The Reluctant Hubby: Deconditioning is NOT a Medical Condition

couch potato

Terminally inactive doesn't have to be terminal

Congratulations! You’re no longer a lazy ass … you have a medical condition! I can’t wait until the pharma and insurance industries get their hands on this one.

Let me back up a step. I may be a Reluctant Hubby, but I do the work. Most of it. Depends on the week. It’s not the first item on my to-do list, but I understand the importance of being active and exercising. Sometimes I even enjoy it. But I would never think that my lack of joie de vivre surrounding working out was something that needed to be diagnosed.

Michael Joyner of the Mayo Clinic would disagree with me. Yes, he’s got more degrees and knowledge on the subject matter, but that doesn’t mean that being a couch potato has to become its own subject matter for med school and healthcare. The technical end of this is called POTS … postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. What their findings show is that folks who don’t get much if any physical activity at all show nearly the same symptoms as people who experience prolonged stretches of bed rest. Because there is a procedure for weaning someone back into being active after bed rest, Joyner feels this same process should be followed for the terminally lazy, or “deconditioning” as he calls the condition these people suffer from.

Here’s my biggest problem with all of this: it focuses on the end product and not on a solution. Why aren’t we spending our efforts to get people active before they reach this stage of living (or really lifelessness since they’re barely moving)? The money is all in the treatment of these conditions and so little of it in the prevention. And it’s money that could be much better spent on just about anything else.

If there’s a tone of frustration in my post it’s because I am frustrated. We too often focus on the short cut, the quick fix, the easy out, and not the cause of the endemic situation in the first place. The Reluctant Hubby is just my small attempt to show people that it’s not too late to start living a better, healthier life. I know I’ve helped at least one friend, and maybe I’ve helped you.

The point is … anyone who isn’t getting enough exercise knows that they’re not breaking a sweat often enough. And it’s only themselves and their actions (or inactions) that are preventing changes. Take some personal responsibility. I did. I’m not a convert … I didn’t drink the Kool-Aid and am now training for triathlons with a goal of 4% body fat. I’m just trying to be healthy as I get older. We don’t need doctors telling patients, “It’s okay. You just suffer from deconditioning.” What we need is people saying, “I need to drop some pounds, some cholesterol points, and stop eating fried cheese so often.”

So once again, my readers. Make sure you get off the couch today. You don’t have to love it … you can grumble about it the entire time. But those first steps you take today will look easier and easier as you adopt a healthier attitude.

Good luck and let me know if I can provide any advice or cheerleading.

Greg

Previously on The Reluctant Hubby: “Tin Medal Performances

photo credit: David Spigolon

About Greg Wymer

Greg Wymer is Principal and Chief of Creative for Healthy Dose Media. He was an award-winning radio copywriter and morning show producer for WFNX-FM in Boston in the 1990s, and in the 2000s won Best Viral Marketing Campaign and Best Non-Profit Campaign for his work with e-tractions, a provider of custom online entertainment. Before launching Healthy Dose Media, he spent 10 years at the MIT Enterprise Forum working as a developer of programs, content, and marketing for a global audience of startups and entrepreneurs. Greg has been a mobile and club DJ for 25 years, created and ran a pub trivia night called Useless Trivia, and is on the Board of Directors of ImprovBoston, where he performed as a cast member of its Mainstage for seven years.

, ,

3 Responses to The Reluctant Hubby: Deconditioning is NOT a Medical Condition

  1. A.H. James August 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    Hi Greg,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. It sickens me to see people get so obese and can barely move. I’m not running a marathon and I’m not 4% body fat either, but even if people walked 30 minutes at least 3 times a week to help stay fit and healthy, then our country would see less obese people. Keep up the good work :)

  2. mereniel January 4, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    POTS isn’t the same as deconditioning or being out of shape. POTS is CARDIAC deconditioning, where patients get lightheaded on standing or even sitting up from lying down. Cerebral blood flow decreases and the heart rate increases. Dizziness or fainting can result. It can be caused by deconditioning, such as after prolonged bedrest, but it can also be caused by teenage growth spurts, pregnancy, traumatic injury or a serious infection.

    If it also happens in healthy people after years of voluntary inactivity, that doesn’t change what it is, it’s just a different cause. I agree that people should NEVER allow themselves to get so out of shape that this occurs, but it’s a moot point once it happens. The same therapy should be used for the condition regardless of the cause of the condition.

  3. Lisa Johnson January 4, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    Thanks for the input mereniel … appreciate it. :-) L–

Leave a Reply