Body, Brains and Bliss

A huge hip, hip hooray to Dr. Oz and all his staff for 100 amazing shows! Everyday my patients, and my mother, share the amazing new information they learned with me. Everybody loves this show.

Posted on | Vonda Wright, MD | Comments ()

A huge hip, hip hooray to Dr. Oz and all his staff for 100 amazing shows! Everyday my patients, and my mother, share the amazing new information they learned with me. Everybody loves this show.


As an Orthopod, I began coaching my patients to change their bodies through fitness in order to save their mobility, a key factor in remaining vital and active. What I have learned, however, is that we are not only saving mobility, but saving lives!


Taking control of our physical bodies is more than looking good in the little black dress.


It is about our bodies, our brains and bliss.


Our Bodies: Linda’s Story
One of my main messages to patients is that, no matter where you are starting, how old you are or how long it has been since you stepped away from the couch, there is NEVER a time when our bodies will not heal themselves using the tool of exercise. 


One of my favorite patients, Linda, has an amazing story. 


Linda first came to me in her early 50s because she saw the writing on the wall. Her grandmother had died at 62 of heart disease and her mother at 61 of diabetes. She was overweight, had high blood pressure and had not exercised in years. Linda saw she was rapidly approaching the same future as her mother. She decided to invest in her physical future and begin exercising in one of my classes for “former couch potatoes.”  She met with us twice a week initially and has worked so hard. After the first 6 months she had lost 40 pounds, was no longer on high blood pressure medication and was no longer pre-diabetic for the first time in 10 years. I am so proud of her and tell her story all the time.


Our Brains: Vonda’s Story
Exercise turns on our thinking caps and rejuvenates our brains.


I was sitting in a research meeting several months ago where scientists were discussing the real connections between our bodies and brains. They showed me brain scans with different areas lighting up with activity. I was so amazed to learn that the same areas that are highly active during physical exercise are also highly active during complex thinking. Exercise literally turns on our “thinking cap.”  


I know this is true from personal experience. Every time I run, the rapid-fire ideas, plans, and problems that swirl around in my head suddenly fall into line. It is as if the drumbeat of my feet on the pavement is a problem-solving cadence. I get so much work done in my head while I’m working my body.


Several studies have now shown that chronic exercise can actually prevent dementia, Alzheimer’s and the slowing of our minds. That is enough reason for me to hit the road.


Bliss: Mary Anne’s Story

Exercise gives you more than a “runner’s high,” it gives you a new hope for the future.

The most fascinating part of watching my patients invest in their physical futures is not just that they cure themselves of chronic diseases, like Linda, or that they keep their minds sharp. It’s that for the first time in years, they believe that they are capable of so much more than they ever imagined. This is true bliss.


Mary Anne sees me for her arthritic knees. At 50 she was tall, lanky and beautiful but had accepted the idea that aging meant slowly losing out on the active life she had always loved. It was not true, but mentally I could see how this thought of her future was weighing her down.  Like Linda, she began exercising with us and at the end of 12 weeks, finished a 5K walk/run.  Her mental transformation was amazing. She said, “I am capable of so much more than I ever thought…I am an athlete again. My body may be getting older, but my mind is forever young.”


To see Linda and Mary Anne tell their own inspiring stories visit: http://bulletin.aarp.org/yourhealth/healthyliving/articles/From_The_Couch_to_The_Finish_Line_in_Twelve_Weeks.html

Blog written by Vonda Wright, MD
Vonda Wright, MD is an orthopedic surgeon, speaker, author and researcher. She cares for athletes and active fitness...