Use it or Lose it

Yesterday we came to Jaipur along with our friend Subbu and his family. The day before, Krishnan started the Toyota Corolla and left it running to keep the battery charged. A week before, the battery had died down because we hadn’t used that car for a few days. This set me thinking ….

Last year in September I struggled with the worst kind of upper arm pain. Slowly that pain made me stop doing my yoga. Then Dr. Bharat Inder told me that I had the “text neck” condition because of prolonged use of cellphones, iPads etc that one stares DOWN into – it’s like hanging a 60 kg weight from your neck !! I did the exercises that he taught me and had some relief from the upper arm pain. Finally when we went to Chennai and met our dear friend Dr. Ramesh, a well known orthopaedic surgeon, he suggested an MRI of the shoulders because by that time, I had lost the range of movement on both the arms. I couldn’t lift my right arm at 90 degrees, I couldn’t rotate it, I couldn’t take it back :(:(:(. The MRI showed that the right collar bone had either curved a little or it was tissues that had solidified and were pressing on the nerves and muscles that helped my arms to rotate. Ramesh suggested physiotherapy before surgery so I underwent utterly painful physiotherapy for a couple of months.

The range of movement in my arms improved a bit and then we got back to Gurgaon. In August this year I started yoga with my old yoga master who comes home thrice a week. Initially, for nearly four weeks he just made me do those yoga asanas that freed up my arms, and improved flexibility overall. By October – the range of movement improved and now its almost 90% back. No surgery and just yoga plus the initial physiotherapy. Again this set me thinking, long and hard ….

What I was thinking about was, all things that move – living and even machines have to remain in use, otherwise decay sets in. It has been obvious but like many things that are obvious and still missed, we miss it. Just like you need to keep cars running or remove the battery if you foresee a long period of no usage, our mind and bodies need to be “used”. When we exercise, we provide the body the much needed use. Keep moving, keep walking, keep thinking. You don’t need any special equipment to move your body, but keep the muscles in use otherwise decay sets in. Soon, you are unable to sit cross legged on the floor …it’s another Indian custom that has been replaced with the dining table and chairs, but prolonged sitting on chairs makes your body forget how to sit cross legged on the floor. And science is discovering now, that sitting is the new smoking !!! Hmmmm, our forefathers knew that and sat for every meal, cross legged, on the floor and didn’t mindlessly shove food into their mouths. 🙂 Today, modern Man is RE-learning, RE-discovering mindful eating. Talk of coming a full circle and some !

We need to keep using our minds as well – reading, traveling, trying to solve problems, puzzles etc are all ways to keep our minds active. The damage is even worse when we don’t keep our minds active, many mental conditions that are associated with old age also happen because we don’t use our minds besides just aging and other reasons. Find an activity that keeps your mind active too … meditate, solve puzzles, memorize phone numbers, memorize long poems or shlokas, learn a new language etc.

One of my batchmates sent the following quote of Jim Rohn on our WhatsApp group – it sums up my blog succinctly. Remember to use it or be prepared to lose it. Remember to use your body and mind or be prepared to lose both ! Get moving.

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