strongly believe, and what has driven me to strike out on my own with a new and progressive medical practice model at Rejuv Medical Southwest, is that the deterioration of one’s health can be near completely prevented through appropriate modification of lifestyle.
Rather than short-term “fixes”, the treatments I employ are firmly rooted in sustainable lifestyle interventions in five broad categories:
Hippocrates is famously quoted as saying “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.
Nutrition is the foundation for restoration of health as the highly interwoven orchestration of all cellular function and chemical reactions within the body is dictated by the building blocks acquired in your diet.
The foundation of your treatment plans focus on optimization of food choices, and strategic supplementation that can shift your body back into a state of ease, or optimal function, rather than a state of dis-ease.
For a society “always on the go” we tend to spend a lot of time in positions or postures that can be a contributing factor to painful muscles, joints or spine problems. Inactivity, usually coupled with associated weight gain and obesity, can shift your body into a state of imbalance, promoting inflammation, poor physiologic function, and in turn promotion of various pain or disease states.
At Rejuv Medical Southwest, we are uniquely qualified to help you restore lost function, strength, and mobility through our in-house Medical Fitness programs.
Again, as an “always on, and on the go” society, your body is subjected to an incredible amount of stress that can have a negative impact on health. The source of the stress can be internal, based on poor food choices, or external based on your daily environment and exposures.
At Rejuv Medical Southwest, you are counseled on positive, constructive outlets for stress rather than common negative coping strategies such as eating, smoking, or drinking.
Sleep Quality Improvement
If the body is unable to regularly achieve a deep, restorative sleep cycle you will become compromised in your ability to recover from injury, fight off illnesses, and heal from disease states.
Specific instruction in sleep hygiene will allow you to naturally shift your body into a state of restful sleep, without the use of sleeping pills.
If significant sleep problems are identified, they can be further explored with laboratory sleep studies to determine the root cause of poor sleep.
Strong Social Network
At Rejuv Medical Southwest, we walk the walk and talk the talk. Each employee is uniquely qualified to guide and support you, at each step of the way, through the transformation back to a better state of health, and a more functional life with less pain.
Epidemiological studies have shown that when these five factors are optimized, longevity is dramatically increased while the incidence of chronic, debilitating medical conditions are dramatically decreased. By diligently working together as a team we are therefore able to increase not only your life span, but more importantly your health span.
What I am describing is a paradigm shift in the approach to medicine, especially to those familiar with the traditional medical approach. It is broadly termed Functional Medicine and describes a practice of medicine that thoroughly engages both the patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership that seeks to determine and address underlying causes of disease using a systems-oriented approach. Through this partnership and patient-centered care, you are empowered to take ownership for your own healing as you are guided by the health care provider.
The focus of treatment is shifted away from the disease or symptom that brought you into the healthcare system, and instead focuses on you, the patient, as a whole person rather than a list of isolated symptoms. The genetic, environmental, lifestyle and psychosocial factors that can predispose you to the development or persistence of a disease state can be identified, and in time more effectively and completely treated.
Joseph Pilates believed that patience and persistence were prerequisite vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor. Transformation of your health can be a lengthy process, particularly if you have let your health slide for several years. With patience and persistence however you can improve your health regardless of your medical diagnoses or age.
I believe there is no better worthwhile endeavor than the complete restoration of health through lifestyle interventions. At the same time you will be decreasing your dependency on the current health care system. In combination this is the most cost-effective health and life insurance policy you could ever attain for yourself or your family.
At Rejuv Medical Southwest we will partner with you and work tirelessly to get to the root cause of the problem. We will help you fully understand your health condition or injury. And, we will construct comprehensive treatment plans that restore optimal health, function and longevity – instead of simply masking the symptoms. Empowered with this information you will transform your health and ultimately Rejuvenate your life.
A new day is dawning on what it will truly mean to deliver health care, and I am up for the challenge of leading you out of the darkness of the current system and into the light.
Take the first step towards a better tomorrow.
Take action today and take your life back.
Rebuild. Restore Rejuv.
Jonathan D. Tait, D.O.
President, Rejuv Medical Southwest