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A smile or injury of the week

At work, when my department holds its weekly Zoom team meeting, the format is for each person to share two things: something that made him or her smile, and then a work update.

Last week we held the meeting in person over a holiday lunch. We joked that as we all cruise into middle age, we could share for our personal update a smile — or an injury.

One colleague complained that his wife hurt her back climbing out of bed. Another described the accumulation of injuries from his weekly combat sports practice. A third said her husband wrecked his back carrying the box with a new crib up the stairs. That injury was so catastrophic that her husband blacked out from the shock and pain. Doctors gave him a lifetime prognosis of: do your four weeks of physical therapy, and then good luck to you.

I should be shocked to hear my accomplished coworkers giving up on their bodies and neglecting their low back health. But I completely understand. After my own gym calamities, I found useful medical advice so scarce that I had to create my own low back rehab program.

Fitness Twitter has been raving recently about how the simple act of walking can deliver significant relief of low back pain. We don’t know exactly why walking is so beneficial, but fresh air and sunlight is remedial, as is toning your core: walking works glutes, hamstrings, abs, and spinal erectors. Regardless, as I’ve mentioned, the innovations in health now come from random Twitter dudes. Maybe it’s because the most meaningful contributions to health are free. 

In any event, what I wrote in March about vitamin D and the public health response to COVID apparently applies to everything: “Instead of what took place, what if the medical establishment urged everyone to go outside for a 30-minute walk in short sleeves three times per week? They could have revolutionized health care and health outcomes in this country.”

For my weekly team meeting, I got permission to change my participation slightly. I’m not going to give a smile or an injury (since my lifestyle revolves around living injury-free). Rather, I will share one health tip, and then give my job update.

So here’s my first tip: let’s make this a walking meeting.

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