Stopping Everything For A While Whether Voluntary Or Forced Can Be An Opportunity For Life Improvement


Hi folks,

FitOldDog's Drug Of Choice, Doxycycline, Tick-borne or mosquito-borne disease,

FitOldDog’s drug of choice today!

It is easy to get on a roll, it feels great, so you keep doing it, and on and on it goes, but eventually you lose sight of why you started this particular roll in the first place because you are so comfortable rolling along. But is it really getting you where you wanted to go or not? It pays to stop from time to time to ask yourself if changes need to be made. You can stop by going on vacation, a complete vacation, or by getting sick (not permanently!). Either way you stop! At first it is uncomfortable to stop. You start to think that you should be doing this or doing that, but this nonsense fades away in a day or so – as Tim Ferriss says, most things really are not important. Then you settle into not thinking about your normal activities, by reading or walking or swimming or ‘being sick in bed.’ Then you have thoughts about your usual activities, and you start to doubt the necessity of some, and the need for others you had not thought about because you were too busy doing things out of habit instead of in relation to their effectiveness.

Chess, electronic break, evening without TV or texting.

A wonderful evening with Alex (13) on left, Andrew (11), and Snowy (much loved by Zaid), playing chess without any TV or texting. These young men really know how to play chess.

How about taking a break from all electronic gadgets, including TV, avoidable phone calls and e-mail, a complete electronic break. I experienced that at the home of my friends Zaid (who loves his cat) and his wife Amani. During my recent visit, their sons (13 and 11) didn’t text all evening or watch TV, they challenged me to a chess match instead, with a quizzical smile as I accepted. I was beaten in a few moves by his younger son, who then went on to challenge is brother for a couple of hours using strategies that I had to work to follow. Then they mentioned chess club awards – do people get texting awards? I suspect that chess hones the mind, whilst texting blunts the intellect. TAKE AN ELECTRONIC BREAK. Just stop for a day or so! You may want to do it more often – stopping is an opportunity to learn and perhaps to change!

The process of stopping not only applies to your work or family activities, it is also relevant to your training. Stop and ask yourself some difficult questions: Do I love this sport still? Is all that work on my tight calf getting me anywhere or is it doing better with this complete rest? Should I change my coach? Should I change my workout and race plan? Then, when the vacation or illness is over (completely), MAKE THE NECESSARY CHANGES. The beauty of this strategy is that illness or injury is no longer a complete loss, it is an opportunity for change!

My recent encounter with some kind of tick or mosquito-borne disease, which is now fading at last, seems to have done my tight right calf more good than anything else I’ve tried over the last month or so – it just needed a complete rest. Whilst lying in bed with a fever this weekend I decided on a new strategy for my next marathon-training plan for New York City in November (I’ll blog about it if it works!).

So, when undertaking safe exercise for better health, especially when older or recovering from abdominal aortic surgery, stopping exercise completely for a week or so might do you the world of good.

THE BOTTOM LINE: you, personally, do have to bite the bullet and make the necessary changes or you’ll get right back on with that familiar roll to nowhere.

-k @FitOldDog



  1. Marsha Schauer says

    My aging tendons, ligaments, muscles, brain tissue, requires a lot more ‘doing nothing’ time than before. It is good to remember that the slower way of life is the superior way of living. Admittedly hard for me to do. A fall on an otherwise wonderful trail hike has slowed me down but I’m getting back on it today!

    • How or why did you fall? I find that I fall if tired or inattentive, and then I try to learn from each fall, as a result of which such events have become extremely rare, but I still have to stay aware. Recover soon – usually a big psychology component. Falls lead to fear of falling that leads to unrelaxed and less fluid movements that lead to more falling. Life can be challenge sometimes. Keep up the good work. -k (FitOldDog)

  2. I love the cat watching the chess.

  3. Pauline Watson says

    What a shame you got sick – I hope it wasn`t Lyme disease – are there other mosquito or tick borne ones around (question mark). I agree with the rest part, and that is one nice thing about triathlon or other multi-sport training – a week of swimming, yoga, and spinning and my legs feel like running again!

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.