I once knew a guy that ran like his life depended upon it. He was always running and ran multiple marathons a year. That was his outlet. Before, his outlet was drugs and he figured if he had to be addicted to something, it might as well be running. That’s not a bad philosophy…until it stops working.
I ran into him a few years ago and found out that after a couple of knee replacements and deterioration in all of his major joints in his legs that he finally saw that he had to stop running. His new addiction is food and as you can imagine, when you have an ultra-high activity level and it suddenly stops and you combine that with a new food addiction, the results aren’t pretty and today, neither is his waistline.
So, what do you do when you have an injury that prevents you from working out like you have been used to doing in the past? That’s an interesting question with a multitude of answers.
When I had another friend who simply walked for exercise but from aging and old sports injuries had to have a hip replaced, he simply adapted and started swimming for fitness. The difference between the two people I’ve mentioned is that one person has discipline and the other doesn’t.
You might ask, “wait a minute. I was with you when you were talking about addiction, but doesn’t a marathon runner have to have discipline?” The simple answer is no. The reason he ran was because he was addicted to running and the addiction was his motivation. He didn’t have to do anything to get up in the morning and run 10 miles. That was his outlet and his release.
On the other hand, my other friend absolutely hated exercise, but he saw it as necessary to make sure he lived to see his grandchildren. When his walking program was interrupted by injury, he simply knew that he needed to continue exercising but he had to adapt to his new reality.
That’s how we all need to treat exercise. It is great if you have addictions and replace your damaging addiction with an exercise addiction, but you also must have the discipline to continue your exercise program when something interrupts it. Whether that is travel, injury, or changes in your family…whatever the interruption, if you don’t adapt, you will end your exercise program and the loser will be you.