5 Awesome Ways to Empower Your Vitality At Any Age

Finding vitality at any age can be done through some simple concepts. 

You may know from past blog posts that StrengthX’s Dr. Mike has a rare connective tissue disease like this one. As a child, he had no idea his Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome symptoms were not “normal.” He thought everyone had the same issues with pain and fatigue. 

With the discovery that both he and his mother had this rare disease, he began a journey to whole-body health for both of them. That journey led him to become a chiropractor and bone-density specialist. It also taught him to appreciate the profound importance of self-discovery and self-empowerment. 

Discovering the root causes of his pain (which were not just present in his body but also in his thought patterns and coping mechanisms) helped him create a system and process for achieving whole-body wellness. 

The wisdom and knowledge Dr. Mike has acquired, and his desire to help everyone live life to the fullest are among the invaluable benefits StrengthX clients receive.

Let’s explore some of the most essential lessons Dr. Mike’s life journey has taught him and some key ways to find vitality at any age.

  1. Pain DOES NOT Mean Gain

The most foundational realization was the wisdom of the body.

“I learned more from what my body paid for in school than what my student loans paid for. My body was the teacher and educator.” Dr. Mike Lewen

Realizing the high-impact exercises and sports activities had been punishing his body during his childhood and teens was a huge “aha moment” for Dr. Mike. He recalls coming home black and blue from high school football tryouts and his (accepted as normal) experience of waking up feeling stiff and sore most mornings. Like many of us do, he had internalized the theory of “no pain-no gain.” 

Now he knows nothing can be further from the truth. Since EDS symptoms get worse during puberty, high school was the time when his body really started screaming to be heard. The absolute truth emerged when he finally tuned in to what his body had been trying to tell him for years. 

The truth is that high-impact activity creates dis-ease in the body. Another unfortunate truth is that most of us are told something completely different, and we’re encouraged to engage in activities that punish our bodies. 

“It’s not cool to sacrifice your body’s vitality for sports or money.”  Dr. Mike

“Repping out,” as some exercise enthusiasts call it, is something that can put someone who has a history of punishing their body with sports as a younger person back into that unhealthy mental space. That unhealthy mental space is the thinking that they have to feel the pain to get the rewards of exercise. 

As it turns out, these mental “programs” actually get locked in the muscles and the body’s fascia, and it’s called neurolock

Listening to the body allows us to discover where those dysfunctional thoughts and movement patterns reside so we can deprogram and then reprogram our minds and bodies to behave in ways that facilitate wellness and vitality. That means you function optimally, and you FEEL GOOD! 

“It’s beautiful to witness and facilitate the process of rewriting unhealthy movement patterns, especially when things start to spontaneously pop and crack into place simply because you are moving in more balanced ways. All of a sudden, something that has been ‘a thing’ for years just isn’t anymore.” – Dr. Mike Lewen

Pain is not a measure of progress. So, as Dr. Mike says, “if you want to slam your head against a brick wall to feel like the pain is the way to get results, be my guest.” 

At StrengthX, we teach people to listen to the body’s wisdom about how to move more optimally to create a life of ease rather than dis-ease.

  1. Enjoy Yourself.

We do quite a bit of hula-hooping here at StrengthX. Why? Because it’s an exercise that’s fun and has a lot of great things that it does for your body (and mind) at the same time (including coordination).

When you let go of the false notion that the only productive exercise is the kind that hurts, you make room to have some fun while you’re working out.

It’s still surprising to us how many people never got the satisfaction of hula-hooping as kids. So we give them a second chance.

“I love hula-hooping because it’s exercise, but it’s fun. I don’t jump and I don’t run.” Dr. Mike Lewen

Of course, enjoying yourself can come in countless other activities. But it sure is easier to do when you are staying physically fit in ways that facilitate whole-body wellness and ease.

  1. Look At The Bright Side

One of the authors we appreciate around here is Napoleon Hill. If you haven’t heard of him, we highly recommend his books. They’re packed with golden nuggets of advice and wisdom about being truly successful and fulfilled in life. 

One of Dr. Mike’s favorite quotes from Mr. Hill is, “Within every setback or obstacle or disadvantage there is the seed of an equal or opposite or greater advantage or benefit.”

To paraphrase the quote, accentuate the positive

There’s a gift in every “bad thing” that happens to you. And when you operate from a belief that this is true, it’s easier to stay positive even if things aren’t going so well at the moment. Bad things happen so we can discover BETTER ways of operating. Life is about using our experiences to become better, happier, healthier, and more fulfilled human beings. 

“If there are two ways of seeing things, you can choose which way you want to see them. Train yourself to see the positive side.”  Dr. Mike Lewen

  1. Eat Clean Food

Eating a diet with lots of green vegetables and unprocessed foods is such an important part of vitality. 

For Dr. Mike, It was pivotal when he learned to appreciate eating healthier and how much better it made him feel. He wasn’t always a healthy eater, and his process of gaining health and vitality started when he learned to honor what his body was telling him. Up until he realized everyone else wasn’t in pain all the time, he had done some self-medicating with alcohol and had not been super conscientious about what he ate. But as soon as he cut out the alcohol and started eating healthier, he experienced significant shifts in how he felt. 

That’s because alcohol and toxic foods amp up inflammation in the body. If you didn’t know it already, chronic inflammation is at the root of countless conditions that get identified as something else and are remedied with medications. 

Changes in diet, healthy movement, and other lifestyle choices are critical ways to regain and/or maintain your vitality. It’s never too late to start eating healthy. And the good news is that you will start craving healthy foods once your body gets educated about what healthy really feels like.

  1. Identify The Root Cause

One book that changed Dr. Mike’s life is The Joint Hypermobility Handbook, by Brad T. Tinkle. He thought it was “circus side-show stuff” before reading it. Then, after a fellow student recommended it, he realized he could have been a poster child for hEDS (Hypermobile Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome). The book helped him understand all the ways he had been operating less than optimally, right down to the way he was standing and sitting. He calls it the metaphysical practice of inner time travel, where you go back in your history to identify the when, where, why, and how of unhealthy movement patterns. Learning these bits helped him start to undo some of the “neurotic, masochistic” patterns he had been unconsciously operating with.

For instance, he learned to stand with poor posture because he saw his cousin standing that way, and he thought it looked “cool.”

He knows now that, ideally, the body is in a balanced state, which requires re-training the way we move and think about movement. Mindful breathing, mindful movement, and healthy thinking are powerful tools for change!

Another root cause of health issues that we’ve touched on already is your mental state. Discovering the book I Don’t Want To Talk About It, by Terrence Real was another major turning point for Dr. Mike, and it helped him see how depression in men is often something that traverses generations. He realized that one of the root causes of his toxic exercise habits was a result of taking on family dysfunction. 

When you realize the intrinsic motivations behind what you’re doing and undo the dysfunctional thinking that goes along with punishing your body, that can become the foundation of changing your movement and exercise patterns. It’s just as crucial for your life satisfaction, even more so because it’s the root of the problem.

We emphasize the importance of finding the root causes of dis-ease here at StrengthX because it’s how Dr. Mike has found healing on so many levels in his own life. His decision to study the chiropractic arts came from his search for solutions to his physical and emotional pain and his interest in working with athletes and helping them heal the wounds he had discovered in himself. He’s someone who seeks to improve himself and to use the knowledge that he gains in that process to help others on their path of self-improvement.

And, something essential is learning how to relax!

This should come to you a lot easier when implementing the other vitality-enhancing actions. It’s relaxation, and it is so important for whole-body health.

Relaxation is not encouraged in the sports world. Nor is it encouraged in most people’s busy lives. People spend too much time in the sympathetic nervous system, punishing their bodies with high-impact exercises, eating toxic foods, and engaging in unproductive thinking.

The sympathetic nervous system keeps us on high alert like we’re in danger. It’s the fight-or-flight mode, and it messes up everything when we spend most of our time in that state. We increase inflammation, disrupt digestion, induce exhaustion, burn out our adrenals, and generally set ourselves up to feel horrible.

So, take some time to relax. Make a point to enjoy nature or other things that get you into a more calm mind. Too often, humans make things more complicated than they have to be.

We believe in taking the path of least resistance, especially when working out. Minimum input and maximum output. We believe in cultivating ease and eradicating dis-ease.

Summary 

Here at StrenthX, we enjoy helping our clients cultivate whole-body wellness and vitality. Dr. Mike has been on a life journey that went from enduring a childhood with a lot of pain and discomfort to discovering why and then taking action to remedy the issues from the inside out. 

We know that being healthy is not about punishing our bodies with high-impact exercise. Our philosophy is all about facilitating our clients’ understanding of the underlying causes of their health challenges and developing ways to build and maintain lasting health and vitality because we want to see people living with ease and comfort.