Saturday, November 3, 2012

Brushing Teeth is Like Exercise--Am I a kid or a grown-up?


I exercised regularly in high school, but in college, I got out of the habit.  I would exercise on and off but not regularly and not intensely.  If I did exercise intensely or regularly it would only be to lose 10 pounds and then I would get lazy again.

For the past 4 years, I have been pretty regular in my exercise.  The past 2 years I have consistently met my running goals and weightloss goals.  There have been periods of time though I have skipped workouts.  This past week it happened to me.  I got less sleep, felt fatigued and unmotivated.  After a several days in a row without intense exercise, I did 3 workouts today and feel fabulous.  It amazes me what at least 30 minutes of getting my heart rate to peak does for me emotionally and physically.  The exercise-induced high makes me smile for hours after and infuses me with energy that carries on for over 24 hours.  I also sleep much better.

I want to compare this need for exercise to our need for brushing our teeth.  As an adult, we all want to brush our teeth first thing in the morning and we can’t sleep with dirty teeth.   We love the feeling of clean teeth and we recognize the benefits of preventative care over time.

 Kids have to be reminded to brush their teeth morning and night.  They don’t even seem to notice the layers building up on the enamel until each tooth is wearing a tiny little sweater made of plague.  Some second graders have confessed that they even take the time to turn on the bathroom faucet and make sounds that come with teeth brushing, but without letting the brush touch the mouth.  Parents hear the sounds of dental hygiene, so they believe the child is obeying and the dental bills will stay low.  All the while the little cherub is deceiving the gullible grown-up.

Why can kids bear to wear tooth sweaters?

Why can I bear to go several days between workouts?

I CAN’T!  It doesn’t feel good and if I don’t make time for exercise every day NOW, then I will have to make time for illness later.
Kids will be kids, but I am a grown-up and I expect more of myself.

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