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ON THE MOVE
As we get into the first truly sweltering part of summer, I hope you’re finding ways to keep cool while staying active. Heat stroke is no laughing matter; as tempting as it is to visit your favorite park or go for a stroll in the sunshine, these activities get riskier as you age. Personally, I draw inspiration from my younger days, when all I needed was an inflatable pool for endless summer fun. When I was around 5 years old, I was practically an aquatic creature this time of year. My parents would blow up one of those 5-by-5- foot plastic pools in the backyard and fill it with hose water for my brother and me. We’d be so eager to get in that we’d head out right after breakfast before the sun even had a chance to warm the water. Sometimes it was so chilly our mom would actually heat pots of water on the stove and pour them in. The things our parents do for us ... Now, a 5-by-5-foot pool may not be good for swimming, but it was the perfect setting for superhero battles. At that age, I had my fair share of superhero dolls. The phrase “action figure” didn’t really fit the toys we had back then; they certainly weren’t as muscle-bound as the figures made today! Day in and day out I’d play out their dramas and fights, sending villains around the outside of the tub for sneak attacks before the hero could ultimately win out and send the attackers to the watery depths. If it’s not already clear, I get nostalgic for those days this time of year. Sitting in traffic in the dead of summer, with the worries of the adult world wearing you down, who wouldn’t want to turn back to such a simple time? I certainly wouldn’t mind marinating in a pool and playing out the next Marvel action movie in my head. When my boys were younger, I actually got to return to those good old days, in a way. When my younger son was in his early adolescence, he got into action figures in much the same way I’d been at his age. In or out of the pool, he’d get totally swept up in his own imagination, and if he caught you watching, guess what: Now you’re involved. He’d hand you a character Escape the Heat With Water and Imagination SWIMMING POOLS AND SUPERHEROES
and let you know what was going on. I was a frequent cast member on these imaginative journeys, and I quickly learned my son had an eye for building drama. In the inevitable superhero fights that would break out, I couldn’t just be defeated in one hit — there had to be a struggle. According to my son, the good guys had to earn their victories. Sadly, those summer days are behind us. My boys have outgrown their inflatable pool and superhero fights. Thankfully I still see their creativity come out in their school projects and sports. There’s a lot more art in athleticism than many people think. I’ve seen my kids mimic their favorite pro players on the field. Still, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the days of being recruited into their imaginative worlds. I realize a lot of my articles tend to revolve around nostalgia for my childhood. Part of that just comes with being a father, but I also think it has to do with my job. At the end of the day, being a physical therapist boils down to helping folks stay active and youthful. In a way, helping folks reconnect with their inner child is part of my job. So on the hot days this summer, I challenge you to enjoy a nice, cool soak in a pool, if you can. Studies have found plenty of health benefits from cooling off in the water, even if you don’t swim laps. Heck, why not stretch those brain muscles and bring some action figures along for the ride? If you have grandkids, I’m sure they’d be willing to lend a helping hand.
Here’s to summer adventures,
–Dr. Robert Morea
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