fbpx

Opportunity Knocks

Susan J. Baumgaertel, MD shares a story that helps us redefine “exercise” and think about it more as “movement” that can be a valuable experience, fun, and even inspiring.

Most of us do not wish to relive our childhood.

Yet, here I am, asking you to go way back and reminisce about the activities you did when you were young. Skating? Hopscotch? Hide and seek?

I remember after school we came home and played outside until dark or dinner, whichever came first.

No phones, no computers, no iPads, no personal video games…fun times! Playing meant something active, and usually outside.

So many people have lost touch with the activities they once enjoyed.

Instead, they gripe and grind at the gym or the club, waiting to be done and sit in the sauna or sip a latte. I think it is time to reconnect with our past and rediscover the fun parts of exercise.

 

So many people have lost touch with the activities they once enjoyed. Instead, they gripe and grind at the gym or the club, waiting to be done and sit in the sauna or sip a latte. Click To Tweet

 

One such opportunity came up for me on a business trip to Denver in 2018.

It was my first time in Colorado, and I was eager to do something other than sit in a convention ballroom listening to lectures. So, I checked out the local area recreation offerings and found the perfect thing: horse riding in the Rockies.

When I was young, I spent many weekends riding English-style on horseback with a friend who had horses on a farm. I learned that cleaning tack was not fun, so we mostly rode bareback. I have vivid memories of jumping snowdrift-covered fences (bareback!) and going for long rides all over the countryside and adjacent farmlands. Another memory is of riding Western-style in the badlands of North Dakota in Roosevelt National Park with just one guide, a very cute nineteen-ish boy. We crested a butte and skirted around a herd of wild buffalo with the lead male standing sentry on the crest; we rode with the coyotes running alongside our cantering steeds; we meandered back to the barn by sunset. Happiness.

So, of course, why not conjure up those wonderful memories? I set out in my rental car early in the morning, hoping to beat the 102-degree heat that Denver was offering for the day. I printed out a map ahead of time as the cell signals vanished as advertised the further into the foothills I drove. I finally located the barn, parked, and was immediately greeted by a friendly cat. A good omen!

My horse was Spice and seemed frisky and ready to go. The other guide was also Susan, and rode a sweet appaloosa named Ace. Just the two of us, me in the lead.

 

My horse was Spice and seemed frisky and ready to go. The other guide was also Susan, and rode a sweet appaloosa named Ace. Just the two of us, me in the lead. Click To Tweet

 

The terrain and surrounding mountain scenes were gorgeous. The temperature was a balmy low eighties with a lovely breeze. We moved through forest, along drop-off cliffs, from scenic viewpoints to pasture and grassy trails. We finally came upon one of the oldest graveyards in the West Coast, Russel Gulch Cemetery. I noted that the second “l” was missing if it was named after nearby Russell Gulch, a mining town turned into ghost town. We dismounted, and suddenly Spice was a bit too frisky and in the process of lunging around her bit was broken. Yikes! You can’t really ride a horse with a broken bit.

Well, looking around we had noticed a bright red pickup truck parked nearby, nobody in sight. It was strange enough, as there were no roads in the area. It had a tool kit in the back. I decided to hold both horses while Susan went on into the cemetery to see if she could find the owner. It felt strangely surreal at this point – I recall thinking this would be a good movie trailer for an abduction or kidnapping, hah! Well, after a bit I heard voices coming from the trees and looked up to see Susan and an older man walking along the gravestones. They emerged and I shook hands with “Bill.” He rummaged through the tool kit in his pickup and we used his tools to jury-rig the bit into working order, good enough to get us going again.

Back in the saddle, we eventually worked our way towards the barn. When it appeared in the distance, we were riding by a dilapidated old shack that, to my surprise, was someone’s home. The “someone” was a weathered old man, working out in the back among some rusty equipment heaps, buck naked except for a tiny piece of leather in the most strategic part. We waved as we rode by. It turns out the cat lived there.

I was happy as a clam, said my goodbyes to Spice, and started the journey back to Denver. I had to follow the paper map in reverse as cell signals were still dead. Somehow, I made a wrong turn and ended up in Central City. Thirsty, I stopped and parked. It looked like some sort of street fair was in the works. I strolled through, bought a T-shirt souvenir for my daughter, sat down to rehydrate. Suddenly, gun shots rang out and being a city girl, I flinched and looked around. Nobody was running. Nothing had changed. At the end of the street I saw four gunslingers shooting it out to the death. A tourist attraction! Smiling, I got my picture taken with them. Did you know that old-fashioned pistols are super heavy?!

My adventure was SO much better than working out in the hotel gym or swimming laps in the hotel pool. I was so happy to reconnect with an activity from my youth that (amazingly) I can still do and enjoy. It was physically vigorous, mentally soothing, and emotionally uplifting. You can’t get that from thirty minutes on a treadmill.

Tweet this out

EARN CME

This learning experience is powered by CMEfy - a platform that brings relevant CMEs to busy clinicians, at the right place and right time. Using short learning nudges, clinicians can reflect and unlock AMA PRA Category 1 Credit.

Ad from SoMeDocs.

SoMeDocs Front Page Header

Don’t Settle for Boring Health Resources

Our Venture Amplifies Healthcare Resources.

Ad from SoMeDocs.

SoMeDocs Front Page Header

Marketing physician voices uniquely!

Our Venture Amplifies Healthcare Voices.

SoMeDocs

SoMeDocs, short for Doctors on Social Media, is a physician-created & led health media company that aims to build a beautiful catalogue of verified online healthcare voices. Our goals are to teach educated professionals tools for personal success, and to showcase them to the world, and facilitate the connections needed to grow. Join us.

The True Art of Medicine

The True Art of Medicine

Susan J. Baumgaertel, MD shares special and unexpected personal story about the art of medicine, our human connections, and the art all around us in nature.

The Late Night Texts

The Late Night Texts

Holly MacKenna, MD shares a story of how an unwelcomed text reminds a female of physician of past traumas and leads to an unexpected opportunity for post traumatic growth.

The Late Night Texts

The Late Night Texts

Holly MacKenna, MD shares a story of how an unwelcomed text reminds a female of physician of past traumas and leads to an unexpected opportunity for post traumatic growth.

Negotiation series header: David Norris

Negotiate as a Physician and Win

Catch this 8-part series, hosted by physician & business consultant David Norris, MD, MBA & produced by Dana Corriel, MD. Learn to be a stronger negotiator with these important tactics.

Conversations with Shem: Season 2

Medical literature icon Samuel Shem, author of “The House of God” returns for season 2 of conversation, in order to discuss the broken healthcare system. This time, he’s brought the guests!

Doctors on Social Media Teach Podcasting Header Image

Doctors On Social Media Teach Podcasting

Today’s health experts are sharing their expertise in audio format using podcasts. Join us as we explore how we do this and bring on the innovators who are giving it their all.

Ban Al-Karaghouli, MD

Ban Al-Karaghouli, MD

Always do your best. My favorite Quote is “Shoot for the Moon. If you miss, you will land among the stars”.

somedocs logo without url

Stay in Touch

Be a part of the healthcare revolution. Don’t miss a thing SoMeDocs Does!

Disclaimer: SoMeDocs assumes no responsibility for the accuracy, claims, or content of the individual experts' profiles, contributions and courses. Details within posts cannot be verified. This site does not represent medical advice and you should always consult with your private physician before taking on anything you read online. See SoMeDocs' Terms of Use for more information.

Play Video
Our Founder Answers Your BURNING Question

SoMeDocs

“Why should I become a member of SoMeDocs if I already have my own space online?”