Blogpost: Rehabilitation, Recovery, and Training; They are All the Same

Betty Ford may have been the one to change rehabilitation into a positive word. Rehabilitation used to be associated with substance addiction treatment for the most part. As orthopedic procedures became more advanced and aggressive, rehabilitation was something athletes did. It is now a standard part of orthopedic procedures, and inpatient centers allow patients to have full-time nursing assistance until they are able to care for themselves. In Jeff Bercovici’s book, Play On, he interviews Dr. Nirav Pandya of the University of California, San Francisco. He describes how orthopedic procedures are pretty routine these days, and the biggest gain is in the rehabilitation after. The difference between a professional athlete and a non athlete’s surgical outcome, is that the athlete continues the rehabilitation indefinitely instead of stopping when the physical therapist is no longer standing beside them. An alcoholic describes himself as always in recovery. Focussing on the process or the recovery steps necessary facilitates success more than looking a quick solution. That is pretty much what an elite athlete does. They are in a constant state of recovery to avoid injury again if possible. Training is a frequent practice to perfect a movement or skill. Without practice we get rusty quickly whether it is the putting stroke on the green, a bench press, or a crossword puzzle.

Achieving optimal health and wellness is a training process as well. Each of us possess the exact equipment we were meant to have to achieve the best versions of ourselves. We are in the possession of a body with unlimited gifts and potentials. Our gifts are not all the same but they are abundant. What you elect to do with it is up to you, but, it will always require recovery, rehabilitation, and training. Perhaps that sounds ominous at first, but think of the potential to enjoy a journey of creation. There is always an opportunity to make our lives a little better.

However, there is a constant chatter of quick fixes, life hacks, and little jabs to our health that promise the ability to ignore our health for periods of time then make quick surges of improvements. The “fix” is deemed the uncomfortable part so the aim is to make it quick and painless. Do this and you can then have a cheat day, or better yet, go back to the good old days for a while. Perhaps have a procedure that fixes the acute malfunction, and then resume life as usual until there is another physiologic malfunction known as a lifestyle disease. These malfunctions tend to grow over time and the complete fixes become less complete. Living with pain and discomfort becomes the accepted way of life.

Perhaps it is time to change perspective. Enjoy the training or rehabilitation process today. Why not treat our bodies like elite athletes competing in the most important game of all, our own life journey. You are worthy of more than a quick fix or temporary, pain relieving procedure. The joy should be daily. A chance to run is a chance to enjoy the outdoors. A new exercise class is a chance to meet new people and spread the joy of health. Cooking a new plant based recipe is a chance to create art on a plate with multiple colors that ultimately provide energy and health. Everyday is a chance to learn something new. Everyday will not be a new achievement or personal best day. But, there will be some part of the day that is good, and there will be a memory created. It is your choice on how you perceive it.

There has been a tremendous flow of positive energy with this month’s birthday movement challenge. New friends have been made, and smiles have been shared. We have shared potluck dishes here in the office this month that have been deliciously colorful and tasty. What a wonderful way to share a journey of maintaining and achieving optimal health and wellness.

If you would like to train, recovery, or rehabilitate in a positive environement and enjoy the process, check out the website at to see how you can become part of a plant positive group.

  1. Reply
    Linda Smith

    Timely . . . and much needed! Thanks for the posting Dr. Dulaney.
    Recently I came across a quote that helps me change perspective in this WFPB lifestyle:

    “love the necessary hard work.”

    Hard work has never been a problem for me “except” when it comes to changing eating habits. It’s hard work – but if I add “love” to my actions – somehow it all gets easier.

    • Reply
      Dr. Dulaney

      We “get to” train to become healthy

  2. Reply

    What a great blog! It really needs to be about the journey 🙂 We are so blessed to share our wellness journey with you as our leader/expert/role model and with all your members. I think of our weekly nutritional classes like “Weight Watches”. Weekly check in, lecture to learn more about health, sharing struggles, recipes and healthy ideas with like-minded friends that are now becoming like family. I think we are “Plant-Watchers” 🙂

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