Derailed? Quickly get back on track



My last column discussed adhering to your chosen program when confronted with the inevitable discomfort. It takes time to form new habits and regular physical training and/or highly selective dietary plans (read: restrictive) do not initially lend themselves to enthusiastic participation.

But let me assure you, you can do it. We are all capable of so much more than what most of us are called upon to do each day. Working out and watching what you eat are relative drops in the bucket. You have the ability and, presumably, the will (if you’ve made it to the discomfort phase), so we’re down to the final piece of the puzzle. What do you do when you get derailed?

It is likely that your program will be disrupted, perhaps regularly, by circumstances beyond your control. Illness, injury, employment, family and friends can all demand our time and energy, often unexpectedly. It happens to everyone. It will happen to you.

What should you do? Deal with it. Take care of yourself, your job and your family and friends as you need to. And then start your program again. This is not revelatory. It’s just what needs to happen. Get back on track. Focus on what you want to attain and begin the process again. Maybe you will get to where you want to be this time, maybe not. If not, see the preceding: Start again. You will get there.

There’s not much more to say on the topic of program derailment beyond “try again,” so I’m going to shift gears and talk a little about functional activities for the elderly. Simple trips and falls have the potential to cause catastrophic injuries in the elderly.

According to the National Institute on Aging, more than 1 in 3 adults, age 65 and older, will fall this year. Those of us of a certain vintage should engage in physical activities that foster bone density, muscle retention and, more specifically, balance, leg strength and core strength. A little prevention could be the difference between a minor bruise and a permanent disability.

Remaining physically active as we age will contribute greatly in this regard. The phrase “use it or lose it” holds true. Physical activity aids in retaining bone and lean mass. Balance can be greatly improved by practicing balancing (with sturdy support). Leg and core strength can be improved with simple exercises.

Most of us know someone who has had medical complications from a fall. Let’s help ourselves and our elderly family and friends avoid a similar fate. There are lots of online resources available on this topic. Search terms: “prevent falls in the elderly.”

In my last column, I cautioned on dehydration occurring with warmer temps. In the meantime, we had a snowstorm. Therefore, I suspect few (if any) of you have had any specific dehydration issues. Nevertheless, be mindful as it (hopefully) warms up and you find yourself outdoors and engaging in physical activity. Stay hydrated!

The longer daylight hours can interfere with your sleep. Be mindful of getting enough sleep. On the plus side, days will start getting shorter in five weeks. Sorry, I could not resist.

And whatever else you’re doing, make time for yourself to get out there and play!

Consult with your healthcare professional before starting any weight loss or exercise program.

Tom Duffy is the owner of Good Sports Fitness, a wellness, fitness & athletic-conditioning business based in Babbitt, MN. Email:

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