Happy Independence Day!
I can hardly believe that it's here. The Fourth of July. That time point that marks full-fledged summertime, and that the year is halfway through!
Weirdly, I can't even remember what I did last year. But the year before I decided (VERY last minute) to go to my hometown in Greeley, CO, drive from Boulder an hour to get there by dark, stay at my parents', and run the 5k race first thing in the morning while people were setting their chairs and blankets out along 10th Ave to stake their spot on the parade route.
I love Independence Day! (What I do not love is the smell of bacon and pancakes in the park while I'm running as fast as I can, trying not to hurl). In fact, Greeley is into the 4th so much they have a 2 week fair/rodeo/concert extravaganza called the Independence Stampede! Which is maybe as country-tastic as it sounds!
Independence Day. Hmm. So what is independence anyway?
While I'm thinking about my hometown, and as I was just there for a high school class reunion, I'm reminded of my high school band teacher Mr. Leyba. I will always remember him saying that his goal, his mission, what he was striving for in being a good teacher to all his students was to "make you independent of me." And I suppose he got through to me, because I did! I went my own way, paved my own path, left home, got farther away, and kinda keep doing things differently.
And thanks to Mr. Leyba, that has really stuck with me. As a Physical Therapist, a teacher, a healer, a professional, a transformation specialist, my goal is to help people be independent of me. To help them understand their bodies in a way that makes so much sense to them that they really get it. And by encouraging new patterns and habits and lifestyle choices that it becomes more ingrained into their everyday being.
So that they may stay healthy and mobile long-term. Not just for the next walk or the next race or the next hike or downward facing dog or paddleboard adventure or salsa night.
So that when something crops up later, some pain or niggle or stiffness or spasm, they will know what to do sooner, on their own, even before they need to consult me or someone else.
Limited mobility is no fun. I see it all the time with patients. No matter what their age is, 22 or 39 or 51 or 77, they all feel "old" (yes, even my 16 year old patients say, "I must be getting older, I can't do what I used to") when their bodies aren't working well for them. They feel less free, less able to decide what they want to do, more limited by the restrictions of pain or potentially making a problem worse.
It's a lot like Nancy. She came to me at when she had pain in her right hamstring and her left low back (opposite sides of course, which makes total sense). This had been going on for at least 5 years if not longer- super frustrating! And she kept doing her usual activities and sports that she loved but modifying or seeking input and help from various people because that was what she knew to do. Once we got to the root cause of the issue and once she got awesome at following my directions, the pain resolved. It took some time, focusing and being consistent, but we got there!
But the really great part of this story is this.. Just last week I got a message from Nancy- after about a year- and she said she felt a slight twinge in her back come on. And that she did some of the things she had learned right away for a few days and it went away! She did it!
Isn't it great to learn new things that can help you for the long run!! I love it!!
Independence means FREEDOM.
Freedom to take good care of yourself.
Freedom to acknowledge when you need outside help and when you don't.
Freedom to choose to go back home and race on the parade route and somehow win the women's category even though you ran 2 minutes slower than you used to. That was super fun!
Freedom to run and play and travel and dance and scale a mountain and swim 2400 meters and chataranga 20 times and drive and race and bend and move and sing and spin around in circles till you get dizzy if you want to.
Freedom to move is freeing.
Taking care of yourself well and finding balance in your life, your activities, and your body, allows you to live more fully and more freely (Ha, look at that- "freely" rhymes with Greeley :D ).
So on the 4th of July- or any holiday for that matter- be sure to celebrate not just the country and it's history or traditions or significant time points, but also you and your own independence.
And go right ahead and be the firecracker that lights up the world with your energy and independence.
Are you struggling with anything that is limiting your health, independence, or freedom of movement? Have you tried everything and nothing is working? We may be able to help. We offer a free physical therapy visit to diagnose the root cause of your pain and limitation.
Find out about our free Discovery Visit at Lara Johnson Physical Therapy in Boulder, CO . Or call us at 720-583-5580 so we can help you get back on the road to health.
Your friend in healthy movement and lifelong well-being,
My mission is to help 100,000 people avoid unnecessary surgeries, medications, and injections so they can keep moving in the most natural ways their body is meant for.
Lara Johnson is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, long-time exercise and health enthusiast and experienced distance runner.