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 Management Minute

A can of worms does not open itself. Seen on a Fortune Cookie

As I was thinking about what has happened in the last two weeks that might inform this Management Minute, my mind immediately went to my recent workout with a trainer, Vince. As I met Vince this week, I was complaining about both of my knees simultaneously hurting for no apparent reason. Still, I said "don't worry, let's just get through the workout, must be old age or something." Professional that Vince is, however, said "let's spend some time rolling you out today and see where to go from there." Okay, sounds like fun (thinking it was much better to lie on a massage table versus row 2,000 meters). Sadly, it was not fun. Worse, it was downright painful. Vince used a trigger point roller to basically iron out every knot in my body for about 40 minutes. When I asked him why my body was so ridden with knots, he replied that there are lots of different causes, but in my case, having a desk job where I'm sitting a lot can cause calcium to build up in the muscles and create an intricate set of knots running from my hips to my feet. The most prevalent knots were actually on the outsides of my thighs and this can and will cause some knee pain from the knotting. I had opened the can of worms.

This got me thinking about choosing a good quote about the importance of exercise, health and well-being, especially for those of us with management positions that require a lot of desk duty. Imagine my fascination when looking through quotes I discovered a plethora of wonderful quotes on health and exercise from not only our founding fathers of this country (several from Thomas Jefferson) but even ancient Greece! My favorite quotes were all from Hippocrates. I'm ashamed to admit this, but I had no idea how amazing and influential this man was dating back to classical Greece around 456 BC. He had the first insight into public health although he is more widely considered the founding father of clinical medicine. He was the first person to believe and teach that disease was not a punishment inflicted by the gods but rather the product of environmental factors, diet and living habits. Imagine that happening in ancient times and think about where we are today. Another can of worms (and disheartening to boot). Anyway, these are some of my favorite Hippocrates quotes:

"If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health."

"It is far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has."

"The physician must be able to tell the antecedents, know the present, and foretell the future – must mediate these things, and have two special objects in view with regard to disease, namely, to do good or to do no harm."

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."

I chose the can of worms quote here because as I kept Googling, I kept learning new things, kept wanting to explore more. What I'd really like to leave you with this time, though, are two thoughts. How, after centuries and centuries of time, have we not made more progress in public health and people's understanding of the impacts of environment, diet and living habits? And, lastly, what can we do to instill this in our workplaces where everyone, including thyself, work so hard we do not pay tribute to our health and well-being properly?

On the second thought, I'm newly committed to talking with my staff about how we can better incorporate exercise, health and well-being into each AMCHPer's life. Can we having walking meetings instead of sitting meetings? Can we take breaks and walk at lunch? Can we incorporate an exercise class once a month? If you've done this especially well, let me know. I'm interested to learn of what has worked in your jobs, as well as encourage you to consider this for your own staff.

Comments, counterpoints, suggestions or thoughts are always welcomed. E-mail me at lfreeman@amchp.org.